Europe has long been considered as a dream destination for many travel enthusiasts. Its medieval cities, verdant meadows and diverse culture has always acted as a magnet for travelers. But it is also known to be prohibitively expensive especially for people from countries whose currency exchange rate is abysmal as compared to the Euro.So when I was selected as an exchange student to study a term of 3 months at Toulouse Business School, France the first thing I wanted to do was to devise a plan to experience Europe on a budget as I was a student and was not earning since a year. I checked my curriculum and found out that I had 15 days to travel during the hectic term. The idea that I had in my mind was to experience Europe rather than just marking places off my bucket-list. I spoke to a lot of people, did a lot of research and came to a conclusion that one needed to spend at-least 2 days in a particular city to get the real feel of it. I had heard from my friends that the EuRail is the cheapest option to travel in Europe, but I found out that the statement is true only if you have more than a month to travel, For a shorter time and for a solo traveler (EuRail gives couple discounts) the most inexpensive option to travel is by bus, and EuroLines buses were the best and most convenient for me.Planning:
Decidedly gritty and blatantly irreverent, Berlin is almost notorious for its reputation as the coolest city in the world. Berlin doesn't glitter with glamour like Paris or bustle with energy like London. Unlike other European capitals, Berlin is unpolished and understated and yet, an absolute delight.Getting around in BerlinCycling is one of the best ways to get around Berlin. The faultlessly maintained cycle lanes are easy to navigate, often segregated from pedestrians and are used by more than half a million Berliners everyday.The public transportation infrastructure includes the U-Bahn (underground trains), S-Bahn (hybrid underground and street level), trams and buses.
Well to start off about the solo trip.. Flying from india at 1 at mid night and reaching Moscow in transit wasn't too exciting except the smart air host who gave me dinner in btw the midnight! I had a transit halt in Moscow for three hours.. which somehow passed by in the excitement. Landing in Berlin was in itself an adventure.. landing on a new continent , all alone.. first time.. well.. the excitement was at its peak...Making a dramatic exit from the Berlin airport with all the tourist pamphlets.. I was ready to conquer the world!I was lucky enough to find someone known on the first day itself.. as I had just a day to be in Berlin. She came to pick me up at the airport , and we made our journey to the city, via s ban, bus, u ban ..walk.. and what not..we went to a local restaurant. If you are a vegetarian.. it would be a bit difficult but still managable.We made our journey to Berlin wall, main cannal to the city,city centre. I was lucky enough to find a college senior of mine in the same city, for whom we waited in Alexander Pia's and made our way to Berlin dome together.I dint have much time to explore Berlin as I had my bus to osnabruck where another adventure awaited me.. but in all a great day in BerlinTravel cost - 7.6 euro (one day card)Food- 3-4 euro( one meal)Visiting monuments- 7 euro min. ( Each ticket)
On our way to Leipzig, we had 5 hours to our next connection and we decide to explore the city. Owing to efficient public transportation and centrally located airports, 3~4 hours are enough to explore the highlights-1. Bellevue Palace2. Straße des 17 Juni3. Brandenburger Tor4. ReichstagsgebäudeStoring the Luggage
We travelled to Berlin with one of the local tourist company.It was 2 days trip over a weekend.
We travelled in 10 seater car and it was a road trip.Its 7 hrs drive.
We stayed in Holiday inn which was little outside the downtown.
Below are the sites we visited:
As it was guided tour our tour guide took us to every place and explained everything about the Berlin history.
Berlin has lot of history it would be really good if we have some good guide along with us.
Berlin was the capital of Nazi Germany and was air-raided 363 times during World War I. The Americans dropped 23,000 tons of bombs, and the British 45, 517 tons. Bombings continued relentlessly. By May 1945, nearly 14 percent of Berliners had fled the city.
Flew into Berlin Schöenefeld Airport from London Stansted. As students, public transport was obviously the way. Walking to the nearby subway station, there was a huge queue to buy tickets. There is no counter just three self service machines which only one would give change back. so finding exact change was horrific with one stall refusing to give us change.
After much confusion, we bought a ticket and headed into the City to our hotel.
Berlin, the capital city of Germany is one of the top three congress cities in the world and home to the famous Internationales Congress Centrum, one of the largest conference centers in the world. It has some of the best historic sights like the Berlin Wall, the Checkpoint Charli and the Reichstag building. The city also has a wonderful zoo, the oldest known zoo in Germany with over 1,500 species of animals and birds. Other notable tourist spots include the Pergamon Museum, the Gemaeldegalerie and the Gemaeldegalerie.
From elegant architecture to aromatic cafes, from magnificent palaces to dramatic operas, the city of Vienna portrays royal connection in it's every aspect. 'Wien' as they call in German is a hometown to famous Mozart and Beethoven.Though my short stint with the city was not enough to explore the musically and artistically pleasing capital of Austria, I really wanted to make best of it to see as much as I could.In Vienna, I ditched the expensive hotel rooms and choose to stay at Airbnb home-stays. It was homely, cozy and really cheap. Located in the heart of the city here's a glance of my room.Read More
From elegant architecture to aromatic cafes, from magnificent palaces to dramatic operas, the city of Vienna portrays royal connection in it's every aspect. 'Wien' as they call in German is a hometown to famous Mozart and Beethoven.Though my short stint with the city was not enough to explore the musically and artistically pleasing capital of Austria, I really wanted to make best of it to see as much as I could.In Vienna, I ditched the expensive hotel rooms and choose to stay at Airbnb home-stays. It was homely, cozy and really cheap. Located in the heart of the city here's a glance of my room.
1. Touchdown Vienna and begins the committed platonic relationship with 'Tourist Information Desk'. Our first encounter, a redhead lady (just her hair were read, keep that urban dictionary aside, please) at the desk. While struggling to understand the streets and the sub streets and the sub sub streets, I guess the travel desk lady understood our bewilderment and said, 'It's 5.50 pm, if you can wait for anothet 10 minutes, I will drop you to your accommodation. It's opposite the street where I live'. And the first whiff of the beautiful Veinna air.But wait a minute. We didn't know that 'I will drop you' means 'I will walk you'. This city walks and walks with stride of an athlete. Not surprised by the 'thigh gap' being a commoner's commodity here. So the redhead not only helped us with carrying the luggage (3 women. Don't expect us to travel light) but helped us give an insider's overview of Vienna. We were amazed at the humility and camaraderie of this woman whose name also we didn't know. This was our introduction to the level of trust for a stranger that the Europe exhibits.2. Are you from India?- Yes!Ah! Na'A'maste!Our three days in Vienna echoed with the above. It was amusing to see how people knew about nationalities and the local pleasantries of various nations. It somehow boosts your confidence of 'being known' and automatically creates a sense of belongingness. When after 'Na'A' maste' with a few too many, I asked a gentleman that how does he have so much knowledge about different nations of the world, their demography and their local pleasantries, he said:'It's the fear of Unknown that makes us susceptible to people around. Once we read, understand others, we know that it's just the geography which aparts us. In today's time and age, it's a must to read about /to know about different cultures, practices and traditions of the various nations. It's not the treaties that maketh a better world, it's the heart'.
PRO TIPS : Austria is always cold, even in summer, so keep a jacket in handy. Also, tender exact change because you dont want to end up with a lot coins at the end of the tour. You can avail city passes for each of the place from the tourist centres. These passes cover your public transport fare and offer free admission to certain places. The card is available for 24,48 or 72 hours.VIENNA
VIENNAI started the day by visiting the Musuemquartier followed by the Naschmarkt for lunch and finally proceeded towards the famous Belvedere Palace. Palaces in Vienna shut by 5-6 in the evening so make sure, to visit them before that. The palace has its own charm with a beautiful pond and lush gardens. I pretty much had a relaxed day, however you can surely take a walk around the streets of Vienna for more exploration.
New Years Eve BratislavaNew Years Day a very hungover group of us set off on the train to Vienna, the Capital of Austria. It appeared to be a charming city steeped in history, but in our post party haze we just couldn’t do it justice. This has been added to the list for a re-visit at some point when we’re feeling a little bit fresher!The rest of the trip was spent back in Bratislava sampling traditional Slovak food such as hearty meaty soups and stews with dumplings.FebruaryFebruary was a quiet month on the travel front, except for a cheeky girls trip to London to see Eddie Izzard for a friends birthday. Other than that it was full steam ahead with the planning and preparations for our big adventure. We began to think about how we were going to get to Cambodia, and more importantly we brainstormed and made some decisions on how we were going to fund the trip and what we would do with our house. Brainstorming to Travel, and Live and Work AbroadAndy completed a 120 hours TEFL Certificate, to enable him to teach English abroad. His YouTube Channel ‘GOING NOMAD…aka pigs on bikes’ was also born (his first vlog was a review of his TEFL course), and I began to create this blog.March
My trip was coming to an end and I was headed to the last stop in my itinerary - Vienna. I took a shuttle again from CK to get to Vienna. The drive from CK to Vienna was even better than the earlier drive from Salzburg to CK. We were mostly driving through countryside roads, and I really can't describe how scenic the drive was. I don't have pictures either; but there are few things which are best left to experience.The first look of Vienna, a city, was quite underwhelming. Honestly, I saw very little of Vienna. I guess I was a bit tired physically and Vienna really paled in comparison to all the natural beauty I had seen in the past few days.The little I saw however is in the pictures below.
Vienna at Austria was the next destination country. The countries are so small and the roads are so good that by half a day one crosses countries in Europe. Austria is famous for Skiing in the winters. There are lots of Ski resorts. This is also a country where one can hire self-driven sports car such as BMW / Audi / Merc at a very good price and go on a road trips for weeks. After reading, I have added to my bucket list. At Vienna, a stroll across the wooden bridge decorated with rich colorful flowers is refreshing especially in the evenings. A photo stop at the Kings' Palace which has an all Gold balcony is a center of attraction.
It was a trip to Austria in November 2016 for four days. She took a train from Frankfurt on November 24, 2016 at 4.40 a.m., changed at Salzburg towards Vienna. As she was riding on the train from Salzburg to Vienna, she was loving the rhythm. She was loving the freedom of being between two different places. She could see the wide and open plains from the window and for that moment, she knew where she was going only to be lost in a different land. She then understood why it feels good to be lost in the right direction.Day 1 was spent exploring the streets of Vienna, different world heritage sites like the Historic Centre of Vienna and Palace & Gardens of Schonbrunn and beautifully decorated Christmas Markets. Vienna is a beautiful city but what really made her happy was watching the Penguins in the World's first zoo at the Palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn. As they took baby steps and dived into the water, she smiled bright with her twinkling eyes just like the kid who loved watching Pingu on POGO channel. That moment she realized that it is the little things in life that makes one actually happy.After a day well spent collecting beautiful memories, she went back to her hostel Ruthensteiner. Now none of her previous trips excluded crazy pub crawls or wild drunken parties but this time, to her surprise, staying at the hostel and playing some Korean drinking games was so much fun. No matter how hard she tried to understand Tap Clap Talgi Talgi, she was terrible. And as per the tradition, she had to beg for the shot with both hands!
How to Reach: We took flight from Mumbai to Vienna with one stop over at Abu Dhabi (2.30 hrs) and from there we had arranged for a pick up from the airport.
Place to Stay: We stayed at Queens Apartment, located in Schönbrunner Straße . They have private furnished apartments with fully equipped kitchen and it is walking distance from the metro station. Safe and very neat & clean area to stay.
Places to Visit for Xmas Markets: Christmas Markets are a must see in vienna Rathausplatz,Stephenplatz,Schewenplataz,Danube River Side, Bermuda Triangle, Opera House, Museumplein, Schönbrunn Palace. Both trams number 1 and 2 loop Vienna's Inner
Stadt on the city's 'Ringstrasse', a collection of 8 streets and one quay. You can jump on anywhere on the ring in any direction.The round trip takes approximately 45 minutes and passes many of Vienna's most impressive buildings including the Rathaus (city hall), the Burgtheater (National Theater) and Parliament which is the seat of two federal assemblies.
Cheap Eats: Must try flavoured Mulled Wine or Gluhwein. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween. Frankfurter Würstel (vienna sausages) available in chicken, beef or pork. You can also try Bamboo Noodles or Wok Noodles and yes dont forget to drink bier when in Europe. Bermuda Triangle is the street where you will find places with different cuisines to eat and drink.
Retail Therapy: Mariahilfer Straße. Almost all major department stores can be found here selling clothes, leather goods, furniture and accessories, books and stationery. The Kärntner Strasse shopping streetand Landstraßer Hauptstraße in Vienna’s 3rd District share the capital’s second largest shopping streets.Located in Vienna’s 10th district, near the Südtiroler Platz, is the Favoritenstraße pedestrian area. Kolhmarkt located at Fifth Avenue here you will find all the luxury brand not be within the boundaries of a budget traveller.
Dresden was once called the “Florence on the Elbe” being one of Europe’s architectural and artistic highlights. However, much of it was bombed during WWII and much of the city was not much more than a rubble heap. On February 13, 1945, 800 British aircraft showered the city with 2,600 tons of bombs. The Americans followed the next morning with 300 Flying Fortress bombers. It is estimated that 25,000 people were killed, while 13 square miles of the historic city center were destroyed. With temperatures rising to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, the burning city was visible to pilots from 100 miles away. Dresden was a central hub for the Nazi’s and the city remained loyal to them, hence its destruction. Being Saturday evening, there was not much open other than restaurants and bars, but it was lovely seeing the city at this time of day. The streets were crowded with tourists and residents strolling and chatting in various languages. What struck us the most was that it was COLD. We both had liners under our coats, but we could have used gloves and scarves too. The outdoor restaurants all had their heatalators on to keep the hungry crowds warm enough to sit through a meal.
The first time I went to Bratislava, I didn’t have high expectations. After four days spent in this city - I had to admit - I was so pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t believe it! Bratislava is a gorgeous city, small and quiet but, at the same time, colorful and full of surprises. It has a very nice Old Town and a lot of historical places to visit, but also everything you need for your social activities. Well, you will see with your own eyes! :) Anyway, during your first visit to Bratislava there are 5 things to do that, in my opinion, will let your stay be more interesting.A visit to the Blue Church This teeny-tiny church is one of the most impressive things you will see in Bratislava. Officially named St. Elizabeth Church, like from a fairy tale it is completely blue: the facade, the mosaics, the majolicas, the interior, even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics. The church is an art nouveau building, built in the early 20th century, and it’s situated in a very nice area, in the eastern part of the Old Town of Bratislava. You absolutely have to visit the Blue Church, and don’t forget your camera: you will need it! :)Read More
The first time I went to Bratislava, I didn’t have high expectations. After four days spent in this city - I had to admit - I was so pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t believe it! Bratislava is a gorgeous city, small and quiet but, at the same time, colorful and full of surprises. It has a very nice Old Town and a lot of historical places to visit, but also everything you need for your social activities. Well, you will see with your own eyes! :) Anyway, during your first visit to Bratislava there are 5 things to do that, in my opinion, will let your stay be more interesting.A visit to the Blue Church This teeny-tiny church is one of the most impressive things you will see in Bratislava. Officially named St. Elizabeth Church, like from a fairy tale it is completely blue: the facade, the mosaics, the majolicas, the interior, even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics. The church is an art nouveau building, built in the early 20th century, and it’s situated in a very nice area, in the eastern part of the Old Town of Bratislava. You absolutely have to visit the Blue Church, and don’t forget your camera: you will need it! :)
Bratislava is simple old world charm. I can't stress how friendly and helpful the people are. They are simply waiting for you to ask them directions! While entering the city, the Brastislava Hrad (castle) is an imposing sight and the Old Town is enchanting. When backpacking in Europe alone, chuck other cities to definitely stop by Bratislava as it will welcome you with open arms.Getting around in BratislavaWalking around the Old Town is your best option. A good walk will get you all around the historic centre, main square and by lanes that are open for exploration. To get around the city, buses are the best bet. Tickets are available at magazine shops or most bus stops have a ticketing machine. Again, don't forget to punch in your ticket. While Slovakia uses the euro, it's much cheaper than other neighbouring countries.Accommodation in BratislavaThere are tons of good hostels near the Old Town and the Castle. A personal recommendation would be to stay in the hostels to get a feel of the pulse of the city. Other than that, Airbnbs and hotels are the usual options. Just remember that there are plenty of walks uphill and downhill so it will be easier on you if you're a bit fit.What to eat in BratislavaWhile most dishes have meat, carbs like potatoes, bread and noodles are staples. Dairy products are also very popular. When backpacking in Europe alone and you find yourself in the Slovakian capital, try the Bryndzové Halušky or potato dumplings that are similar to gnocchi served with sheep’s milk cheese. The goulash is also very popular which is a Hungarian specialty.
To start with it is nothing like Eurotrip - the movie showed it. It has a very beautiful old town area with a lot of history. It has been a city of prime importance in past. The castle gives the view of two countries!