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Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic

August 4- 20, 2009
New Date and Price!
Price: $3,695 per person, Land Only
$4,395 per person with air from Washington Dulles*
* Other departure cities available.
Price does not include airline taxes and fees.
Please call us toll free at 866-765-2646.

Registration is Open

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Join U.Va. alumni and friends on a discovery tour through the diversity and beauty of Eastern Europe. Journey through five distinctly different nations – Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – and discover the historic past as well as recent momentous events. Tour Warsaw's Old Town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and visit the haunting concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Explore Budapest and view the scenic Danube Bend. In Vienna, attend a classical music performance and tour the majestic Schonbrunn Palace. Dine with local families in Bratislava and explore Prague's acclaimed museums and architectural treasures.

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Program Highlights

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The Polonia Palace is one of the most traditional first-class hotels in Poland. Established in 1913, it has been an integral part of Warsaw's 20th-century history and offers a European tradition of gracious living, efficiency and comfort.

The Hotel Pod Roza, whose name means "under the rose," was Krakow's first hotel. Balzac, Liszt and Tsar Alexander II are among its guests of long ago. Today's owners have continued the tradition of elegance, and at Pod Roza we will find understated old world charm combined with light modern touches throughout. Right in the heart of the Old Town, all the delights of the city are just a stone's throw away.

The Hilton Budapest is in the Castle district – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – next to the Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church. The hotel offers lovely Danube and city views.

The Hilton Vienna Plaza, overlooking the historic Ringstrasse, is in the center of romantic Vienna. Attractions like the Hofburg Palace and St. Stephen's Cathedral are just a 10-minute walk away. Dine on modern European cuisine, Austrian favorites and seasonal dishes at the light and airy Plaza Restaurant & Bar or enjoy the onsite sauna, whirlpool and exercise room.

The Radisson SAS Carlton embodies the grace, charm and elegance of centuries past, welcoming guests to one of the most prestigious buildings in the heart of Bratislava. Originally constructed in 1837, the hotel retains many of its original features to provide guests with a unique and memorable hotel stay. The National Theatre and Slovak Philharmony are neighbors, and excellent shopping, restaurants and city sights can be found nearby.

The Grand Hotel Bohemia Prague is a first-class, deluxe hotel in the very heart of Prague. Located next to the Powder Tower at the beginning of the famous Royal Road, all major points of interest are within easy walking distance, with Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Hall just a step away.

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Professor Tamarkin will not be able to accompany the August trip but excellent local guides will lead us.

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Day 1 - U.S. / Warsaw

Early this evening depart the U.S. for Europe, with a connecting flight to Warsaw.

Day 2 - Warsaw

After reaching Warsaw this morning and transferring to the hotel, there's time to unpack and relax or begin our discovery of this fascinating city. This evening we gather for dinner at our hotel, where we'll have the opportunity to get acquainted with our fellow travelers and our Odysseys Unlimited tour director.
Polonia Palace Hotel (D)

Day 3 - Warsaw

Devastated by World War II, Warsaw had to be virtually rebuilt from the ground up—a 15-year project that used every piece of authentic stone found amid the rubble. We see the results on today's morning tour, which includes the completely restored Old Town Square. To learn more about the destruction and incredible reconstruction of this city, our tour will also include a stop at the Historical Museum of Warsaw. We visit the area of the former Jewish Ghetto and the Jewish Cemetery, the largest of its kind in Europe. As we walk the streets that the Jews of Warsaw once inhabited, we can imagine the 1943 uprising when a small number of Jewish Resistance fighters inside the ghetto held out against Nazi forces for an incredible 22 days. After some time at leisure, late this afternoon we enjoy a special treat: a private classical piano recital. Lunch and dinner are on our own today.
Polonia Palace Hotel (B)

Day 4 - Warsaw / Czestochowa / Auschwitz & Birkenau / Krakow

Our day-long journey south to Krakow takes us first to Czestochowa, the spiritual heart of Poland, which draws pilgrims from across the country and around the world. A discussion of the interplay between religion and politics will absorb us as we walk through the town and visit the shrine of the Black Madonna that sits on a hilltop overlooking the city. After lunch together, we continue to the Polish town of Oswiecim, better known by its German name of Auschwitz. All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. We tour the concentration camps of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. Auschwitz was the largest camp established by the Nazis during World War II. More than a million people – the vast majority of them Jews – died there between 1940 and 1945, when it was liberated. Both camps have been preserved as they were during the war, including the prison blocks, gas chambers and crematoria. We will spend approximately three hours here, touring the sites and learning more about this horrific time. We arrive in Krakow early this evening; dinner tonight is on our own.
Pod Roza (B, L)

Day 5 - Krakow

The country's third largest city, Krakow escaped the devastation that obliterated other Polish cities during World War II, and its perfectly preserved medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is on the itinerary of this morning's tour. We also visit Market Square, the largest medieval town square in Europe; as well as 14th-century Wawel Castle and Cathedral before returning to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free time on our own. Lunch and dinner today are on our own.
Pod Roza (B)

Day 6 - Krakow

This morning we tour the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is a virtual underground city, with galleries, lakes, chapels and murals – all carved from salt. The mine's centerpiece is the Chapel of Saint Kinga, with its chandelier and mural of the Last Supper, carved by three miners over a period of 68 years. The mine has been a family tradition, with fathers passing their mining and carving skills on to their sons for generations. During World War II, the Nazis actually used the mine to manufacture aircraft parts. Though no longer a source of hard salt, the mine does extract and sell salt from groundwater in the underground lakes. After this fascinating tour, we return to Krakow for lunch on our own. The remainder of the day is at leisure; we gather for dinner tonight at our hotel.
Pod Roza (B, D)

Day 7 - Krakow / Slovakia / Budapest

We'll enjoy the scenic beauty of the Tatra Mountains as we travel by bus from Poland to Hungary via Slovakia, where we stop for lunch. Early this evening we reach the Hungarian capital of Budapest and our hotel, located in Buda's lovely and historic Castle District. Dinner tonight is on our own.
Hilton Budapest (B, L)

Day 8 - Budapest

Our half-day tour will introduce us to this great city, home to one in every five Hungarians. We begin with a visit to Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom), the symbol of Buda's Castle District, followed by a stroll around Fisherman's Bastion for spectacular views of the Pest side of the city across the river. Looking out over the Danube to Pest we will see the Chain Bridge – the first permanent bridge across the Danube – connecting Buda with Pest; Margaret Island, a public park since 1908; and the huge neo-gothic House of Parliament, seat of this democratic nation's government. Our tour also includes an inside visit of the Dohány Synagogue with its rich but tragic history. Built in 1859, it is the largest synagogue in Europe and the world's second largest. Our tour ends with a visit to the Hungarian National Museum –  the largest museum in Hungary. After lunch on our own, the afternoon is free for independent exploration; tonight we enjoy a traditional Hungarian dinner at a local restaurant.
Hilton Budapest (B, D)

Day 9 - Budapest

Today is free to explore "the Paris of the East" on our own. Our tour director will be on hand to offer suggestions and assist with any special arrangements. The city's riches include the ornate Opera House, one of Budapest's most spectacular buildings and among the top opera houses in Europe. Possibilities include a guided tour of the Opera House, or even enjoying an evening performance there (the season runs from mid September to mid June; performances usually start at 7 p.m.). Or visit the Thermal Bath at the Hotel Gellert, with pools of varying temperatures, steam rooms and an outdoor artificial-wave pool; or the Museum of Fine Arts, displaying Central Europe's most important collection of foreign art. For outdoor attractions, there are many trails in the Buda Hills or the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll on Margaret Island. Lunch and dinner today are on our own.
Hilton Budapest (B)

Day 10 - Budapest / Danube Bend / Vienna

We travel by bus to Vienna today via the small towns that lie along the scenic Danube Bend. Our first stop is Szentendre, a tiny town packed with artisans' shops; here we visit the fascinating museum showcasing the works of Hungarian ceramic artist Margaret Kovács. We continue to the village of Neszmély, a picturesque site on the Danube where we will meet the friendly inhabitants and sample the outstanding cuisine. We stop here for lunch before continuing to Vienna. After arriving in the Austrian capital late this afternoon and checking in to our hotel, the remainder of the evening is free. Dinner is on our own this evening, the perfect opportunity to sample some of Vienna's acclaimed cuisine.
Hilton Vienna Plaza (B, L)

Day 11 - Vienna

The grandeur of the Habsburg Empire comes to life today as we embark on a half-day tour of the city that was the cornerstone of Habsburg rule for centuries. A drive along the Ringstrasse, the city's famed boulevard, gives us a wonderful overview of Vienna. We pass the Hofburg, the former Imperial Palace; city hall; the Parliament; and the National Museum. We stop at the storied, ornate Opera House and enjoy a guided tour of one of Europe's grandest opera houses. Next we drive to Schönbrunn Palace for a guided inside tour of the Imperial Apartments and a stroll through the surrounding gardens. After returning to our hotel and lunch on our own, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. The pedestrian-only Kärntnerstrasse is a bustling shopping street that features all the best shops, restaurants and coffeehouses. We gather in the early evening for a traditional Wiener Schnitzel dinner at a local restaurant. Afterward we attend a concert of classical music in this most musical of all cities.
Hilton Vienna Plaza (B, D)

Day 12 - Vienna Woods

This morning we enjoy an excursion to the Vienna Woods, the eastern tip of Alpine Europe, which gained fame during the heyday of the Austrian Empire, and infamy as the site of Mayerling, where in 1889 Archduke Rudolf and his mistress died mysteriously and thus changed the course of European history and led to the fall of the House of Habsburg. The first stop on our tour is the medieval abbey of Heiligenkreuz, Austria's second oldest Cistercian monastery (1133), with Babenberg tombs, a chapel with a Romanesque nave, High Gothic choir hall, Baroque choir stalls and Early Gothic cloisters. We continue on past Mayerling to the medieval spa town of Baden, where we take a brief stroll through the city center before having some free time. We return to Vienna early this afternoon and the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration: possibilities include the Lipizzaner Museum; shopping along the pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse; visiting the home of Sigmund Freud; or touring the acclaimed Museum of Fine Arts or Museum of Natural History. Both lunch and dinner are on our own today.
Hilton Vienna Plaza (B)

Day 13 - Vienna / Bratislava

Mid-morning we depart for Bratislava, capital of the independent nation of Slovakia. Upon arrival we embark on a mini-train and walking tour of the historic Castle area, including a visit to the 18th-century classical-style Archbishop's Palace. Before continuing on, we enjoy lunch on our own. After checking in at our hotel, we have time to refresh before dinner tonight in the homes of gracious local families.
Radisson SAS Carlton (B, D)

Day 14 - Bratislava / Prague

This morning we leave for Prague, proud capital of the Czech Republic, filled with art, medieval architecture, historic churches and cobblestone streets. Along the way we stop for lunch and a brief tour of Brno, the Czech Republic's second largest city and capital of Moravia. We reach Prague mid-afternoon and have the rest of the day to discover this wondrous city on our own. Walking is really the only way to explore Prague; most of the oldest areas are walking zones where motor traffic is limited or prohibited. Discover Prague's Old Town (Staré Mesto), whose ancient streets are lined with many stately buildings, churches, shops and theaters; and 14th-century Charles Bridge, Prague's most celebrated structure, linking Old Town and the Castle District across the river. All roads eventually lead to Old Town Square, a focal point of Czech history and politics. Here we can see the historic Astronomical Clock – at the top of the hour a mechanical parade of saints and sinners performs for passersby. Tonight we enjoy dinner on our own.
Grand Hotel Bohemia (B, L)

Day 15 - Prague

This morning we tour Prague's celebrated Castle District (Hradcany). This hilltop complex encompasses many houses, towers, churches, courtyards and monuments.  We visit the key sites of St. Vitus Cathedral and the Royal Palace, then the afternoon is free for exploring. The historical core of the city – Hradcany, Malá Strana (Lesser Town), Staré Mesto (Old Town) and Václavské námestí (Wenceslas Square) – covers about two square miles and is pedestrian-friendly. The afternoon and evening are free; we can enjoy a choice of restaurants in this dazzling city.
Grand Hotel Bohemia (B)

Day 16 - Prague

This morning join our tour director on a walk to Josefov, Prague's historic Jewish Quarter, located entirely within Staré Mesto. Our tour director will provide entrance tickets to the Jewish Quarter so each of us can explore at our own pace. With these tickets we'll have access to the following sites within Josefov: Maisel Synagogue, now serving as the exhibition space for the Jewish Museum; the Spanish Synagogue, the "newest"; synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, built in 1868; Pinkas Synagogue, where a haunting collection of paintings and drawings by children from Terezín concentration camp is on display; Klausen Synagogue, exhibiting Jewish traditions and customs; and the Old Jewish Cemetery and the adjacent Ceremonial Hall. The afternoon is free for lunch on our own and individual pursuits before tonight's special farewell dinner.
Grand Hotel Bohemia (B, D)

Day 17 - Return to U.S.

Early this morning we'll transfer to the airport for our connecting flight to the U.S.

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally though, unexpected obstacles, or opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide updated flight information closer to departure. 

For Land-Only Guests
When you purchase Discovering Eastern Europe as "land only," airport transfers and luggage handling at the arrival and departure airports at the beginning and end of the tour are not included. However, should you be at the arrival airport concurrent with the group of arriving Odysseys Unlimited travelers and see the signs for our motorcoach transfer, you are welcome to transfer with the group at no charge, providing additional seating is available. However, please note that the motorcoach cannot wait for you; you must be aboard when the coach is leaving. Similarly, when departing from the last hotel for your flight home, you are also welcome to take advantage of the group transfer, provided there is room and you are on board when the coach is leaving.

It is important to note, however, that a motorcoach may not be used for transfers in all cases. Depending upon the number of guests arriving or departing, we may utilize taxis or smaller vans. At such times, space restrictions will preclude your joining the group transfer and you will be responsible for your own transportation to or from the airport.

For Guests Taking Odysseys Unlimited's

$345 (single supplement is $235).

Day 17-18 - Prague

No need to transfer anywhere: you'll be right at home for the next two nights at Grand Bohemia Hotel, the base for exploring Prague to your heart's delight. Options abound. You may wish to further explore some of the sights visited on tour on days 15 and 16; tour such museums as the Czech Museum of Music, housed in a 17th-century Baroque church; the incredible Museum of Miniatures; the Mucha Museum of Czech Art Nouveau; or the Franz Kafka Museum, with first editions of all of the writer's works; follow silver arrows of the "Royal Route" that winds through the city in the footsteps of Bohemian kings' coronation processions or relax over a local brew in a typical beer garden; attend a performance at the National Theater.
Grand Hotel Bohemia (B daily)

Day 19 - Return to U.S.

Early this morning, you'll take an included transfer to the airport for your connecting flight to the United States.

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Program Fees

$4,395 air & land inclusive from Washington Dulles (IAD). Please call for prices from other cities.

Land only price is $3,695; arrival and departure transfers not included. Prices are per person based on double occupancy.

Single travelers please add $1,695.

A 3-day/2-night post-tour extension in Prague is available for $345 (single supplement is $235).

Business Class upgrade on international flight is available on a request basis – please call for details. Airline taxes and departure fees are billed separately and subject to change. (Currently $372 per person, and have actually gone down twice in the last month.)

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us toll free at 866-765-2646. Or e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing at approximately 110 days (April 2) prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days (April 17) prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

Price includes:

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General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Price includes:

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days before departure.
Price does not include: Airfare from your hometown to your gateway city and return; costs of passports and visas; airport, port and departure taxes, which will be listed as separate items on your invoice and are subject to change; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service and meals not specified; excess baggage fees; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity for your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director: $10-$15 per day per traveler); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; cancel 29-0 days before departure: no refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.

Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket's reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

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