Ok, so we’ve put away the Hungarian Forints and swapped them for Croatian Kruna.
Day ten and we have arrived in Zagreb (remember Coratia isn’t in the EU so have your passports ready)! Once here we did all the typical sightseeing and saw St Marks Church, Old Stone Gate and Lotrščak Tower (best to visit at noon, listen out for the cannon ball that gets fired). The next day we went to Dolac food market and got a bus to Jarun Lake. Whilst travelling, if you can’t get to a beach sometimes lakes are just as good and free!
The end of week two saw us arrive at Bled in Slovenia. While here we visited the beautiful Lake Bled where we swam and sunbathed and that evening we went on another pub crawl (when in a foreign city pub crawls are a great way to meet people and discover all the best pubs cheaply and safely). For any Geographers reading the next day we went on a Gorge walk (not the best if you’re afraid of heights, water or bridges) and then treated ourselves to Kremsnita-the traditional cake of Slovenia.
The beginning of week three and we are now in Italy where the first of our two stops is Venice. After getting off the train, still in Slovenia, we proceeded to walk across the border into Italy (it’s really fun to jump across the boarder and act like Homer Simpson). We stayed in a Venice Plus Hostel (we also stayed in Prague Plus, I highly recommend all Plus hostels to anyone, not just students) and were greeted with a massive swimming pool surrounded by sunbeds which made our day! Our hostel was slightly outside of Venice as hotels in the city center are very expensive but our hostel ran buses to and from the centre regularly throughout the day.
During the day we drank Aperol Spritz- the traditional drink of Venice, in a jacuzzi in the sun and in the evening we went to a masquerade party in the hostel. The next day we did all the conventional things that everybody does in Venice: ate pizza, went on a gondala and drank Prosecco and Bellinis. Stop two was Milan, although there is not a lot here, what is here, is worth it; and that is Duamo church (be prepared: if you want to go inside you have to be covered up) and of course the shopping!
Breakfast in Venice, lunch in Milan and dinner in Bern. We arrived in Switzerland for another much needed pit stop, my friend’s Godmother lives in Bern, if you have any connections like this it is great because you get free accommodation and food and it is likely you will get pampered (we did)! After a lazy breakfast eating Caillei croissants (better than Lindt…remember Switzerland is famous for its chocolate) we sunbathed by her pool and swam in the lake before a BBQ for dinner! Before getting on yet another train we visited the bear pits (what Bern is famous for) and had a look round the city.
Our penultimate city was Lyon. France is the food capital of the world and Lyon is the food capital of France so typically we went out for a lovely meal, I had spaghetti bolognaise (not so typical). The next morning we woke up for my friend’s 18th birthday and had a mini surprise party in the hotel with cake and champagne before leaving for our final stop. Note: we were all wearing party hats and the challenge was to wear them all day.
We really made the most of our final city, whilst in Paris we saw the Moulin Rouge, the Sacre Coer (the highest point in Paris), had dinner at the Hard Rock Café, went to a nightclub on a boat-Batofar, went up the Arc de Triumph (this is free if you can prove you are from the EU and are aged 18-25), saw the end of the Tour de France (we accidentally but perfectly planned our trip around this), walked along the Champs Elysees, went up the Eiffle Tower, saw the Mona Lisa in the Lourve and went to the Notre Dam!
On a bid to end our trip on a budget we ended by getting a bus back to London costing us just £14 (I would not recommend this to anyone who gets travel sick). I had the most amazing Summer and it was centred around my interrailing trip. Just make sure you go with people you like, book things in advance and be open minded. Your Summers at university are long enough that I don’t believe you need to take a whole year out to travel. Thirteen cities in twenty two days and 53 hours, 8 minutes and 48 seconds on trains!