I can’t believe this it is! It’s 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 weren’t ready for it to end and could have continued exploring so many more countries together.
We 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. Big mistake, we were told to go to a random bus stop in the middle of Budapest. We had 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. We finally arrived at the ‘airport drop off’ aka 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 a dilemma, wait half an hour or get the train that my ticket wasn’t valid on.
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.
Overall, 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, and every corner is 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 for 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 low 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, and every corner has a building that in any typical city would be its highlight. If you are looking to travel on a tight budget, Vienna is a bit of a struggle. I want 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 the best place if you’re looking for a big night out they have stringent noise restrictions in place across the city that could land you with a pretty hefty fine.
I’m sure I said it all on my post about Bratislava, but I found this place fascinating for a day or two. I don’t think I could spend a considerable 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 fantastic food. The creative uses they have given to the vast 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.