Anyone done it?
Where did you go, tell me stories
Anyone done it?
Where did you go, tell me stories
Yeah I dont want this topic anymore
Did it 10 years ago (ffs I am so old), was my first time “travelling” with mates. Had a great time, and the spontaneity and freedom is a wonderful thing. My two bits of advice that I wish I’d taken:
What did you do for staying placea?
As an official interrail with the interrail pass: yes, 4 yrs ago. places in brackets are places we didn’t stay over:
(Brussels) - Amsterdam - Berlin - Prague - Krakow - Budapest - Vienna - Venice - (Verona) - Munich - (Salzburg)
I budgeted very badly and had also been given a cash card under false info - was told my parents could top up if I ran out of money. I couldn’t. Parents ended up terribly guilt-tripping the Thomas Cook people on the phone until they agreed to do a one-off payment onto the card… £200 should have been enough for the last week but literally as soon as that happened my friend wanted us to go on a gondola. I said no, she said she’d pay for me and i was like “and i don’t have to pay you back??” and she said yes, then as soon as we got off the gondola she said I owed her £40. ended up running out of money on the very last day when we were trying to get train tickets to Munich airport. luckily my mate had an emergency bank card.
Favourite places were Vienna, Amsterdam, Berlin and Budapest, although in Berlin my friend nearly got all her cash nicked by guys with clipboards pretending to be collecting money for a deafblind charity they use the clipboard to put on top of your stuff if you’re sitting in the park, then while they distract you by talking, try to smuggle yr cash out of your bag/wallet. Had a mostly great time but did get irritated with my friend at times so wish we’d spent a bit more time exploring alone.
Also done Baltics/Scandinavia and the Balkans as big Euro trips without the interrail pass. with the Baltics and the Balkans you’re better off just getting buses.
Hostels are wayyy better in less ‘developed’ countries as well. Smaller, a million times friendlier and more personal, and so much cheaper for so much better service (in various parts of the Balkans, you’re looking at under a tenner per night for the best hostels in the city). I found it a lot easier to meet and chat to people in little hostels too.
memorable hostel experiences:
Budapest: kept awake from an afternoon nap by two people vigorously rutting in one of the top bunks.
Vienna: shared a dorm room with a British guy called DP who was off his nut. was rambling on about Princess Diana, thought the UN was convening in the lobby downstairs, actually said “I should have been a Nazi”, sat bolt upright with the light on all night watching my friend and I sleep, went into the bathroom and shouted “I’M NOT A JOURNALIST, I’M AUSTRALIAN!!!” at himself. when I woke up in the morning he was RIGHT by my bed, staring at me through the slats, and said in this terrifying voice “Have you seen my socks?”. (I had not.) absolutely terrifying at the time but excellent for anecdotes/in-jokes with my mate.
Munich: stayed in the 40 person dorm in the Jaegerhostel, it was £11 per night but fucking hell, 40 people sleeping in the same room. one guy woke everyone up at 4am with his Champions League theme alarm, which he switched off after people were getting angry with him, only for it to go off again 5 minutes later. also some drunk American guys tried to sort of kidnap us in the evening.
Ohrid (Macedonia): I chatted to the guy who owned the hostel about football on the day I checked in, then when I was up in my room feeling a bit lonely and sad, he came upstairs to find me and tell me that everyone was watching football downstairs and was getting pizza and did I want to join them he fucked off on the last night of my stay to go partying with his stoner mates and left me and another British guy to be ‘in charge’, then paid me with a free cider on his return. in the morning, he drove me across town to the bus station, and when he found out there was no space on the morning bus for me, he drove me back to the hostel and then drove me back again in the afternoon for the 3pm bus! he was an absolute hero.
Hostels - hostelworld is your friend. A lot of the hostels were a bit shit, but I imagine there’s much better ones now. I backpacked around Latin America this year and there are loads of top notch hostels out there so there’s no reason there shouldn’t be some in Europe too. It’s the tripadvisor effect, if somewhere’s bad everyone’ll know about it so standards are way higher.
Oceanstorm has it right above - don’t always stick to the big cities (there’s only so many art galleries and cathedrals you can look at) and be prepared to be flexible on your route. We had booked all our accommodation before we went, meaning when we heard about cool places on the trip we couldn’t change.
Stories? The dozens of flashers in Milan, the guy in Barcelona who slept walked and pissed in a corner of the room, the guy in my Paris dorm who was en route to Detroit from Amsterdam and was like ‘I’ve got all this weed and I’m not taking it through customs so you’re going to have to help me out here…’ all good fun.
I went about ten years ago with one of my friends who’d already been backpacking a few times. Got them to do most of the hotel booking by phoning ahead. Usually just went with the Lonely Planet recommendations. Got a first class Interail ticket which it transpired was a waste of money. Turns out first-class in most of Europe is nothing like in Britain, i.e. you just get a bit more leg-room. Would have probably been better off buying individual tickets.
Decided on the route as we went along and ended up doing Prague>Ceske Budjevoce (for the Budvar brewery)>Vienna>Bratislava>Lljubjlana>Lake Bled (by coach)>Venice. Did it over a fortnight so it was really rushed.
Memorable moments included the Vienna restaurant fight which I mentioned in another thread and managing to arrive at the wrong station in Bratislava and ending up getting stuck on a Slovakian industrial estate
Hmm intriguing. How long did you all go for (ie cause of work it’d be max 2/3 weeks I could porbably do, is that not worth it)
Three weeks (just did France and Italy) and that was plenty.
Also 3 weeks.
excellent cheers guys! something to consider I think
Fuck! I went Interailing almost 23 years ago - now I feel fucking ancient…
that word looks wrong.
are you sure that’s right?
yeah I just see it as a cheap way of buying train tickets
not worth it for travelling in most of central and Eastern Europe but definitely worth it in the Nordic countries, Germany, France, Switzerland etc.
I have a million stories… I’ve spent most of my summers as an adult on trains going around Europe. uhm.
Np, because I’ve actually had to pay my own rent and eat
I also recommend bla blah car as a way of travelling cheaply, and also getting a really lightweight tent. also I’ve couch surfed quite a bit and that’s free, obviously. in fact, if anyone would like a cheap holiday in Germany, you are welcome to stay in my flat.