I can’t believe this it is! It has been an incredible two and a half weeks, our journey has been jam-packed with history, culture and good nights out. We have visited 5 countries and had an amazing time on our tiny budget.
We really weren’t ready for it to end, we really could have carried on and explored so many more countries. However as sad as we were for it to be ending we were all exhausted and ready to be back in the UK where it was a little cooler. Plus my summer adventures weren’t over yet as I still had a weekend in London, four days in St Ives and V festival to go.
After a lot of searching to find the cheapest flights, we booked our flight home with Wizz air into Luton. The airport was fairly far out of the city centre so we had included an airport transfer. This was a mistake as we were told to go to a random bus stop in the middle of Budapest, to wait for ages until a tiny little van rocked up that would barley fit us in let alone the other passengers. The driver was forced to play suitcase Tetris to fit the luggage in. Then when we finally arrived at the ‘airport drop off’ we were basically in a field that was a 15-minute walk from the entrance. The moral of this story is to make your own way to the airport.
We had an uneventful flight back home and said our goodbyes at Luton airport as I headed off alone to try and work out how to get to Greenwich.
Luton airport is incredibly confusing as you have to get a bus to the airport train station and coaches are going to various places and privates buses. It just seems like an incredibly complex process with no one to ask at all. But I eventually found a bus and scrambled around to find English money and get to the correct platform without a hitch.
It was all going well and I felt like a pro at navigating now. Yet London transport managed to break me I panicked that the train had reached its final stop and I had somehow missed Kings Cross so quickly got off. Only to find me in the wrong station still on the outskirts of central London and with a ticket that was only valid on the airport train. What an idiot. I was now faced with the dilemma of waiting for half an hour and getting on the next train or to get on the next Kings Cross train that came through and hope for the best.
After a full day of travelling, I was ready to stay still so hoped for the best and got on the next train that came along. Luckily no one came to question my ticket and I made it to Greenwich just in time to have a bit of a wander around and look at some of the highlights. In particular the Maritime museum and the foot tunnel under the Thames. Then managed to get an early night before having to get things organised for St Ives.
To wrap up, my inter-railing experience was one that I will remember for the rest of my life. It felt like the best possible way to end my uni experience after living together for so long, and I would highly recommend it! I went to places I never thought I would and make friends from all over the world, even if some of them were just for the day.
If you’re thinking of going or even just looking for your next city break, I’ve written a little overview of the places we visited
My thoughts on each destination:
I thought Berlin was a fascinating place filled with history and incredible museums. However, the weather was incredibly average. We went in the height of summer and it rained a lot and wasn’t particularly warm so if you’re looking to get a tan it’s probably not for you. But if you’re interested in the history of World War 2 this city is a must, every corner is overwhelmingly steeped in history.
If you like the more social aspects Germany is the home of Jager and it is so much cheaper than anywhere else. Berlin is also home to some mega clubs although many of them are very anti-tourist but find the right place and it’s great for a night out.
Berlin is the kind of place I wouldn’t mind living for a year, though I wouldn’t rush again to visit on a holiday. In all of our inter-railing trip, it was by far the cleanest and safest place we visited.
Prague is just stunning. Every street you walk down looks like a postcard. It has a rich history and has inspired artists throughout history, which you can really feel in the architecture and the number of odd and quirky art instalments and bars all over the place. The palace complex is really amazing and so unique.
If you’re looking for a party the insanely cheap price of alcohol and being the home of absinthe is sure to impress.
I would love to come back in here in winter to see the city in a different season, it struck me as a great couples getaway stop and was my second favourite place we visited.
Vienna is the most lavish place I have ever been, every corner has a building that in any normal city would be its highlight. If you are looking to travel on a tight budget Vienna is a bit of a struggle. I would like to go back to Vienna and go to the opera house maybe when I am willing to spend a bit more money and do it properly.
Vienna also isn’t really the best place if you’re looking for a big night out they have very strict noise restrictions in place across the city that could land you with a pretty big fine.
I’m sure I said it all on my post about Bratislava, but I really found this place fascinating for a day or two. I don’t think I could spend a huge amount of time here but it was incredibly cheap and well worth the experience of visiting.
It has now inspired me to visit more of Slovakia.
It’s no secret that Budapest stole my heart in less than 24 hours. Out of everywhere we visited on our trip this was by far my favourite – I want to go back, I want to live there for a while. I loved all the quirky ruin bars, the crazy cheap restaurants that had amazing food. The creative uses they have given to the huge underground cave systems. The unique architecture, its museums and fascinating history. The paradise of Margaret Island in the middle of a busy city.
The one part of Budapest that I didn’t like was that it was the most unsafe city we visited. There are more drunken homeless people than you can count. To the point that every single park bench had someone asleep on it. Apart from this, I would highly recommend a trip if you have never been before!
I’m going to write a separate post about the value of the inter-railing ticket versus doing it on your own. But overall travelling Europe is such an incredible experience and we only really scratched the surface.