‘My stay in Munich was the scene of my complete liberation’ – Marcel Duchamp
Day 26: Salzburg – Munich 10.09.2016
Plan of Action:
Travel to MunichFind my hostel
See Faye off onto her train to Stockholm
The penultimate day of my European adventure, and quite a strange one too. I was really unsure about what I wanted to do in Munich and, as the trip was coming to an overall end, I was feeling ready to come home.
Constantly moving around had taken its toll on me and I was more than ready to just collapse. After all we had, on average, arrived in a new city every two days, and travelled to a new country every three.
‘Salzburg is storybook Austria. Standing beside the fast-flowing Salzach River, your gaze is raised inch by inch to the Altstadt’s mosaic of graceful domes and spires, the formidable cliff-top fortress and the mountains beyond.’ – Unknown
Day 25: Salzburg 09.09.15
Plan of Action:
The Glacier Hike
Watch the Sound of Music in the evening at the Hostel
The great thing about Yoho Hostel is that it has a pre-organised service allowing you to book day trips with them – and they have quite a heft catalogue to choose from. Amongst the options (which are available all year round) are a Glacier Hike, a Bavarian Mountains and Salt Mines tour and – of course – the effervescent Sound of Music tour. Unfortunately when we turned up at reception in the morning, we learnt that the Glacier Hike was fully booked. Inexplicably, we opted against the Sound of Music tour (I will go back to do this though) and instead decided to take part in the afternoon Bavarian Mountain and Salt Mine tour. As we had risen quite early to book something via reception, the fact that the tour as taking place in the afternoon meant that we had the whole morning in which to explore.
‘While the lake is a fairytale spot for walking, swimming or just relaxing,
it is no sleeping beauty’ – Natalie Paris
Day 24: Ljubljana – Lake Bled – Salzburg 08.09.15
Plan of Action:
Arrive at Lake Bled
Explore the Lake and Bled Castle
Arrive in Salzburg
Lake Bled is, without doubt, one of the closest things to paradise here on Earth. Whilst it’s only a 30 minute train journey from Ljubljana, when the lake first comes into sight it feels like you have been transported to another world entirely.
‘Go at least once a year to a place you’ve never been before’ – Dalai Lama
Note: If there is one place you visit this year, even if only for a weekend, let it be Ljubljana – it’s beautiful.
Day 22: Zagreb – Ljubljana 06.09.15
Plan of Action
Travel from Zagreb to Ljubljana
Find a hostel
Explore Old Town
Visit the Triple Bridge
Travelling from Zagreb to Ljubljana was pretty straightforward actually and we made it in plenty of time. The only downside was that – for the first time – we hadn’t booked a hostel in advance. We had looked into some, but hadn’t come to a decision. We also weren’t sure where the train station was in relation to the town centre. Fortunately, that wasn’t too much of an issue as it is literally a 15-20min walk to the heart of Ljubljana from the station. The station also has some awesome maps that not only lists points of interest, it also lists all hotels and hostels. We ended up settling on a recently re-opened hostel called Dragondoss that was not only inexpensive, but extremely central too.
This is where we hit a slight bump in the road though. Once we got onto the hostels wifi I received an e-mail from a gentleman informing me that I had lost my interrail pass on the walk from the station to the hostel (you write your e-mail in the pass in case of emergency). Fortunately, he and his girlfriend were a lovely and honest couple and he happily provided me with details about where they were – so we set off to find them.
‘There is nothing in the world worth of exploring more than nature’– Nikola Tesla
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is set between Zagreb and Zadar at the heart if northern Croatia. It became a UNESCO National Park in the mid-1970s in order to keep it protected and pure. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful places in the world with ‘its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species’ (quote taken from visit-croatia).
‘Don’t take life seriously, you will never get out of it alive!’ – Anonymous
Day 20: Zagreb 04.09.15
Plan of Action:
Explore Upper Town
Visit the useum of Broken Relationships
Wander down to Zagreb Main Square
Zagreb is a city that I didn’t see enough of. It’s a shame really, because it has gathered an unfair reputation of being one of the more boring Croatian cities for a traveller to visit. I would dispute this. In fact, if I was to go back for a leisurely few days I can imagine it being a city that I could easily count amongst my favourites.
Looking back on it, there are two things about my time in Zagreb that stand out for me. The first is that we did everything in the wrong order, the second is that I regret not taking more pictures.
‘If you come from Paris to Budapest you think you are in Moscow
but if you go from Moscow to Budapest you think you are in Paris’ – Gyorgy Ligeti
Authors Note: This post is going to be slightly different from the ones before, because my experience in Budapest was one that left me feeling a mixture of emotions. In part this was down to the extreme heat and the location of our accommodation, but also because I found myself in Budapest at the height of the 2015 Refugee Crisis where the international train stations were closed. I know how the BBC reported it, but what I saw differed. All of which will be touched on below.
Day 16 – Day 17: Bratislava – Budapest 31.08.15 – 01.09.15
Plan of Action N/A
A mid-morning train from Bratislava brought us into Budapest early afternoon. Having heard so many great stores and having been told about so many places to go, I was eagerly anticipating what Budapest had in store. Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, I found myself feeling more deflated than I did after Vienna. During the time we were there it was a complete disaster, it’s only looking back on the visit that I feel any sort of fondness for the city.
‘Enjoy Bratislava. It’s good you came in summer, in winter it can get very depressing’
Day 15: Vienna – Bratislava 30.08.15
Plan of Action:
Find our accommodation
Visit the ‘UFO’
Take some long-exposure photos
After coming to the realisation that Vienna wasn’t what we wanted it to be, we decided to “cut our losses” and head over to Bratislava a few hours earlier than planned. I’m glad we did too. Slovakia is a completely new entity to me, a country I had never been too before, and I was excited to see what it had in store.
“Vienna is a handsome, lively city,
and pleases me exceedingly” – Frederic Chopin
Day 14: Austria 29.08.15
Plan of Action:
Visit the Hofburg Palace
Visit St. Stephens Cathedral
Vienna. Mighty Vienna. A place whose beauty is renowned throughout Europe. After a lovely time in Prague, I was really looking forward to being spoilt by what Vienna had to offer and, during the day at least, I was not let down.
We arrived in the midst of a heatwave and, what do heatwaves mean? Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes everywhere. It wasn’t long before I found myself covered in bites from head to toe. Honestly, I felt like I was an all-you-can-eat-buffet.
‘Open your eyes, look within.
Are you happy with the life you’re living?’ – Bob Marley
At the start of the year I wrote a post titled the boy who began to grow up, which reviewed my 2014 and outlined what I hoped to achieve by the time 2015 came to a close.
The focus for 2015 was to forge an environment in which I could reclaim my life as my own, creating a plethora of stories and memories along the way. This is something I truly believe I have managed to achieve. I would argue that 2014 provided me with a disjointed roller-coaster ride, replaced by a 2015 which – for the most part – was relatively smooth-sailing and ended with a trip of a lifetime.