30 July 2007

Some of the Math (Geometry)

So, now's the time to dust off Google Maps! (For a Google Earth-friendly KML file, click on the link and choose the option on the upper right corner.) The interactive map has most of the places I visited, along with some bars, restaurants, and hotels. There are some short notes in there that may or may not have made it into the blog, so check it out.

Farthest Location West: Le Château de Versailles, Ile-de-France, France
Farthest Location East: Bistra, Maramures, Romania
Approximate West-East Distance: 1000 miles/1600 kilometers

Farthest Location North: Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Farthest Location South: Padova, Veneto, Italy
Approximate North-South Distance: 440 miles/715 kilometers

Since I actually made a big circle, the travel in Europe distance is more like ≈2350 miles/3780 kilometers. If you add in starting at Newark and ending in Pittsburgh, we're talking 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers. Also, remember that these distances are approximate because they're as the crow flies and assuming that the Earth is a perfect sphere (it's not, actually) with a radius of 3963.1 miles.

12 July 2007

Some Free Advertising

Slowly but surely, I'll wrap up the blogging for this trip -- a few more things will come.

I wanted to make some comments on some of the places I stayed during my trip, and give some free advertising/referrals to the places I stayed that I'd certainly go back to. Eventually, I'll add some photos to this post as well.

Das kleine Stapelhäuschen Zimmer
Fischmarkt 1-3, 50667 Köln
book online via KolnTourismus, 30€/night, sink in the room, bathroom in the hall.
I really liked this place, it is above a restaurant but I definitely couldn't hear anything even though I was on the first floor. The staff was helpful even though they did not really speak English and I did not really speak German. The room was small but very adequate, and the wood furniture made it look like I was where I was supposed to be and it was authentic-seeming. I took a taxi to the hotel, but the driver and most residents of Cologne that he asked had no idea where the Fischmarkt was, even though it was within spitting distance of both the train station and the Rhine (and the Museum Ludwig and Roman Museum for that matter). Definitely a great location in the center of everything.

Hotel Ibis München City
Dachauer str. 21, 80335 Munich
book online at Ibis Hotels, around 70
€/night, private bathroom.
I stayed here, because the place I was originally booked to stay, and where I did stay for one night, was a nightmare: the Hotel Flora does not come recommended. It was a horrible place, I didn't feel safe, and the bathroom facilities were really not convenient. My standards are pretty low, but since I didn't feel safe, I moved to the Hotel Ibis M
ünchen City, just down the street. Though it was nearly 2x more expensive, I got my money's worth since I really used the room quite a bit, and napped before the opera because I didn't sleep well the night before in the Hotel Flora due to the mattress that was attached to the bed with zipties and the fact that I did not feel safe. The Hotel Ibis staff was exceptionally helpful, there was free internet in the lobby, and wifi-for-pay in all of the rooms, like most places in Germany. The room was small, but exceptionally well-designed, functional and bright, aimed at single business travelers.

Hotel Perla Sigheteana
str. Avram Iancu 65A, Sighetu Marmatiei
book online on their website, not sure of the cost, private bathroom.
Thanks to whoever booked this for me! After all of the hoopla about going to exotic, unknown Romania, this place was a joy. It was so super safe, the staff was very helpful and they all seemed to speak at least a little English, which was helpful. The location outside of town means that there's a huge, gorgeous bar/garden out back, and a view of it and the mountains from the balcony! It's a pleasant walk back and forth, but a taxi from the center of the center to there cost about a dollar, which was generally worth it, and the Sighetian taxi drivers were very accommodating. Breakfast was exceptionally good, with a huge selection of very good food.

Agape Guesthouse - Pension
Erzsébet körút 2, 1073 Budapest
I booked using hostelworld.com, around 35€/night, private bathroom.
I remember having booked a private bathroom, but then it was a pleasant surprise, because the other bathroooms are shared between two rooms, which isn't bad. They seem to have apartments in the building, so the only drawback was that I had to walk up to the 4th floor, which would not have been bad except that I had 40 pounds of books with me, but that was my own problem anyway. The room was clean, the bathroom was clean, and there was a fan in the room! The fan made my pleasant stay even more pleasant. NB a key deposit is necessary here, but security was great.

Hotel de Nesle
7 rue de Nesle, 75006 Paris
Reservations only by phone, so dust off your French, 55-75€/night, shower and toilet in the hall.
I kind of wanted to keep this place all to myself, but in the interest of being transparent, I'm mentioning it. This place was phenomenally wonderful and an insane bargain for the neighborhood: walking distance to the Louvre, Ile-Saint-Louis, Marais, Latin Quarter, everything. No breakfast, and shared bathrooms everywhere. However, the staff was lovely, it was impeccably clean, and the decor was unbelievable: original, tasteful, and varied. Definitely an exceptional hotel.

02 July 2007


As I'm at the end of my trip, I'd like to thank the people who were kind enough to host me at some point throughout my time in Europe. It was lovely to be with you, to experience your home town (whether permanent, adopted or temporary), share meals with you, and on an excessively practical note, you may have no idea how helpful it was that I had somewhere very comfortable to do laundry:
  • Anne and Joerg
  • Dušan, Mária, Petra and Baba
  • Jason
There are of course many other people who were involved in the success of this trip, but I am especially greatful to those who were kind enough to open their homes to me.