#OrangeTravels: Europe Recap

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Okay I’ll admit it, I’m a slow blogger. My intention when I first blogging my big backpacking trip last summer was to go city by city and detail everything. Let’s get real, it’s already been over a full year and I’ve only covered a third of my trip and at this rate, it’ll take my another couple years to complete this project. Which is why I’m just going to do one BIG photo recap of my trip here instead. Yay for recaps!

So from June 8 – August 27, I travelled to: Hong Kong, London, Lisbon, Lagos, Porto, Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Rome, Budapest, Venice, Florence, Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Frankfurt.

You can read about Hong Kong to Rome in detail in my previous posts, I’ll be starting from Budapest.

BUDAPEST…

To be honest, I was drunk about 90% of the time I was in Budapest so it’s a bit of a haze and also why I don’t have any pictures. BUT, it was one my favourite places to party, at my hostel, Carpe Noctem Vitae (recommend!!), I met all of Ireland and went to these crazy hot bath parties. One word: Szechenyi. 

VENICE/ BURANO…

I always imagined Venice to be this super romantic city where lovers go. What I found were stressful, narrow walkways where everyone’s touching you and a city whored out to tourism. Similar to Rome, I couldn’t identify what ‘authentic’ Venice culture was like, or if it even existed anymore. It couldn’t have also been the Generator hostel I stayed at, which I wouldn’t recommend since it’s not on the main island and it’s atmosphere wasn’t great for meeting people. The main highlight of my trip was going about an hour outside of Venice to the island of Burano where all the houses are painted different colours. One thing I noticed about Venice is there were no cars! All transit was done by boat and since I was too cheap to pay for a gondola ride so I bought a transit pass and took a ‘communal gondola’ ride around the island for an hour. Super romantic, I know.

FLORENCE/ PISA…

#Sorrynotsorry for doing a cliche Pisa Leaning Tower pose. I feel so lucky that I got to see such a beautiful city in the pissing rain, I guess that’s something that not everyone gets to say. Thankfully, Florence is known for their grand churches and museums which we spend most of the time exploring. I stayed at PLUS Florence which is a hotel disguised as a hostel. Wasn’t the greatest for meeting people but luckily there were a couple Columbian guys in my room who were pretty awesome so I hang out with them for most of my trip.

NICE/ CANNES/ MARSEILLE…

I actually have zero photos from Nice. I don’t remember much of the city cause I wasn’t ever really in it sober. All I remember were their uncomfortable stone beaches and rainbow monk-shaped lights that decorated the city centre.

Cannes was about an hour or so outside of Nice and was a place where ultra rich people park their super yachts and celebrities come for the Cannes festival/ awards. During this time, I met Darren, an Australian mate who convinced me to go with him to Marseille and try Coachsurfing. Only instead of finding a host via the website, we showed up a Coachsurfing meet-up on the beach and mingled with the local hosts until one offered to take us home. Our host Lionel was a French student who lived in a tiny 200 sq. feet apartment yet offered to house both Darren and I. Next day he took us to a hidden beach where locals went which was amazing! The main beach was overflowing with tourists so it was so nice to get the local experience with Lionel. Honestly, while the experience was a bit scary, I would so do it again. In return for Lionel’s hospitality, we cooked the starving Philosophy student a nice hearty breakfast!

PARIS…

Ah, Paris! This city was exactly as I had imaged, minus the bed bugs of course. Yea.. shit happens. But besides that, I stayed at Oops Design Hostel (NOT recommended, pretty positive that’s where I got my b.bugs) and met a French girl who has some local Parisian friends going to a train party that night. What’s that you ask? Basically about 400 people show up outside of the train station with copious amounts of liquor (most of which was already inside their bellies) and a couple boomboxes. We took over an entire train and rocked out like it was 1999, it was mad dope!

Of course I did the other Paris attractions including visiting the Palace of Versailles (that Chandelier room.. *swooooon*), eating giant macarons, get spooked in the Catacombs, go to the love lock bridge, crowding to see Mona-fucking-Lisa, and picnic at the Eiffel Tower. And as the cherry on top, I even got a kiss from my lover under the Eiffel Tower at midnight. I’ll be back, Paris. <3

BRUSSELS…

Beer. Check.
Waffles. Check.
Chocolate. Check.
Peeing Boy Statue. Check.

AMSTERDAM…

All the fun was had in Amsterdam! While my stay at MEININGER was terrible for all sorts of reasons, I spent most of my time catching up with friends I had met back in Madrid, Granada, Nice and Vancouver! Amsterdam is such a free-spirited, vibrant city. Of all the places I’ve visited, I see myself living here the most. The Dutch have so much love for the arts and culture and one week was not enough to explore it all, I barely scratched the surface.

BERLIN…

Berlin was nuts. I can’t even count how many times I had a “what the fuck” moment. Tips for maximizing your stay in Berlin: Stay at JETPAK Alternative in Kreuzberg, rent a bike, and replace “why” with “why the fuck not”. An innocent looking kebab shop turns into a rave party at 4am, why the fuck not. Go dancing at Suicide Circus where you can enter Friday night and leave Monday morning, why the fuck not. Oh Berlin, you crazy double rainbow city, you have my heart.

PRAGUE…

In my experience, your hostel can make or break your experience of that city. In this case, Hostel One Home just put all other hostels to shame. That is all. #Squad

VIENNA… 

Like my writing in this blog post, by the time I reached Vienna I was so exhausted. It was the second to last city before I returned home. I spend my final days chilling out at parks, reflecting on the past 3 months at the parks and occasionally shedding a tear or two because my adventure was coming to an end (for now). The feels man, they’ll get you.

FRANKFURT…

I arrived in Frankfurt late at night and my flight was in the morning so there wasn’t much time to do anything. Around the corner from the hostel was an Irish pub and I just knew, for my last meal I needed to have a Guinness with Guinness Strew. Yummy yum yum in my tum.

VANCOUVER!

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And that’s all folks! Three months just flew by. I’m itching to go travelling again. I know for sure next year I’ll be travelling again but to where exactly is up in the air. My original plans was Japan and SE Asia but with Nimi’s wedding date not being set, I may find myself in Europe again! And depending on finances, who knows, maybe I’ll do it all and make 2016 a big year of #OrangeTravels.

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