When an opportunity to see Eastern Europe's three most beautiful cities on a budget come up, you don't ignore it—or at least I simply couldn't! The International Student Network at Universiteit van Amsterdam offers an annual trip to Prague, Budapest, and Vienna over the Easter weekend in April, and when I saw the price, I couldn't resist signing up. I signed up, however, knowing very little other than the locations, the dates, and the price. The trip that resulted was like nothing I've ever experienced before. I'll admit, upon hearing that we'd be traveling between each city by bus for 9 to 15 hours per trip, I shouldn't have been surprised. But I was. Despite the cramped, long, and often unpleasant traveling between the cities, the trip itself was really special. We began in Prague, where we explored the Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, the various Synogagues, the John Lennon Wall, and Prague Castle. We feasted on Czech sausages, chimney cakes (SO many chimney cakes), local beers, and other street foods. After two days in the Czech Republic, we moved on to Budapest. In Budapest, our hostel was centrally located by the Bascilica, and being Easter weekend, we were treated to beautiful music flooding from the church's doors each morning. We took a ride on the Budapest Eye ferris wheel, admired the parliment building, and stumbled through the famous ruin bars. We crossed the Chain Bridge from Buda to Pest, where we unwound in the famous Gellert baths and wandered through the castles. After a glorious three days, we set off for Vienna. Unfortunately, it was Easter Monday, so many main attractions were closed for the holiday. We still made our own fun, though, as we visited Saint Peter's church, tasted treats at an Easter market, and partook in the Viennese tradition of having afternoon coffee and cake. I'll admit, by the end of our day in Vienna, I was anxious to get home to Amsterdam. As we boarded the bus for our 15-hour bus ride home, I realized I had endured (and enjoyed) a trip much longer, fuller, and more exhausting than one I had ever taken before. And for that, I'm proud of myself.
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<p>I'm a dancer-writer-photographer-coffee addict whose favorite store is Goodwill. You'll likely find me singing (badly) to Broadway tunes, napping, or taking pictures of my cat (son), Zorro.</p>