My first half of the year has been nothing short of amazing. Everything seemed to have happened so fast. Now that I am back at home, it is hard to answer questions like ‘how was your exchange?’, ‘what was the best experience you had’ and ‘what was the craziest thing you did?’. It is not easy for me to let myself talk about my experiences in person. Travelling sounds like good conversation starter, but I feel that it should remain as such. Talking about travelling experience looks like showing off or bragging. What I would rather do, though, is to hear what has happened to you, my dear friends. On this blog, however, it is my space to share whatever I feel I want to share; free from judgements, even from my own.
When I entered the spring period during my exchange in Edinburgh, Scotland, I realised that many of my friends, who were also on their study abroad, had planned their trip out of the UK. I realised then that I was too preoccupied with my research and that I was spending too much time in the lab. I too had to think about making full use of the exchange period to go somewhere and see some parts of Europe myself. But, who should I ask to come along? How long should I travel? Would it be too long to travel with people that I only know for a few months? How much should I spend? Should I really travel or, spend time with my local friends instead?
Honestly, in the beginning, I had decided to ignore those questions. Instead, I thought to myself, what do I want to see that is the best of my interest? The first thing that came to mind was Auschwitz concentration camp. I have read and watched so much about it, and it was the right time to visit the camps where the Holocaust happened.
Then I had thought, when should I go?
There was Ed Sheeran concert in Glasgow that I’d bought the ticket a few months before. It felt right to leave Scotland straight after the show. It was on 17th April. I decided to buy a one-way ticket to Warsaw, Poland from Glasgow. So I did.
I had thought that I should reserve a week before the final exams to focus on studying. After tracking back the dates, it turned out that I had over three weeks to spare for travelling. This was Easter holiday, spring break, and -luckily for me- the first two weeks of the exam period (My first exam was in the third week). The cheapest ticket to fly back to Scotland in that week was from Rome, Italy. So I bought that ticket.
I remember thinking, I must be mad. How am I going to get myself from Poland to Italy? Well, I managed. I have had records of what I did during my (mostly) Eastern Europe adventures in pictures, videos and writings. And this is the start of my sharing for months to come about what I did during those wonderful weeks of travelling to 7 Countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy), and 12 Cities (Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Trieste, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome). I had also recorded how much I spent on accommodation (mainly hostels from the HostelWorld app) and transportation between cities.
Although I intended to have my budget at the minimum, the trip was not an extremely budget backpacking trip. I was still comfortable spending money on food and entertainment as personal expenditure. And though I stayed at hostels for my entire journey, I still chose 6 to 8-beded room at maximum for comfort too.
I am excited to share my Europe contents on this blog for the months to come!