I JUST realised that just about one year ago I embarked on my self proclaimed ‘epic’ 5 week long journey through Central and Eastern Europe that actually made me start this blog!! In honour of the anniversary of that momentous moment ( 😛 ), lets take a walk down memory lane and run quickly through that amazing summer!
After an ‘interesting’ trip to Venice in February 2013, I decided I wanted to explore the option of traveling solo. So, for our Easter break in April, I booked a trip to Luxembourg, and threw in day trips to Metz and Trier. In Metz, I met Teodora, who introduced me to carpooling and went on to become one of the best friends I made during my year in Europe. Less than a week after that, I went to Bratislava (where the movie ‘Hostel’ is based, and everyone tried to scare the shit out of me) and Vienna for a weekend, and by the time I came back, I was HOOKED!
Since I had a 7 week long summer vacation, I decided to go home for 2 weeks, and use the remaining 5 for the ‘epic’ trip. So, on 17th July 2013, after a failed attempt at trying to pack ‘light’, I carpooled my way to Munich. Everything went to plan as I couchsurfed and carpooled my way through Germany, made my Disney dream come true with a visit to Neuschwanstein ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Castle, went on to Berlin, spent a day in a German horse farm and came back to Berlin to catch my next ride to Prague… Which I missed.
My host in Berlin (who thankfully let me stay at her place for another night. Thank you, Sarah!) suggested I go to Wroclaw instead. Wroclaw was never on my list, I had never even heard of it… But it was the first city I fell in love with. Then I went to Prague, spent 3 nights there, went through a huge mess trying to catch a train to Krakow, which I, thankfully, managed!!! Phew! I took a day trip to Auschwitz Extermination Camp, an experience that shook me greatly.
But then, what can I say about humanity… What is happening to the world right now
Well, from Krakow, I tried to go to Zdiar, a lovely village in the High Tatras of Slovakia. Here, I missed the last bus I could take, and was forced to hitchhike for the first time (the other option was sleeping on the side of the highway!). That experience was a big moment for me, because I fell in love (again) with the experience, and I knew I had to try it again!
Zdiar was the halfway point of my journey. The next leg of my trip was taking me closer and closer to home 🙂 Happy-sad moment. From Zdiar I went to Budapest (and had a TON of fun when I went Spelunking!!). My next destination was Ljubljana, and I decided I was going to hitchhike the 500kms. Lofty ambition for a first timer, since I had literally nothing going for me- female, alone, language problem and brown!! At that time I was toasted! But… All went well, and hitchhiking has become something I love, and always will, and I will recommend people to go for it in a heartbeat!
When I was in Berlin some weeks before, a girl I met randomly mentioned that Croatia had joined the EU. That was such exciting news and I was super glad my disorganised self hadn’t made any plans in advance!! After a quick day at Bled to enjoy the gorgeous lake, I headed straight to Zagreb, spent a night there, and then went to Split. In Split, I jumped off a cliff and had my first experience of staying with locals who just invited me over to their place!! No couchsurfing, nothing! HOW EXCITING, RIGHT!?!?!
Then, a ferry ride took me to Ancona (I had a great time at immigration. Whoop-de-doo). I tried and failed to find a place to stay, and I went to my beloved Rome. And after spending 3 nights in 3 different hostels in Rome, I realised (again) why my travel plans included everywhere but Italy- the WORST accommodation.
I’ve never really posted an overall itinerary of all the things I keep writing about, so that was a summary of my summer. Someday soon I shall post the overview of my winter. It was much shorter, but no less epic, albeit minus the hitchhiking and couchsurfing!
Now, your turn! Tell me about your epic journey, or ask me more about mine 😉 (There are wayyyy too many things I still haven’t linked to Too much talking!)