Europe in 20 Days

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go travelling and after moving to the Netherlands for university and finding myself right in the heart of Europe (without the hassle of needing a visa for every city I’ve been wanting to visit) I had to make it happen. So the summer after my first year, I got an Interrail pass, planned a rough route, and just  bounced.

First Journey
Asking strangers to take photos of you is a staple of solo travel.

Berlin

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Arriving in Berlin was such a thrill. I had a hostel booked (bless Booking.com for making this trip as easy as possible for me in that regard, hit me up for that promo deal, thanks). I was in a city I’d never been to before, with a massive bag – which , I’m almost certain, was heavier than I was – on my back, trying to figure out the public transport. And I couldn’t be happier.

For anybody travelling solo or somewhere they’re not familiar with, go on a free walking tour. They’re available almost everywhere I visited and they’re the ideal option to get all the hot spots out of the way and help familiarise you with the city with such ease. Could not recommend them enough. In fact, my tour guide in Berlin was brilliant and even tried to help me arrange accommodation for my second night there. Thanks Paul (and Autumn)!

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Being in a hostel with 3 – 5 other gals was quite the novel experience. Wouldn’t say hostels are the most comfortable option, but when you’re travelling solo, don’t really put much thought into sleep time as long as you have a bed and you’d much rather spend money doing things, I’d absolutely recommend them.

(By the way, keep an eye out for a hostel recommendation post for the cities I visited, because goddamn did I do a whole lotta research in that department and got lucky with some uber lit hostels) 

Hamburg

Thanks to the darling Anna, who housed me here, Hamburg felt like a second home. We walked around on my first day with her boyfriend, hit up Hamburg Pride for the end of the show, and grabbed a bite at Subway. That evening we went to a “carnival” and I got hella currywurst and we went on a super scary ride and took photos at this OG photo booth.

The next day, which I can safely say was one of the top 3 best days of my trip, we went to the port and chatted about life and poetry and the future and it was genuinely magical. I can’t even tell y’all about everything we did because this post would go on forever, but her family & friends were all so wonderful & the city was gorgeous + the weather was the best I got all trip so, thank you Anna & Hamburg for showing me lots of love.

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Vienna

This city was a highlight because of The Albertina Museum. I still cannot get over the fact that I saw the work of Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Magritte, Chagall and Roy Lichtenstein all in one place, on one day. I couldn’t really adhere to the unspoken “quiet” rule of museums because my gasps were endless, but I had a dream of an afternoon. My 10 year old self, endlessly scribbling away, unaware of the tortured artist lifestyle I’m going to be leading at 20, would’ve been so proud.

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Being a Psychology major, there was no way I was hitting up Vienna without going to the Freud museum. Even though I completely forgot about it until my last day in Vienna and got lost on the way there and back!

Prague

From the Bob Dylan exhibition to the brilliant night out with Trish and a whole bunch of people we met from everywhere around the world, Prague was a gem. Definitely demands a re-visit. I was pretty tired by the time I got here so I didn’t maximise my time as much as I did in Berlin or Hamburg, but it was chill and mad fun. Couldn’t ask for more.

Budapest

Once again, my lovely housemate Lea, made this city a dream. This was my second time hitting up BP w/her and I stayed with her & her fam (whom I love to bits). We went to Sziget, of course and it was so popping. Watching Vince Staples & Flume live was s i c k and the rest of the time I was resting hardcore. I was absolutely destroyed by the time I got here and Lea’s mom took great care of me!! Eternally grateful. This city is an all-time favourite, as you’d expect!

(Despite having to stand on the 2 hour journey there because it’s just too popular for train travel! But it’s cool because I had a book and a lovely chat with a guy from Germany who was heading to New Zealand for work after his summer trip (!!!!))

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Venice

Venice was g o r g e o u s. And hands down, best coffee I’ve ever had lives in this city. Met this brill American gal Kirsten, who found me saying “it’s lit” very amusing! We went sightseeing together then grabbed a coffee and bought lighter clothes at a lil shop by the water because it was h o t. 

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This city was just too damn pretty.

Milan

I spent 24 hours in Milan and in that timespan I couldn’t do much, unfortunately. But I had a lovely stroll on the day I was heading to Paris, after having breakfast in the city’s main square while an instrumental quartet version of ‘Despacito’ was playing in the background. Magic.

Paris

Another 24 hour stop, but this time it was packed. My hostel was brilliant and the receptionist was shook when I told her I was only here for a day and it was my first time in Paris. Very understandable. But by this time I was ready to get back home & settle into the new place, plus uni was starting soon and I definitely needed some mental and emotional preparation before being dropped into classes again after the trip of dreams.

Of course, Paris was everything I expected it to be and more. I did a lot of solo sightseeing for a day and then went to see the Eiffel Tower light up at night!

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All in all, this trip was worth every cent. Coming back home with a completely different mindset of working hard enough to get to a point at which I can pick up and go wherever, whenever. My drive has been slipping, expectedly, as the school year progresses because I’ve just been incredibly demotivated and ready to leave “academia”.

However over the last 2 months or so, I’ve been working on changing that headspace. I’ve been trying to redirect my energy into creative work and writing and just putting my stuff out there because this is what I know I was born to do – as cliché as that sounds – and unless I’m giving it my all, what’s the point?

So I guess this is a new era. And change/growth never comes easy or without a little pain and trouble. Re-visiting this trip while compiling this post & editing the video has refreshed me and I’m more ready than ever to just get going & give it my all.

Thank you for gracing my blog with your presence & be sure to hit me up on Instagram and my other lil homes on the interwebs!

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