Although I only started my blog a couple months ago, I’ve been living abroad since August 2016, and have accumulated a lot of adventures/travels since then. Therefore, I will be posting some of my trips with the label “Throwback” to signify that I took them over 3 months ago and that my memories aren’t as fresh as they could be. So, without further ado, here’s my 8 days in Central Europe in October 2016.
8 crazy days
My first European experience outside of France was truly unforgettable. In eight days, I tried to see as much as I could in this historic, photogenic region. Perhaps photogenic is an adjective only applicable to humans, but I think it’s suitable in this situation, as these cities are very much alive. With the time crunch, I only got a mere taste of the cultural offerings of these four animated cities, but for a truly immersive experience I’d recommend at least two or three weeks.
7 modes of transportation
By plane, train, tram, metro, bus, car, and foot — we certainly experienced every means of travel during this trip. [To see my full travel itinerary, scroll to the bottom of this article.] Considering various modes of transportation allows you to maximize your time and maximize your budget. Also, knowing where to compare various modes of transportation can be helpful as well. For longer trips, such as ours from Paris to Vienna, I first took a look at flights. The best site I have found to compare flights on various airlines is Skyscanner. To find buses and trains between cities, I have found that goeuro.com is a wonderful source to compare options.
6 traveling companions
Three Americans, a New Caledonian, a Canadian, and a Czech girl walk into a bar…
There is no better way to travel than with friends. They stop you from taking hundreds of solo selfies. They try to hitch hike with you when you miss your bus, and they provide a shoulder to sleep on during overnight train rides.
However, there may be a difference between your best friends and your best friends with whom to travel. I might do a whole post on this topic, but every person travels differently, from being a museum lover/hater to starting the day early/ending the day late. These differences are important to keep in mind when choosing who to travel with. That said, there is nothing that bonds people more than shared experiences in a foreign country, with unfamiliar languages and streets to navigate.
5 (near) missed rides
While I would typically describe myself as a punctual person, for some reason when my group of friends gets together we have a propensity to narrowly miss transportation. A bus to Bratislava, a metro in Budapest, a bus to Prague…you get the picture. However, missing our rides did force us to become more creative when figuring out how to get from place A to place B. I did get to experience my first attempt at hitch-hiking, and I figured out that getting stuck at the train station for four hours isn’t so bad when you’re in good company.
4 capital cities in four words
Vienna ~ Open, clean, musical, grand
Bratislava ~ Friendly, charming, walkable, non-touristy
Budapest ~ Photogenic, colorful, good vibes
Prague ~ Historic, untouched, authentic, welcoming
My amateur photography skills did not prevent me from attempting to capture the unattainable beauty and history of these four cities. Tip: the best time to capture a semi-bird’s-eye view photo from your tower of choice is right as the sun is setting (just make sure the church is still open).
2 busted shoes
Some boots are made for walking, and some boots have reached the point where they can’t walk anymore. The light packer I am, I only took one pair of shoes on this Central European adventure, and by the end of the eight days I had to kindly retire them.
I experienced several firsts on this journey. It was my first time traversing national borders without parental accompaniment, my first time living the hostel life, my first trip with friends from university, and my first voyage where I actively took part in the planning (transportation, hostels, outings, food, etc.). It was sort of liberating.
So that’s my Central Europe trip in slightly more than a few words! If you’re familiar with any of these cities, please let me know your favorite places in the comments below.
- Day 1 — Fly into Vienna late afternoon
- Day 2 — Vienna
- Day 3 — Bratislava (Day trip, night in Vienna)
- Day 4 — Arrive in Budapest late morning
- Day 5 — Budapest
- Day 6 — Day in Budapest, Night in Prague
- Day 7 — Prague
- Day 8 — Prague