Just been on the most epic Europe-trip going. Now what's that about teachers and school holidays..?
Hopefully I can sum it all up, but this might well end up being a rather mahoosive essay.
Sarah, Richard and I bought Interrail Cards (a little expensive straight off but the savings are ridiculous) and went for 6 countries and 11 cities in 10 days.
The first day was basically travelling from Frankfurt to Vienna. It took a while and wasn't the most thrilling journey ever, not going to lie, but it was good, we had a laugh and started filling the quotebook.
Our hostel was right next to the station, and the walls were orange. That is about all that can be said about it. We found an Italian where we had some gorgeous food and a yummy dessert aptly called Heiße Liebe.
The next day was spent in Vienna until that evening when it would be time for our train to Rome. Unfortunately it rained. A lot. But other than that we had quite a good day. We found shelter in an Australian bar where we had crocodile, kangaroo and ostrich from the 'barbie' and even grasshoppers. Nom nom. Afterwards we had a wander for a few hours and saw the cathedral, the palace and (our joint favourite moment of all time) a dancing tramp. Man, on box, with cape and crown, dad-dancing to "Daddy Cool". Beautiful.
The overnight train to Rome was definitely not comfortable, nor did we actually get much sleep, but it was so worth it. On the way, we shared a compartment with an Italian guy we named Luigi who drew animals with us and taught us Italian things, none of which we remembered.
We arrived in Italy and, first things first, had showers at the hostel, which was in a gorgeous old building in a piazza. Seeing as it was 40 degrees out we decided to have a wander down to the Colosseum. We had a tour inside, which was brilliant - actually cannot get over how big it is and how intact it all is considering it was built over 2000 years ago! Also, we had some cheeky photos taken with Roman soldiers…
Afterwards we all went on an open top bus tour of Rome that let us see lots of things that we wouldn't have had time to get to.
On the Wednesday we went to Vatican City where Sarah and I were possibly slightly too overjoyed to see the Pope doing Wednesday Mass. The only real way to avoid all the queues for everything was to pay to go on a tour, but I'm so glad we did - our tour guide was excellent. He knew everything there was to know and then some, and on top of that was absolutely hilarious. I learnt so much, it's just a shame I can't remember a lot of it. The tour took us through the Vatican Museum, and then to the Sistine Chapel - absolutely amazing - and then on to St. Peter's Basilica. Unfortunately after that, I'm never going to think 'ooo York Minster looks great'…
That afternoon we had a wander to Piazza Navona where we had dinner and proper Italian gelati - mmmmm - and then a quick wander round to the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. The fountain was really spectacular, and of course, we threw some money in over the shoulder.
The next day basically involved an early start and a long train up to Paris. We arrived at our hostel, having found a much-needed MacDo - really late in the evening and just went straight to sleep. We did however meet our dorm roomies who were two really nice girls from Spain. They'd already done and seen lots of things in Paris so they gave us a few tips on how to get to places and what was worth going to.
In our three days in Paris we went all over. We climbed the Eiffel Tower (cheaper than an elevator but I can see why people pay..) and visited the Louvre where we saw (name dropping, I know) theMona Lisa and the Venus di Milo, among many other wonderful paintings. In the end we didn't have time to visit Versailles like we wanted, but we did get to visit the Moulin Rouge (down the naughtiest street ever) the Sacré Coeur, the Eiffel Tower at night, the Arc de Triomphe and we even got to have our anticipated picnic by the Seine followed by a river boat tour of the city. On the boat we met two really cool ladies from Tennessee who chatted away and even invited us to stay with them if we ever ended up in America! Our trip to Paris ended with one of the best roast dinners going - Toby Carvery eat your heart out - and some really good macaroons!
Then it was time for the night-train to Zurich. We even got beds on this train. Score. But we did have to get up at half 5 to change trains in Basel and Geneva. Zurich, however, was pretty good and I think one of the surprises of the trip. We arrived having no clue what to do, found a nice man with a map (who didn't realise we were English - success of the year) and did a quick tour of the Alt Stadt by the river and then down to the lake. Conveniently this route passed by a café where we had the best Bratwurst and Rosti, some pretty cool shops and most of the chocolate shops in Switzerland.
Then it was back to Geneva for a steakhouse dinner and a hotel upgrade before exploring Geneva the next day. We managed to find the fountain and the lake and also Sarah and I had a scrumptious Swiss cheese fondue for lunch. I'll be lucky if I've not put on a stone after this trip! And finally the afternoon train back to Frankfurt.
Best moment of the trip: Swiss chocolate mousse muffin, sat, in awesome company, in the clothes we wore yesterday, on the floor, in front of the Savoy. Interrail ticket = € 180, cost of hostels = € 200, muffin = 5 SFr, the trip of my life = priceless.