I was looking through old photos the other day and came across some of the snaps I had taken back in November 2007.
I wasn’t blogging back then so for those of you that don’t know, this was a special time in my life when myself and ten of my awesome close friends embarked on a two week inter-railing trip around central Europe.
We had the time of our lives and it’s a trip I will never forget, I do still find myself laughing at some of the stuff we got up to!
Seeing the photos made me smile and feel happy about the times that we had together, so I thought to myself – why not write a post about it!
It’s not going to be an in-depth post about where we went and what we did on a daily basis, the following is more of an overview of where we traveled and places I think you should visit if you find yourself on an inter-railing around Eastern Europe.
Again for those of you that prefer photos and videos – I’ve included both for you.
The video is actually one of the first slideshows I ever did, so I’m proud of my “editing skills”!
I’ve also included the visit to Sachsenhausen, which as some of you may know as one of the many concentration camps set up by the Nazi’s during world war 2.
Obviously a little more sombre than the previous video, but still worth seeing.
We booked two separate flights for this trip: Dublin – Budapest, Amsterdam – Dublin.
So, that left us twelve days to make our way from Budapest to Amsterdam.
The flights in total cost us approximately 90 Euro each, and we booked both of them with the low cost carrier airline that is the infamous Ryanair.
We got together and as a group we began to map out our planned itinerary. Luckily enough, everyone in the group was really easy going and the planning stage was a breeze, in comparison to what it could have been if we all had different interests and ideas of where we would like to visit.
So, what was the planned route?
The route that we decided on took us to the following cities: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam.
Some may say that we were a little ambitious attempting to visit six counties in twelve days, but we wanted to see as much as we could while making the most out of our limited time.
We booked our inter-rail tickets via the internet, and the process was dead simple and straightforward.
We figured that we’d buy the ticket before we left as it was working out cheaper than if we were to buy our tickets as we traveled.
It was a good feeling knowing that all of our train tickets where paid for in advance which eliminated the worry of buying tickets over the course of the two weeks.
All of the trains we traveled on were extremely clean and comfortable.
Most of the journeys we took were only 3-6 hours in duration, and it is important to note that all of the trains departed on time and ran on schedule.
The train journeys were always good fun, they gave us a chance to play chess and card games while taking in some of the beautiful views of the European countryside.
I would recommend people to do some research before they buy an inter-rail ticket, as you want to be entirely sure that it is saving you money in the long run.
Options for accommodation in Berlin are plentiful, and there’s something there to suit any budget, whether it is big or small.
We chose to stay in hostels for the most part of our trip as they are extremely cheap, and we were not at all fussy about where we slept.
We knew we’d be spending very little time in the hostel so all we needed was a clean place that was safe and secure.
Plus, hostels are always a great way to meet new people and interact with other travelers.
We never booked anything in advance so when we landed in a new city, hostel hunting was always the top priority, closely followed by a rather large sampling of the local food and beer!
I don’t know was it pot luck on our behalf, but every single hostel we stayed in was just brilliant, we never felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and they were so inexpensive.
We usually stayed in mixed dorm rooms and most of the time it was just us in the room, seen as we were such a big group.
Generally speaking, the hostels were not that busy and we had no problems with getting a room in each hostel that we checked out. It was November so that’s most likely the reason why things were a bit on the quiet side.
I’d imagine that if you choose to do a trip like this in the Summer, you would want to be prepared for two things: a hike in prices and some very busy hostels.
Booking a room/bed in advance would probably be a good idea if you want to stay at a particular hostel.
Things to see
We managed to stay true to our original route that we had planned, and we were successful in visiting the six countries in twelve days.
Even though we partied every single night, we still managed to rise from the bed early each morning and we got to visit so many cool sights and attractions.
Here’s a short list of some of the places that I enjoyed visiting:
Sachsenhausen – Oranienburg (outside Berlin)
Anne Franks House – Amsterdam
Berlin Wall – Berlin
Charles Bridge – Prague
Buda Castle – Budapest
St. Stephen’s Cathedral – Vienna
Bratislava Castle – Bratislava
Each city that we visited had so much to offer and so many amazing things to see and do.
We wish we had more time as sometimes it all felt like a bit of a rush, but we were happy with all that we squeezed in considering we only spent two days in each city.
What was my favourite place?
It’s hard to pick a favourite place having spent only two days in each, but if I really had to choose, I think Berlin would come out on top for me.
Berlin itself was visually stunning and I enjoyed looking at the architecture while finding out more information about the history of this fascinating city.
We did a free walking tour of Berlin which I would highly recommend to anyone, our guide was extremely informative and knowledgeable about the city.
I actually think that this tour was what led me to liking the city so much!
We also did a pub crawl with a hundred other people from all around the world, it was so much fun and proved to be a great way of visiting most of the bars in Berlin!
The pub crawl was just so brilliantly organised that it made that night in Berlin one of the best nights out that we had, which also added to the charm of the city for me.
Would I do an inter-railing trip in Europe again?
It was a two week period in my life that I’ll never forget.
Firstly, because of the awesome group of people that I traveled with and secondly, because of the spectacular and interesting cities that we got to visit.
Inter-railing is something that I would encourage everyone to do.
It’s fun and exciting, it’s an inexpensive way of travelling, it’s enjoyable and things can get a little crazy at times!
One thing is for sure though – you won’t regret it, and an inter-railing trip is something you’ll want to do again, again and again!!
Some day, we’re going to pebble dash around Europe again via Interrail – that’s a certainty!