Austria, Czech Republic, Europe, France, Germany

Merci, Danke and Dekuji

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post for several days now but I haven’t access to reliable Internet until now. I’ve been backpacking around Europe the last week and a half with the boyfriend.

I’m writing this from the foyer of my hostel in Prague and the Internet is pretty slow, so no pictures in this post. But I’ve had such an amazing time on my trip that I wanted to share it with all of you. My trip started last Thursday (10 days ago, I guess). Ryan, my boyfriend, flew to London from Toronto on Aug. 25 and then we headed to Paris early the next morning.

Our flight was at 6 a.m. so we had to leave at 2 a.m. Even then we almost missed our coach bus to the airport, but luckily we ended up getting London’s most amazing taxi driver and he drove us to the door of the bus and then wouldn’t accept payment.
The plane ride wasn’t bad. I would definitely rank Easyjet above Ryanair for customer service.
In Paris, we stayed at a cheap “hotel” in the 12th arrondissement. The place wasn’t terrible but it was extremely dusty and I have bad allergies to dust, so I was sneezing all night. Ryan had never been to Paris, so we visited the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumphe and Napolean’s palace, but also had several picnics of baguette, wine and cheese. We’ve actually been eating a variation on this most of the trip and I would definitely recommend it as the way to eat in Europe.

After Paris, we took the TGV (Train a grand vitesse) to Saarbrucken, in the South-West of Germany and then went to the small town of Homburg (not to be confused with Hamburg in the North) to visit Ryan’s family.

It was definitely a nice break from grimy Paris. Our next stop was Vienna, and we took an overnight train from Saarbrucken to get there. The ride was actually pretty good. The seats folded down flat and we had a good size bed made of six of them, in our own little cabin. I have travelled overnight on buses and trains before and I would definitely rank this trip as my best. It’s amazing what being able to lie down flat can do.

In Vienna, we mainly wandered around taking pictures of pretty buildings and sipping wine/champagne in parks. For one of our lunches we sat on stairs above the Danube Canal and watched the tourist boats go by. Probably our best night out was at Flex, a club in an abandoned subway track. The atmosphere was cool, but there was smoking allowed in the club. We found that the main party was actually on the picnic benches outside, that overlooked the Danube Canal.

If you do go to Vienna, I would highly recommend staying at the Guesthouse Bakul in the 5th district. It was only about a 20 minute walk from the city centre (2 subway stops) and was extremely nice for the price. The Guesthouse is run by a young guy named Christian, who gives you his cellphone number and says you can call him 24 hours a day. I will definitely stay there a again if I’m back in Vienna.

The last stop of our travels is Prague. I must say I did not expect so many tourists in the city, but even so, it is my favourite stop of the trip. We arrived yesterday afternoon and spent the evening wandering around downtown and then sitting with other travellers in the pub in the hostel. (I’m staying at Sir Toby’s and would also highly recommend it.)

This morning we walked to the top of the Petrin observation tower and got some amazing views of the city. The tower costs 50 CZK (about 2 pounds or 2.40 euros) for students and includes an exhibit on Jara Cimrman, a fictional Czech character that has become a bit of a local hero.

I’m almost out of Internet time, but I’ll write again with pictures in a few days.