Monday, 5 August 2013

(Really Far) Out of the Comfort Zone / An InterRailing Adventure

Our route (inc. very artfully-drawn aeroplanes for flights home)

This week has been incredible. I've spent the last 9 days interrailing through Europe with one of my language assistant friends from Germany, and we've had some amazing experiences - some mishaps as well, as to be expected - and met some very interesting people (in both senses of the word). It's been an adventure!

I'm currently on the train on the way to Budapest from Prague, having also made it through Vienna and Florence from our starting point in Lyon, France. We also had an impromptu overnight stop in Dijon, which was rather amusing, if nothing else, as we ended up not being able to take the train we wanted to get on overnight to Florence, and so spent the night at a (very bad) karaoke bar with an Australian traveller who was on her way from Barcelona and hadn't slept for for several days... Like I said, rather amusing!

Other incidents include almost missing our train in Florence due to laid-back Italian bus drivers and a lack of tickets on board the vehicle (we had to get off when the ticket inspectors came because we hadn't been able to buy any tickets); and a night-time excursion through Vienna due to missing the last metro by minutes (see a theme here?), and having to take the night bus back to our hostel - much more complicated than you would think (although the bus driver was very helpful this time).

A gorgeous strawberry & elderflower and grapefruit ice-cream I enjoyed in Budapest
Revising this at a later date, I feel I have to add our hostel stay in Budapest, which was easily the weirdest hostel experience I've ever had (and I've been to quite a few hostels this year). Having to wait for our beds to be constructed wasn't the best start, but then we discovered that our only exit was through the bathroom, which was always flooded, often occupied, and also had no locks.... Awkward situation probability = high.

Other experiences, however, were more positive, although some equally strange - being proposed to by a random Italian guy definitely lived up to the national stereotype, although sharing a train carriage with random Austrian and Czech strangers actually turned out to be not as scary as it sounds. We've also journeyed through some incredible scenery, for example the train ride through Austria, full of glimpses of mountain villages and sky-blue lakes - absolutely beautiful.

Thankfully, despite all previous incidences, we've made it safe and sound thus far, and haven't had to sleep in the woods as one of our fellow travellers resorted to doing when she couldn't find her hostel (please, no!!). It's been a great week-and-a-bit, and given me again an appreciation for those things we often take for granted (a bed to sleep in, for example AHEM Dijon). If anything, this trip has shown me that travelling is a great exercise in risk and trust. Out of the comfort zone!

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