Wow. I have been having the absolute best time with Ricki traveling throughout Europe. Before I start a small synopsis of my travels, I want to give a huge shout-out to all of my traveling friends I have made along the way. You’ve made the cities crazy fun and I hope you all continue your adventures with God’s speed and safety.
Budapest: I definitely have a place in my heart for this city. Ricky and I weren’t even sure what there was there but I knew it would be a fun time so we booked three nights there. However if we would have not booked all of our hostels already there’s a strong chance we would still be there. It is such a fun and crazy beautiful city (plus beer is like 50 cents).
On our way to Budapest from Prague an old classmate, Tyler, hit me up on Facebook informing me that he was also in Budapest. So obviously we had to meet up! What are the odds out of a class of 39 kids that 2 of them are in the same country across the world at the same time. He showed Ricki and I ruined bars which are actual buildings that are falling apart and deserted so people fix them up enough to turn them into a bar. It was crazy cool. Ricky got some sweet photos of them so stay tuned.
Quick sidenote on photos: We haven’t had much success finding a computer/internet that Ricky and transfer photos over. But hopefully we’ll find a place tomorrow.
Budapest’s Parliament building is my favorite building I’ve ever seen. I was completely stunned the first time I saw it on the size and the incredible architecture. Over the three days we were there we mainly just walked the city a bunch visiting markets, a bath house, and both sides of Budapest (one side of the river is Buda and the other is Pest).
Our hostel had activities every day so we participated in an open mic night (I sang I’m Yours) and did a boat cruise. Both were so much fun and I met some crazy fun people. In fact, I met 3 people from Wisconsin and 2 from Minnesota. Crazy small world. Two of the Midwesterns were traveling to Vienna for the next stop and didn’t have a place booked yet. We exchanged info and actually stayed with them and traveled the city together! Ben and Nate were some quality people and we had a ton of fun seeing Vienna.
Below is one of the best meals I’ve had. It was a family style dinner and we got cabbage, crisps, a big ole pork knuckle, and some fried potatoes dish.
Vienna didn’t have much of a night life, but it sure had some sweet buildings. We explored a bunch of cathedrals including St. Stephen’s and St. Michael’s.
Our next stop was supposed to be Venice with an easy five hour train ride. So we got to the station and asked the receptionist to get us some tickets. We have the Eurail pass so she said we can just get on the train going to Hamburg on platform 7. So we got on that exact train without having a doubt that we were going the complete opposite direction. I sat down in the train car and had a funny suspicion that we were going to the wrong location and I was right. So a very nice Austrian man looked up the possible route for us to take to actually get to Venice.
It was a bummer that we took 12 hours traveling but we did get to see a great deal more of Austria and northern France that was truly breathtaking. Rikki and I both agreed that we are going to come back and buy some motorcycles and see more of the area. I tried to take some pictures from the train but they don’t do it justice like most of the pictures I have taken.
We finally arrived to our “glamping ground” (glamour camping) in Venice and it was pretty terrible. The tent got extremely hot at about 8am, you had to pay for wifi and it was a haul to get to the city centre. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed exploring the expensive city of Venice. We bought a 2 day transportation pass that included waterbuses, that was so cool! We would purposely take them even if it was quicker or easier to walk. Venice had the least efficient public transportation but it was still decent.
We had to search for the best and cheapest gelato while in Italy. I don’t recall a place that really stuck out but it was all yummy and much needed in the 90 degree days.
Our next stop was Florence where we booked four nights for some reason. Ricky and I are still not entirely sure why we decided to stay in Italy so long, but it was a great time regardless. We definitely took it easier for the week we were there.
We got up Leonardo Da Vinci’s workshop that was pretty neat but geared more for younger kids (see what I did there?).
We also obviously had to eat as much pizza as we could as well. I didn’t eat pizza for a good 3 weeks so I was itching for a slice and it was all so good. I think I ate a pizza every day minus one being in Italy.
There are statues everywhere in Italy, Florence especially though. I loved seeing ones that I actually recognized.
The second glamping grounds was so much better and had a sweet common area right next to Piazzale Michelangelo which was another beautiful lookout of the city. We hit the town with some new friends and played a lot of card games (holla Cooper, Abe, and Conrad).
After Florence was Rome. We stayed in a very nice glamping ground that even had a pool. We hung out with our Aussie roommate and her friends both nights that was filled with delicious Italian wine and a Toga party!
Sidenote: Italian wine is dirt cheap. I first got a bottle for €1.50 but decided to not be such a penny pincher and got €4 that was so yummy.
Ricky and I checked out the Colosseum which was stellar. I really want to rewatch Gladiator again now.
We also checked out other old ruins around like the Palatine. We ran out of time to see the Roman Forum. We also didn’t get to see the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican either, but that just means I’ll have to come back some day!
The building below, Piazza Venezia, was another building that made my jaw drop. That was impressive to see and walk through.
Our last stop was the Vatican City today. We went to St. Peter’s Basilica but that was all we really had time for due to some insanely long lines.
We got the pleasure of walking up 551 stairs to the top, getting a stellar view of the city and a closer look at the inner some.
I am truly blessed to be able to travel some of Europe with my best friend after we have been talking about doing this trip for six years. We have certainly had some hiccups in our travel plans, but nothing that hasn’t worked itself out. They actually pretty much all been for the better for the most part.
We only have 4 nights left before we head back. We are in the airport right now about to board a plane to Barcelona for three nights and Madrid for our last. It’s crazy that I’ll have been in Europe for exactly five months when I leave. I’m obviously sad and going to be culture shocked for awhile but I’m excited to get back, finish a year of school and see where I end up.