I'm sure you all know, but just in case anyone doesn't, InterRail refers to a scheme by which you can get a rail pass for travelling in many countries in Europe. I believe it's called EuRail if you are living outwith the EU. You choose which ticket suits you best: we had a 22 day unlimited travel ticket but there are options to do, for example, 10 travel days out of 22. You can also choose a travel ticket for just one country, if you want to see somewhere extensively. Basically it's a very cost effective way to travel, and means you don't have to book tickets - though be careful, sometimes you do need to reserve seats.
The first part of our route was actually a little nonsensical. Vienna and Bratislava are the two closest capital cities in the world, so it would make sense to visit one after the other, right? Right, but being the clever people that we are, we booked flights to Vienna before realising we could fit Prague into our itinerary so instead we travelled from Vienna up to Prague and down to Bratislava. I would advise against this unnecessary extra travel time and start at Prague instead!
Anyway, we started in Vienna which I think was quite a nice place to ease ourselves into travelling again. Vienna is clean, safe and easy to navigate although quite expensive. We also stayed in the nicest hostel of our trip...which could have been a mistake, but I think it was nice to start out in a particularly comfy place.
|Sara's photo of the dorm|
|Eating dinner in the communal area beside the kitchen|
We stayed at the Wombat's Hostel at the Naschmarkt and it was really modern, had loads of facilites and the bedrooms were spacious with lockers big enough to fit our bags - perfect. Here we stayed in a girls dorm, I'm not sure why as we stayed in mixed dorms in other cities, but this is certainly something that is offered in a lot of hostels if you are nervous about that kind of thing.
The location was also ideal, right beside the lovely Naschmarkt market and only a few minutes walk from the Museum Quarter. I love a good foreign market, I think they can instantly make you feel more immersed in local life.
We arrived late afternoon, so explored the nearby area and had dinner in the market, and the following day explored more of the city sights. Vienna is a beautiful city with wonderful architecture, so just strolling around it is a pleasure.
|Museum Quartier - lots of museums and outside sitting areas|
|Sand sculpture in Museum Quartier|
|Austrian Parliament Building|
|Sneaking a look at the horses from the Spanish Riding School|
|St Stephen's Cathedral - these patterns are caused by lights, not the stained glass windows as I originally thought, but still beautiful|
|Prater - the Vienna funfair that's like a mini themepark|
|Some sort of sparkling wine concoctions - yes even Sara's red|
|Anca, our roommate and first travel buddy. I wish I'd got her contact details as she was a lovely girl|
We also took a trip to Schonbrunn Palace, which is a bit further out from the city centre. It was apparently modelled on Versailles, and at the time I had not been to Versailles so found Schonbrunn very impressive but having since visited its predecessor I can see that Versailles is in a whole different league! That said, the grounds are beautiful and we had a nice, if a bit too hot a day meandering around them.
|Having fun at the centre of the maze in the gardens|
After three days, it was finally time for our first train of the trip which took us to Prague, where on arrival we fittingly got to see Thomas the Tank Engine.
We had just one night in Prague, but got a night train the next day so had nearly two days to explore. Note: I am wearing a vest top in these photos but that was overly optimistic of me, it was not the warmest place we visited by a long shot.
On the first afternoon, we had a walk round the city. Prague is quite a good city just to wander in, partly because it is so busy, you don't even really need to look at a map you can just follow the crowds of tourists, particularly if you're heading to Charles Bridge.
|We happened to visit while a little market festival was going on in the main square|
|Rubbing the statues on the bridge|
We then headed across the river to Petrin Hill, where you can walk up this mini version of the Eiffel Tower and get a good view of the city.
One of my favourite finds in Prague was the John Lennon Wall. Initially started as a means for young Czechs to voice their grievances for the government, now the city allow the wall to be used for graffiti and its appearance continually changes. If you go now, it won't be the same wall that I saw, and I love that. Annoyingly, Sara and I didn't have a marker pen...so we did our best to make our mark with biro.
|"You're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it"|