Monday, September 28, 2015

3 weeks & 5 days Interrailing

Having come out the other side of exams and a month long interrail trip alive, I'm going to try my upmost to keep up with this blog this academic year. I've just started an Art Foundation Course and I'm finding the creative environment really motivating already. And I don't want to harp on about it because I mentioned it in my last post but in a turn of events I've also decided to try to commit to a plant based diet/vegan lifestyle. I've meddled with the concept for a while, knowing I'd eventually transition, but I've finally taken the plunge. It has only been a month I feel so awake! So far so good! Watch Cowspiracy and Earthlings! They are enlightening!

This post is a photo dump from interrailing (digital and film pictures). I went with one friend (Amber) for 3 weeks and 5 days because I could only get so long off work and we had to be back for A Level Results day. So, our timescale was limited, and it feels like we literally did a whistlestop tour of Europe, which was exhausting and crazy and the most incredible experience.

We flew into Amsterdam, where we spent 2 days. We visited two museums there and cycled around Vondelpark, and went out one evening with a girl from our hostel, for 'drinks'  that turned into getting hot chocolate from a cafe on the side of a canal.


We then caught 2 trains, a night train, a ferry and a coach up to Copenhagen. In Copenhagen we were lucky enough to be able to stay in an apartment through connections my friend has, which a welcome change from the hostel we had in Amsterdam. We spent 2 days there again and went to Tivoli and Christiana, went shopping (Copenhagen has Monki, & Other Stories, Cos etc etc) and cooked ourselves a huge substantial meal of fajitas (a big deal when on an Interrail budget like ours).

Our beds/room in Copenhagen
on a boat trip/tour in Copenagen
Botanical Gardens in Copenagen and Christiana in Copenhagen
view from the window of the Rosenborg castle in Copenhagen

From Copenhagen, we got a direct night train to Berlin that got in at 6am. We spent the day walking around near our hostel in Oranienburger/Freidrichstrasse and then joined a walking tour, which was so, so interesting. We then went out that night and got back at 5am, but had to check out at 10am that morning, so on almost no sleep we spent that next day deliriously stumbling around the city, visiting museums and killing time before going to catch a night bus to Krakow in Poland.

skies on the walk back from a club called Suicide Circus 
We arrived in Krakow at 7am, and my Dad's friend Robbie, who is living there, was kind enough to pick us up from the station and take us back to their house. Being able to do our washing, have good showers, be fed and kindly driven around was amazing. Robbie gave us a quick tour of Krakow and took us to Auschwitz, which was on a bigger scale than I could have ever imagined. It was unsettling just being there, and having just come from Berlin, I learnt a lot over those few days about the 2nd world war/holocaust.

Driving in Krakow
From Krakow that night, we got a night train to Budapest. We spent 3 days in Budapest, which felt like an eternity following the whirlwind of a journey we'd had so far. We also got slightly carried away because everything is so cheap there and decided to eat out for every meal of every day just because we could for once, having lived on €10 a day up to this point. We climbed up to the palace on the Buda side of the river, went to the market in market square, explored the jewish quarter, went out to a ruin bar/club called Szimpla Kert (which is one of the coolest looking places I've ever been) went to the Szechenyi Baths and went shopping.

Szimpla Kert, Budapest
Market Square, Budapest
Amber in the window of our hostel in Budapest
From Budapest, we got a day train, followed by a night train, to Split in Croatia. Again we had 3 days to spend there and managed to do so much - we visited Krka Waterfalls, went to Hvar Island and spent a day on the beach before going out in the evening with some of the people at our hostel. Our train from Split to Zagreb left at midday and at Zagreb we changed onto a train headed for Villach in Austria, where we got off at midnight, intending to get on a night train up to Vienna. However, we were bluntly told that this train was full and that the next one didn't leave until 5am. So we had no choice but to try to sleep on the floor of the train station - and there were probably about 100-200 backpackers doing the same thing. We had no problem waking up in time for our 5am train because of the cold, so, relieved, we got onto a train that arrived in Vienna for 9am.

Coach view on the way to Krka National Park in Split
Fruit Market in Split
We only had 2 days in Vienna but explored by foot, using a walking tour route we found online, so we saw a lot. It was prettier and cleaner there than I expected, but we had come from Eastern Europe so it was probably going back West that was a shock too. 

Evening train view on the way out of Croatia (I think)
Train views on the way into Vienna

Salzburg was our next stop, which was only a 2 hour train journey from Vienna, and we were there for a day and a half, which we actually found was enough, because it is such a small place.  My friend did a cycling tour of the sound of music landmarks/sets while I browsed shops because I've never seen the film before and was dangerously low budget by this point. We also climbed up to a fortress the evening we were there and saw the most incredible sunset and had breathtaking, sprawling views across the city.

Views from the fortress 
Train stations
Salzburg Street
The next afternoon, we caught our next train to Zurich in Switzerland, which got in late at night, so from the station we went straight to our hostel. The most shocking thing upon our arrival in Zurich was the extortionate (to us) cost of everything. We soon realised that our strict budget hardly allowed us to buy bottled water, and after walking around in the sweltering heat for an hour or so, we literally spent the rest of our only whole day there sitting on a bench in front of the lake with our supermarket value range lunches. We were kind of glad to leave and be going to Interlaken for 3 days.

As soon as we got off there we were literally in awe because it was so picturesque. Mountains littered the landscapes at every angle and our hostel was one of the nicest we had had which was very much appreciated by this stage in our trip!! Our first day in Interlaken we decided it would be a good idea to climb up the mountain Harder Kulm, instead of paying for the cable car up. It was simultaneously horrendous with the humidity/hot weather, and hilarious, because we were both thoroughly unprepared for what turned out to be an intensive hike. The next day, we used up the remainders of our money to go canyoning, one of the scariest yet most exhilarating things I've ever done. On our final day there, we walked for an hour towards where we thought the lake was. Nothing was signposted, we had no idea where we were, had hardly any phone signal and we had to be back in the centre of the town for 4pm to get a train to Paris, but we eventually found the most insane clearing/private beach leading out to a panoramic view of Lake Thun and the mountains surrounding it. We swam there and had a picnic before running back to catch our train, which then arrived in France at about 9pm.

View from halfway up Harder Kulm & in the town  
Walking into a thunderstorm
Up Mount Harder Kulm
On the walk to our hostel from the station
We only had one day in Paris, and by this point we were both exhausted, so didn't rush around trying to do too much. We did see the Shakespeare and Company book shop though, which I remembered hearing about a couple of years ago through Rookie, and it just incomprehensible. Had I had any funds left over I would definitely have lugged back a tonne of books to England. By the end of the day in Paris we had reached the Eiffel Tower, which we sat/laid in front of for 3 hours as the sun set and as we reflected upon the ridiculous amount of things we had done in the past month and also anticipated returning home the next day/A Level results.

Window in The Shakespeare and Company Shop, Eiffel Tower
Last Evening by the Eiffel Tower
Shakespeare and Company Shop

Shakespeare and Company Shop
So we then flew back from Charles de Gaulle to Bournemouth in England. With our trip having been so fast paced, I think I'd have given out if we'd have been away for much longer, and I'd also have more obviously run out of synonyms for 'good' in writing this. Though, after being home for a week I was ready to leave again and really really want to go travelling in the US and further afield if I ever get the chance.

Thank you for reading,

Hollie


18 comments:

  1. This was by far the most enjoyable blog post I have ever read! It was such a pleasure reading and for someone planning to go travelling after A-levels this just pushed my passion further. The trip sounded outstandingly exhausting but sooo much fun!!!

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  2. This makes me miss interrailing so much! and I know exactly waht you mean about wanting to travel more, the US is next on my list for sure. I posted 35mm pictures of my trip on my blog too www.miriamwoodburn.blogspot.com

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  3. sounds like such an amazing experience, you did so much in under a month

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  4. i'm so jealous of you - my dream is to be able to travel europe like that someday!

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  5. love your photos from traveling on a budget- and thoroughly impressed you got to see so many different places in such a short amount of time! It must have been amazing!

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  6. Love all the photos! I wish I'll be able to explore europe next summer.

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  7. These are amazing photos! I'm jealous, I really want to go traveling now :'(

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  9. This is such a nice collection of... life haha I hope you had fun. Looks pretty great :-)

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