Eastern Europe Through a Camera Lens

A traveler photo gallery from Eastern Europe to the Black Sea

By Jean & Tuck Green, 2-time travelers, Pittsboro, North Carolina

March 16, 2012

Our eleven person group started our Eastern Europe to the Black Sea River Cruise with a pre-trip extension to Prague. The city is beautiful and we partook of its many cultural offerings (concerts, opera, and art museums), as well as its many sights: the Jewish Quarter, Old Town, Charles Bridge, and palaces. Our Program Director, Christian, was a font of information and good advice about attractions.

Budapest was also a marvel, and a beautiful city easily accessible from our ship. Again, we enjoyed the cultural amenities and the giant, well-stocked market. We took two of the optional tours—both of which we highly recommend: Hungarian Jewish Heritage and the Kalocsa Visit with Horse Show. The horse show on the latter was spectacular.

Jean Green in Budapest, Hungary, overlooking the Danube River.

A local vegetable stand at one of the large markets in Budapest.

The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, taken from Jean’s and Tuck’s cabin balcony on their river ship.

Fellow traveler Celine Kandala and Jean Green spend some of their free time shopping in Szentendre village, Hungary.

In Croatia, we loved the singing, folk dancing, and puppetry performances by the children in a middle school supported by Grand Circle Foundation. The kids start learning English in kindergarten! We also welcomed the Home-Hosted Meal provided by a family whose members had been made refugees during the Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian War of the 1990s. We valued both their hospitality and their insights into the tragic impacts of that conflict.

Jean’s and Tuck’s hostess for their Home-Hosted Lunch in Osijec, Croatia, shows fellow traveler Sue Fish (on left) her garden, and how it was restored after she returned from eight years of exile during the Croatia-Serbia-Bosnia War.

Belgrade astonished us in part because it was evident that the city had once been beautiful, yet many of the buildings bombed in the war by NATO have not been replaced. Insights into that war, and its aftermath, were provided by a student panel onboard our ship, and a performance by Serbian dancers provided a light-hearted exposure to an important element of Serbian folk culture.

Stops in Ruse and Vidin, Bulgaria provided insights into the history, as well as the persisting poverty in the country. A visit to the resort city of Varna on the Black Sea illuminated another aspect of Bulgaria: how well the elite of the Communist Party had lived. We found Bucharest, Romania, to be a beautiful city, with obvious signs of recovery from its past under communist rule, as well as evidence of persisting poverty on the outskirts of the city.

Jean and Tuck Green visit Bran Castle (also known as Dracula’s Castle), in the Transylvania region of Romania during their post-trip extension.

Throughout our River Cruise, we found the Captain and crew of the ship to be friendly and very capable at their various duties. Oh, and did we mention the food is fabulous?

Have you traveled with Grand Circle recently? I’d love to hear about your favorite memories, and if you took great photos during your trip, I’d enjoy seeing them, too! Send them to me at harriet@gct.com.