Hi! Everybody! How has it been the last two weeks? Anyway I've been on a amzing trip through some European countries together with my boyfriend, it included: Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Poland. In a lot of those countries I've never been before. Mainly the eastern European ones. They really amazed me and I really would love to do a trip like this again.
We did the entire trip by train with and Interrail pass. It allows you to travel through most countries in Europe.
The trip started in my home town Leiden in the Netherlands. We took the train to Düsseldorf and tranfered to a train to Münich. We stayed an afternoon en evening there drank some Weiss beer. At midnight we had a night train to Venice. It was in a tiny couchette with 4 other people but I slept well and we arrived in Venice at 8 am in the morning. I've been to Venice before but this time was much greater! Because it was so early, there were hardly any tourists around and Venice is normally packed with them. So we had the city pretty much to ourselfs and the Italian residents. We had a cappuccino at a cafe and we took lots of photo's. We also spend an hour and a half drawing there. In the afternoon we took the train to are final destination in Italy: Bologna!
Bologna is a student city, the city of the original Bolognese sauce and a city full of arched passage ways. The food was amazing the wine was cheap and we had a great super cheap hotel. They had some amazing catheredals and some super tall and leaning defending towers. We climbed them and had a great view of the city. After 2 days there we had to go to our next stop. Slovenia.
We took a train back to Venice and from there a train to the Italian border to Slovenia. We got out in a town called Gorizia en we had to take a bus to the Slovenian town Nova Gorica. We waited an hour at the station on a tiny diesel power train. The train route was straight through the Julian Alps, it was a great site to see. After 2 hours we arrived at the small laketown Bled. The train station was right next to the beautifull lake. The lake was surrounded by mountains and had a small island with a church in the middle of it. We stayed at a great hostel with the nicest owner in the world. He was very honest told us about the best places in the area. The weather was a bit rainy so we didn't swam in the lake but we did go to a nature reserve. You could go to a very nice mountain gorge en walk over it. sun-surfer.com/photos/2012/10/…
From Bled we went to the capital of Croatia: Zagreb
We had a small appartment there near the city center. The city was nice but simelar to other city's I've been to. I did love the uppertown part it had older houses and lots of museums. We went to the natural history museum. It was nearly empty and pretty small. But it was very old. It had cabinets with hundreds of stuffed animals. The also had lots of restaurants and pubs. The food was very cheap and the beer too
So we spend a lot of time eating and drinking.
From Zagreb we took a extremely long train ride to Budapest in Hungary. They train didn't have airconditioning and it was extremely slow and had a delay of two hours. Anyway we did met two nice girls on the trip. One from Cech Republic and one from Serbia. We talked, complained about the train and had laughs. When we arrived in Budapest we split up as they had to go further with their journeys.
The hostel was the cheapest ever (8 euro's a night) and was close to the city center and in a street full of restaurants. We arrived the pretty late because of the train, but we were just in time to have a quick burger in one of the restaurants.
Budapest was my most favorite city on the trip. I wished we could have stayed there a few days longer. There is so much to do and to see! They had great architecture, lovely bridges, nice parks, great shopping area's, lovevely food and the best bar street I've ever seen. The bars are famous and are called the Ruin bars. The are bars located in old abonded workplaces and they are hidden between very large buildings. It gives very cozy or what we dutch say "Gezellig" feel. I also recommend you going to a restaurant called "Ruben" It looks luxurious but is actually pretty cheap. I had the best food there of the entire trip. I had Rosé duck breast with mashed potatoes, mixed with caramelized onion and sprinkled with thyme. We also went to the national gallery and saw a exhibition of Dadaism. And went to a cave church but don't go to it, it's kitsch and overrated. On hour last night we met some students from that came from Romenia. We had a great talk and hoped to hang out the next day but we had to leave so hopefully we see them in the future.
From Budapest we took a night train to Krakow in Poland. We had a compartment to ourselfs! We arrived early in the morning. My boyfriend bumped his foot pretty badly in the train and had a hard time walking but he managed. When we got to the hostel we couldn't check in yet because we were to early but we could store our luggage. We were thing what we could do the rest of the day and we desided to go to Auschwitz.
Auschwitz is not a nice place to go to but I recommend everybody to go there only then your really realise how horrible bad the people were treated at the camps (It were not only jews, also alot of polish people, gypsies en people who were against the nazi regime were send there.) The camp is bigger than I've ever imagned, but that was not what shocked me most. The nazi had storehouses filled with human hair(which the were going to use to make textile with) shoes, clothing, pots and pans, jewelry and so on. The told the prisoners before the were deported that the were going to be giving a new life but at an other location. So the people took all the personal belongings with them. Once the were at the camp the stuff was taken from them. An officer chose which people were going to be gassed and which ones stayed at the camp to work. Only fit people were selected. The also gassed mothers with children because the mothers could not bear being seperated.
At the end of the war, the Nazi's tried to destroy evidence that this was a death camp. So the bombed the gas houses and lit the storehouses on fire. The allies found only a small fraction of the belongings and it was displayed in one of the barracks in the museum. The barrack had a large hall compelte filled with human hair, a hall with 200.000 shoes. A small room with 40.000 children shoes, a hall with pots and pans, a room with a pile of glasses and a large hall with suitcases with names of the people on it. It was told that this was only a small portion of what was once there. I was shocked and felt horrible.
They guide told us in the end thanks for being here and to tell people about the experience there. He also told us that the things that once happened there is still happening around the world. That people still haven't learned anything, but that he hopes by coming to Auschwitz people will learn what is happening now is wrong and we should do something about it.
After Auschwitz we went back to Krakow checked in on our hostel. The next day we walked around Krakow. It's a nice old city with a nice sqaure. We couldn't walk around for long because it started to poor with rain. So we spend most of our time at a restaurant.
The next day we went for a short stop in the capital of Poland Warsaw. It reminded me of the city I grew up in Rotterdam. Both cities were bombed in the WII so there weren't any old buildings left. So the city if filled with skyscarpers and concrete buildings. We walked around a bit. The did have a nice momument in the center. It was like a scene in a war with soldiers walking forward after a though time. We had some nice indian food there. We left the following morning to our final stop Berlin.
We have been in Berlin before with an excursion of art school. So we have seen great part of the city already. We walked around took the subway to some nice landmarks and chilled for a great part of the time. The had a nice inner city beach at checkpoint charlie and we had some currywurst there. In the evening we went to the cinemas and saw dawn of the planet of the apes (Cinemas are cheaper in germany than in the Netherlands). Next day we went to the natural history museum of berlin. The awesome thing was is that that museum has the biggest dinosaur skeleton of the world of a brachiosaurus. And they have the famous archaeopteryx fossil. I made tons a foto's to use as reference, maybe I'll post some of them here on DA. Anyway the next day it was time to go home.
The trip was a real eye opener and I'm really going to do more of these long trips in the future. The entire trip cost me about 950 euro's and we have been in 6 countries. So it is possible to see so much for not so much money.