Eastern Europe was more or less a totally new area for us, and we had the pleasure of visiting a number of countries that we had never been to before, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. We also visited other countries, like Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Denmark. Romania was a pleasant surprise with Transsylvania and Bucharest. Count Dracula's two castles, Bran Castle and Poenari Castle, were definitely worth seeing. It is said that Dracula only visited the Bran Castle, and actually never lived there.
We also saw Treblinka, Maidanek, and Baby Yar in Poland and Ukraine. In Treblinka there was not much left to see of the original buildings, but more so in Maidanek. Baby Yar was a ravine with a lot of trees in it, but we did not venture all the way down to it. When Germany had control of Ukraine between 1941 and 1943, it was the site of infamous mass killings.
On 5 July 2010 our friend Thomas Mejtoft came to us in Kiev, and he accompanied us for nine days and left us in Sofia. The first thing we did when he came was to see Mother Motherland, a huge statue outside the city center. We were in Kiev for two days and then we left for Romania and Bulgaria. In Sofia we ran into the Monument of the Soviet Army. There were especially two groups of statues I liked, and they are depicted in the slideshow. Our last stop before we went to Austria and Western Europe was Budapest, and we enjoyed a heat wave of 38 degrees. The city was marvellous and we took a hop-on-hop-off-ride and saw the major sights of Budapest. A boat tour was included in the price, so we saw the parliament from the river, as well.