In May 2014, just days after graduating from college, I arrived in Amsterdam and thus commenced my first Euro trip. This July, after two years on the continent, I set off on my second.
Image Credit: Annie Spratt (Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette)
A personal tour of Munich
After a night out, which began with a rowdy bar crawl and ended in the packed hostel bar, I woke up for my first full day in Munich a little later than I’d hoped. The late start meant my traveling companions and I missed the start of the free walking tour. Ordinarily that would have been a total bummer, but our new friend, Conner, who we’d met on the bar crawl and had attended the walking tour the previous day, half-jokingly offered to guide us. He was fantastic. Not only did Conner take us to all the important spots, but he recalled an impressive amount of German history! I’ve been on a lot of walking tours, but this one was the best—which is saying a lot considering our hangovers.
Not knowing anything about Slovenia
When I was planning this trip, I realized I had a few days to kill between Munich and meeting a friend in Stuttgart. I considered a slew of destinations including Switzerland, Greece and Italy, but in the end, I decided on Slovenia. For less than 20 euros, Taylor and I traveled from Munich to Ljubljana. The five-hour ride included a 20-minute stop at what has to be the most beautiful gas rest area in the world, located in the heart of the Julian Alps. I arrived knowing very little about the country but quickly fell in love. Between the rad feminist history in Ljubljana to the gorgeous nature in Bled, Slovenia turned out to be exactly our scene. Sometimes no travel prep is the best travel prep. Expectations often ruin a destination.
Shots at Sweet Memories
In June, I had the pleasure of hosting my friend, also named Alex, in Madrid. In July, he returned the favor in Stuttgart, Germany. We’ve been friends since sitting next to each other in eighth grade algebra. So, starting our night out at Sweet Memories seemed right. It was a total dive, complete with creepy old German men, and the bartender charged me 20 euros for three shots of knockoff Jägermeister. But, being with an old friend definitely made for a sweet memory.
Couch surfing in Krakow
After Stuttgart, my ever-faithful travel buddy, Taylor, and I parted ways. I was on my own and decided to couch surf. For me, it wasn’t about a free place to stay. Even my limited budget would have afforded a couple nights in one of Poland’s famously cheap hostels. I wanted the chance to discover the city from a local’s point of view and perhaps even make a new friend. Utilizing Couchsurfing, a social networking website that connects travelers with hosts, I met Maja and Anna. Not only did my hosts provide me with a place to stay and information about the city, but they also went out of their ways to include me in their plans. I left Krakow having made two new friends.
Berlin living up to its hype
The 11-hour bus ride from Krakow was an absolute nightmare (potholes, potholes, potholes), but I was willing to do whatever it took to get to Berlin. I’ve wanted to visit Berlin ever since I planned my first Euro trip, and although high expectations for a destination sometimes lead to disappointment, Berlin lived up to the hype. Famous for its music, dance and art scene, Berlin is known around the world for having a genuinely cool vibe. On my second day, I joined the Alternative Berlin walking tour. After three hours of learning about the city’s street art and graffiti culture, the tour ended at Yaam. It was there I got chatting with the guide and ended up having one of the best nights of my Euro trip. The sun was rising as I got back to my hostel.
Have you ever done a Euro trip? What were the best travel moments?