What a stellar past 5 days. I’ve met so many great people and seen a large variety of cities and landscapes. The best part is, I have only seen half of the countries I’m going to!
Before I recap on the last few eventful days I would like to put on the table that even though I have been taking lots of pictures, Ricky has finally made it over and has a phenomenal camera and has been taking some golden pics of the the cities and conveniently I get to be the model for some as well. So there are going to be hundreds of high quality photos coming as soon as Ricky files up his cards and has to buy a cord to transfer them over to the computer. So far he has taken about 1200 pictures, about 500 being duplicates. At that rate, I would give the picture upload about 2 more days.
I left Spain for Belgium where I was meeting a friend, Brenton to show me around a bit. I arrived into Brussels and walked around the city centre then left for Ghent where he was living. He was still at work so I dropped my pack off and explored the city. My phone was about to die so after walking around for a while, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: try some famous Belgium beer and charge my phone. I met a bartender named Pablo who was very talkative and initiated some good craic right away. I asked for beer suggestions, some history of Belgium and (what I found most interesting) the three official languages of Belgium: Dutch, French, and German.
I was unsuccessful in charging my phone at the bar and anywhere I’m Belgium, but my new friend Pablo invited me to go to a different bar with him to meet some of his friends. I agreed and we had some more great conversation exchanging stories and laughing.
Sidenote: Delirium was my favorite Belgium beer by far. But you have to be a bit mindful when drinking Belgium beers because their alcohol content is usually 8% or higher.
We met his friends at the new bar when I realized I needed to figure out where the hell I was to get back to Brenton. I charged my phone enough to let Brenton know I’d be late and I made friends and then I got a map of how to get back by Pablo’s friend.
I celebrated Brenton’s birthday with some more drinks and then headed out for Paris the next morning to meet Ricky.
I had about six hours to kill before Ricky got to Paris so I picked a point about an hour from the train station and just started walking. I’d stop if I saw something cool and just wander towards it. That’s how I got to the Norte Dame Cathedral, I saw it in the distance and said to myself “damn that’s cool. I gotta check that out”.
I ended up journaling in a park in Luxemborg for a few hours, enjoying the French accent all around and just loving life. Ricky finally arrived and we had some dinner, checked into the hostel then headed to the Eiffel Tower where I did some expert haggling on wine. The tower was neat but prettier in the evening when lit up in my opinion.
We met two cool girls staying in our hostel that evening then headed out to the train station for Berlin the next morning. On the train, we sat by an awesome German girl who we talked to for almost a full four hours until we arrived at her stop.
We arrived in Berlin, checked into our hostel and got some food but called it for the night. The next day we headed to the center and went to all of the main attractions. Berlin was certainly a cool city, though it has a great deal of sad history which took away from my enjoyment a bit. Below is the memorial to the murdered Jews in the Holocaust and the Berlin Wall.
The next day we left for Prague (Praha). Neither one of us really had an idea of what to expect when we arrived. Praha was picked back in December when Rikki and I were planning this trip due to a sunset picture of Praha I saw the morning before and I am so glad I did pick it. Both Ricky and I fell in love with the city.
We arrived and had a little hiccup trying to figure out the currency that is Kurona’s. Czechia doesn’t use cents, it just goes up from 1. So a beer was about 50 (roughly €2) and a meal could be 300. Once we got some quid out from the ATM, we headed for some food.
We met two English guys at a pub and hung out with them for a solid evening. The next morning we rented some bikes and explored the city. Might have been a poor choice due to the heavy rain and Praha being extremely hilling as well as being almost entirely cobblestone roads. Still had a grand time.
We went to Praha Castle were we were absolutely stunned. It’s the largest castle in the world and it is truly magnificent. Rikki and I stopped multiple times throughout our walking (as well as throughout the city) where we would just stare for a bit. The cathedral in the castle has some of the most realistic and detailed stain glass work I’ve ever seen. It was incredible.
We went to a few more places in the city like the John Lennon Wall as shown below. Ricky and separated when I went to a park to check out the city from another angle and see a rose garden on the top of the hill. On my walk down I met three other travelers, two from Spain and one from Finland. We instantly hit it off and when we ventured down the park hill, they invited me to come drink but I said I had to get some food first. This is where Ricky and I experienced the best meal we’ve had. Top five meals for sure. It was a ramen burger and I know for a fact I will attempt to make it as soon as I get back stateside. I also tried some hot (mulled) wine and it was equally fantastic.
We met up with our new friends after dinner and had yet another class evening.
I’m on a train to Budapest at the moment and will be there for the next three days then to Vienna for two and down to Italy for about a week.
Current lessons from this trip: Prague isn’t the best city to rent bikes at and definitely look into flying around over trains. They’ll be close to the same cost but certainly less time.