I spend three weeks travelling Europe by trains and bus with two friends and it was a really great experience. We went to Milan, Rome, Florence, Bled, Pula, Plitvice Lakes, Budapest, Prague and Berlin.
We went to Milan two days, one visiting the city and the other one doing the Expo Milano. The first day in Milan was rainy but we did a lot of sightseeing. The Duomo is huge and beautiful, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Sforza Castle and the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano are also nice. We spend the night in a bar called La Fontanella where we could drink beer in weird shaped glass (like a canon).
The Expo Milano was a disappointment. It was more than 130 countries presenting their own little restaurant with little to no connection to the theme. But we spend a good time, the thaï food was excellent, there was good live music at the Irish pavilion and some of the architecture was great.
Rome was gorgeous and huge. We spend three days, visiting the Vatican, the Roman forums, the Colosseum, the fountains and other places. It’s the most beautiful city we did. There are free fountains everywhere where you can fill up your bottle of water, that was really nice as it was hot in august.
Florence has also it’s charm. The Duomo is really beautiful and it’s a nice city with a lot of old buildings.
Bled was a really great surprise. The view from the castle is breathtaking, you can swim in the lake and it’s just perfect. It’s worth a detour. To go to Pula, our train was at 04:23 am so we spend the night at the train station (it was one of those old train station from ex-Yugoslavia, with only two directions possible. At 3 :20 some guy in shirt and short without shoes pops in and asks us a for directions but we couldn’t help him, it was a bit scary at first). At 4 :23 the train comes and we jump in. We sleep a bit, at 5 :20 a crowd of hundreds of teenagers comes in, it was surreal. One guy slept on the luggage rack for two hours.
Pula was a nice city with some old buildings from the romain period. The water was crystal clear and the food in Croatia was great, they have a nice meat plate with amazing potatoes and pepper sauce.
Plitvice Lakes was astounding. It’s a National Park of Croatia and it’s really well preserved. You can’t swim there but the views are well worth it.
Budapest has a very big Parliament. Their baths are the best : you can start at 20°C (68°F) and it ends at 100°(212°F) in a sauna. We spend some time at night in Szimpla Kert, a famous ruin pub and the atmosphere was cool. We went to the last day of the Sziget Festival, it’s the biggest European Festival and we saw Jose Gonzalez, Limp Bizkit, Milky Chance, C2C and Martin Garrix. Everything was great, Garrix was awesome (300 000 peoples for the end-show). I might go an entire week next year.
Prague is really beautiful but it was raining when we went. There are some nice clubs there and it’s cheap.
Berlin was also nice. We had a great brunch and went on visiting the East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag, Brandebourg Gate and the Jewish Memorial.
So we backpacked for three weeks. I used a Farpoint 40 from Osprey to travel lightly and it was perfect. One of my friend used a Kajka (75L) and he also liked it, even if it was heavy sometimes. I guess it depends on the person but I would recommend to travel lightly if you can. For sleeping, we booked Airbnb’s everywhere and we stumbled upon really great people and places. In Pula, we had access to a garden with fruits, there were some hammocks in Florence, the host in Prague was really nice and he just bought a guitar and then he showed us his creation when he was 12 years old : a little violin. In Rome, there was a big nice dog named Jackson. We spend on average 19 euros per night. We didn’t sleep in a bed 4 nights (night train from Milan to Rome, we had a one hour stop at Venice before visiting Villach for 6 hours by night between Florence and Bled, train from Bled to Pula at 4 :23 am, Bus from Pula to Plitvice at 5 :30 am so we decided it wasn’t worth a night in a bed).
Overall it was a great experience. Sadly, I forgot my Hubski stickers before going.
All photos were made by me using an Ixus 220 HS from Canon.