Trip Region: Eastern Europe
Country(ies): Poland, Slovakia, Hungary
Partners Trek? No
Airfare Estimate: $700
Structure: 3 • Lodging: 3 • Nightlife: 3 • Activity: 2
After surviving a perilous journey hiking an active volcano in Guatemala and soaking up the rays on the beaches in Belize as MBA1s, the Leaders and the Budapest team are excited for an incredible trek in Eastern Europe. We will start out in Krakow Poland where we will explore the amazing city by day and the amazing vodka by night. Our next stop will be the beautiful Tatra Mountains where we will get our exercise on and justify all of our drinking throughout the trek. Our next stop will be at the namesake of our trek, Budapest Hungary. We will have an opportunity to see all of the amazing sights by land and by river cruise, enjoy the local cuisine, and rage at night with Budapest’s legendary nightlife opportunities. At our final destination we will have some leisure time on the beaches at Lake Balaton. At Lake Balaton you will be able to choose your own adventure (or lack thereof) before we cap off the trip with an evening booze cruise. Join the Budapest leaders at all of Ross for a trek full of adventures that you don’t want to miss and friends and memories that you will never forget!
Day 1 — Friday, Aug 18
Fly out in the evening!
Day 2 — Saturday, Aug 19
Witamy w Polsce! Fly into Krakow, the city known as "Little Rome" because it is so replete with architecturally impressive churches. Don't worry, it's also known as the "The Old Town of Young People" so there are plenty of bars as well. Plan to arrive to our hotel by 6:00pm, where we'll host a welcome meeting with the group and meet our guide for the week. We'll then head out on the town for a kick-off dinner and play the spirited ice breaker game: "Guess Kaushik's Accent". From there, the weary can head home to rest up for a full day of city venturing on Day 2. But for those who subscribe to the Polish proverb "Szczescie jest pomiedzy ustami i brzegiem kielicha", we'll swing out for an evening of informal drinks and bar hopping.
Day 3 — Sunday, Aug 20
Rosnąć i świecić! AKA, “Rise & Shine” for an early morning breakfast and bicycle tour around Old City Krakow. Highlights will include the Main Market Square, the Czartoryski Museum, the main gate and Old City walls, Kazimierz (the old Jewish district of Krakow), and Oscar Schindler’s factory. We’ll pedal on towards the Wawel Castle and dismount for a formal tour of the castle grounds. Of note at the castle is an extensive underground cave that would make Khalessi jealous -- legend has it the cave was a dwelling for the Wawel Dragon. After the bike ride back to the hotel, the afternoon is free to leisure however you please. We’ll reconvene for a group dinner and a night out. Brace yourself, it’s rage night numer jeden. The vodka isn’t going to drink itself.
Day 4 — Monday, Aug 21
Start the morning with some Kolasz and Coffee to fuel up for a day in the mines….salt mines that is. Private transportation will take us to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a throwback to the glory days of the Polish-Lithuanian republic and one of the longest running salt mines in the world. After a morning tour we’ll head back to Krakow for an afternoon fit for the bourgeois leisure class. Mainly, pilsners on the square, strolls by Vistula and naps on the square. Wait, reverse that. Be sure to take that nap though because that evening we’re having a traditional polish feast complete with vodka tasting and a toast every ten minutes. NA ZDROWIE!
Day 5 — Tuesday, Aug 22
Now we rise to greet the sun! Just kidding. Sleep in to sleep off the vodka before we board up on our private bus to take us to the Tatra mountains (approximately 3 hours). Our road trip takes us through some of the most beautiful parts of central europe, stopping in Tatranska Lomnica where our mountain chalet hotel awaits. We have the afternoon free for swimming, relaxing and strolling through town before a fine mountain spit-fire dinner.
Day 6 — Wednesday, Aug 23
Wake your inner nature up, because we’re going hiking in the Vysoke Tatry Mountains! Lord of the Rings got nothin’ on the Tatra Mountains. This mountain range serves as the natural border between Poland and Slovakia and is known as the “Polish Alps”. We’ll also take a little trip on the mountain Gondola to get a better look at one of the most epic views in Poland. Afterwards we’ll head down to freshen up for a night out on the town.
Day 7 — Thursday, Aug 24
Today we’ll travel to Budapest and arrive in time to sneak in a few adventures around the city. We’ll scout out the city, nibbling on local eats, and maybe galavant around a national landmark or two. Then the real adventure begins as we explore the city with drink-in-hand in the Soho of Budapest- Happy Hour. We will start in Deak Ferenc square and end in the Entrance of Gozsdu court Sky Terrace.
Day 8 — Friday, Aug 25
We will start the day with the Budapest Bites and Sites walking tour! We will see some city landmarks and explore both the popular and lesser-known cuisine treasures of Budapest including award winning chocolate, authentic kosher fare, vintage drinks, sweet-as strudel, and Instagram-worthy goulash. Next we will further marvel at the genuine beauty and centuries-old grace of the Hungarian capital from the riverside on a Danube River Cruise! We will finish the day by enjoying the phenomenal nightlife that Budapest has to offer for our last evening in town.
Day 9 — Saturday, Aug 26
We will sleep in to recover from our awesome rage night before shuttling only an hour and a half away to our final destination at Lake Balaton. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in central Europe and is home to beaches, volcanic hills, and even a wine-growing region. The remainder of our day will be at leisure with opportunity to catch some rays on the beach, drink some wine, or even explore some of the hiking trails. We will reconvene as a group for a lovely group dinner and a relaxing evening.
Day 10 — Sunday, Aug 27
We will have opportunity for some beach time before embarking on a booze cruise! We will end our trip with a bang sipping on delicious drinks, taking in the sunrays, and enjoying the waves and scenery from the lake. At night, we will keep the buzz going with our final night of debauchery as we experience the phenomenal Lake Balaton nightlife.
Day 11 — Monday, Aug 28
We return from Siofok to have one last adventure in Budapest….what will await us…? It may include a banana….
Day 12 — Tuesday, Aug 29
Rise and shine trekkers! It’s time to head back home to the real world. Don’t fear though, your new friends will be around you for the remainder of your time at Ross and we will have numerous MTrek reunions throughout the year!