Paris is notably one of the most romantic, iconic cities in the world; so you feel rather disappointed when you’re instead greeted with a dreary, shit-hole of a city. You’ve begun this next part of your European adventure with one of your best-friends from high-school – Mik. You and Mik have always had a fondness for pulling the piss out of each other, and generally not taking things all too seriously. Many times in class you were told off for cackling too loudly at yet another fart joke, penis joke, or anything that could imply any sexual innuendo, in other words: you two were a pair of dickheads.
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Here you are about to fulfil your childhood dream of coming to Salzburg; the town where you’re all-time favourite film was shot: The Sound Of Music. Unfortunately you will not be able to join an upper-class family of singers, nor fall in love with the handsome-brutish man of the household, but you’re still able to bask in the awesome beauty of the town. You arrive early in the morning and are instantly greeted with the soft falling of snow, which although is very romantic, becomes stressful when your Doc’s slip on the icy ground. After a couple of near falls, you finally reach your hostel and gladly spend the afternoon chilling out – something you’ve become quite accustomed to as of late. At lunch time you walk into the main street and order a vegan meal at an overly-friendly restaurant, before texting an old friend to catch up for drinks. Continue reading
Grunau is a tiny town secluded in the middle of nowhere in Austria. The town was recommended to you by your couch surfing host Anna back in Munich, where she guaranteed that this was the best place to come to soak up some nature and recharge your batteries. Feeling shattered after weeks of travel, this town sounds like a holiday away from your holiday. The train journey is only a mere 3 hours from Salzburg, which gives you time to have a smoke, a glass of wine, and relax on the train. Opting for your iPod as accompaniment, you listen to Florence and the Machine’s new album as you stare out of the window to the white wonderment of a European winter. You had only seen snow a couple of times before now: once you can barely remember as you were 3 years old, and the second time was on a mountain in New Zealand, in which case the snow had been there for a long time and was therefore hard and icy.
After changing trains and buses about 4 times, you eventually find yourself in the trendy city of Munich. There is no need to get lost finding your hostel, as you have previously arranged to sleep on the couch of the lovely Anna – your new Couch Surfing host. Anna greets you at the platform with giggles and smiles, and you set off on the tube to her flat. As you get talking to notice a distinguishable Irish accent on her – turns out English is her second language, and adopting an Irish accent just felt natural for her!
Travel Tips Part 10: Krakow, Poland.
You’re yet to realise this at the moment, but your trip to Krakow is going to turn into somewhat of a fuck up. Your overnight train from Prague leaves at 9.30 which gives you the day to explore more of this beautiful city. After dinner, you confidently walk up to the station and have a confusing conversation with the woman behind the international ticket desk – your Eurail pass isn’t valid for Poland so you have to buy a separate ticket, which turns out to be cheaper than you expected. You get on your train with utmost confusion as you can’t find your seat, because apparently you’d booked a sleeping cabin. You don’t panic until the ticket officer takes your Eurail pass away from you: you can’t understand what the problem is. After unsettling into the world’s most uncomfortable bed, you chat with the officer who tells you that you in fact don’t have a valid ticket for the train – the woman had only sold you a sleeping reservation. Of course.
Welcome to Praha! You are at once confronted by the monotonous Czech language, while at the same time being knocked over by the breathtaking views of the ancient city. You meet your lovely Couch Surfing host, Adela at the main train station and soon start chatting while taking the underground to her flat.
At this point, you must note that Couch Surfing is a brilliant idea; not only do you get to stay in a strangers flat for free (which is always exciting) but you also get to meet some fantastic people along the way. A short walk to Adela’s flat and you’re entering a time warp: her flat was her grandmother’s and it hasn’t changed much since communist Prague, save for the modern posters and general feeling of liberation about the place. Adela makes you a lovely brew of tea and brings out a block of chocolate – it’s already clear that you’re going to get along just fine. After sorting through possible things to do with yourself over the next few days, you realise that you’re late for dinner with a mutual Czech friend, Zuzi. You rush off, and in doing so manage to get lost on the way to the train station, which doesn’t make all that much sense seeing as it’s quite literally around the corner.
Finally you’re in Berlin, the city you’ll be staying in for the next week. You’re soon to discover that this week is just not long enough; Berlin is overflowing with things to do and see and unfortunately for you, you just don’t have the time to see it all.