Friday, April 29, 2011

Change For You

I'm going to attempt to do the impossible here.  I'm going to try and sum up my most recent backpacking adventure; Easter in Eastern-Central Europe.

The outskirts of Dresden, Germany.
My adventure began in Germany.  I have been through Germany several times now, and I can honestly say it is my favourite country that I've visited. The highlights of my passage through Germany include my single-serving friends Paula and John and hitch-hiking along the gorge from Dresden to Deciv (Czech Republic).

Hiking along in Deciv
A rarely seen view of Prague
After my epic adventure, I eventually arrived in Prague.  I adored this city because of its incredible views and sights.  I felt very welcomed by the Czech people, even though I can't say a bloody thing in their language, and I received smiles everywhere I went.  The currency currently used in the Czech Republic, the Czech Crown, is 1/26th of a Euro, and I didn't make a single purchase that was more than 100 Kc.  Not to mention that some really excellent beers have come out of this country, and that they are sold in a grocery store for 15-20 Kc per bottle (which is a half-litre).  Absolutely fantastic!
I next headed to Slovakia.  When I told people I was going there, most of them just asked "why??", and I started to regret the idea of going there.  But Bratislava was awesome! 

Bratislava -- the view from the top
I met some of the coolest people there, enjoyed the small-town feel (imagine finding that in a capital city!), and found myself partying with locals instead of with other tourists.
The city and the Danube
Rémi and I atop the mountain in Budapest
After Slovakia, I took a train into Hungary's nearby capital, Budapest, on the advice of a classmate, Christina.  Besides being constantly confused by the exchange rate, I loved Budapest through and through.  I met up with Rémi (a travel buddy from Bratislava) again, and we took it slowly in this city.  We enjoyed long breakfasts, taking our time in cafés, reading Baudelaire in the parks and seeing the many lovely buildings on both sides of this geographically-divided city.   On my last night in the city, we met up with an American girl, Kara, who was on vacation from her studies in Spain.  Together we went out on the town, stumbled across a karaoke bar, and spent the evening singing every ridiculous song we could in both English and Hungarian.

The famous Chain Bridge sparkling at night

Aidan, Liam and I in Vienna
My last stop this time around was Austria.  I was pretty worn out and not looking forward to the awkward process of making friends again, but I really lucked out in Vienna.  I met some of the most interesting and unique people possible, two of whom are officially my favourite single-serving friends to date.  If you ever have the chance to travel with these boys do it.  Together we took on the city of Vienna, seeing the "sights", frightening tourists, officiating a marriage ceremony and generally causing a ruckus.
One of Vienna's many "sights"

After an uneventful train ride back to Paris, I've fallen back into my normal routine of coffee-thesis-coffee-thesis.

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