This past week we had a week long break for Easter. In Germany students typically get breaks for Christian holidays due to the high number of Christians in Germany. I took advantage of this break to do some much-needed travel. Myself and four other IES Abroad students in my program traveled around Eastern Europe. We visited Budapest, and Kraków for a few days each, and then a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. We also had a 2-hour train layover in Vienna, but we were, unfortunately, unable to explore and leave the train station because of the late time, plus the rain. We did find a Wiener Schnitzel place to eat at though. Unfortunately, we couldn't find Apple strudels at the train station.
I had a lot of adventures during this trip and saw a lot of sights. A few things I recommend to all people traveling in general but especially if zou are on a budget are
1. Take buses and trains between locations this is a good idea because they are typically cheaper and allow you to see more cities. We took two buses one from Budapest to Bratislava and one from Bratislava to Vienna and it cost a total of 15 euros per person. Night trains are another good option for transit. We took a night train from Vienna to Kraków and I definitely will do that again if I have the opportunity. It wasn't too pricey and we didn't waste a full day. We also got a couchette/ bed thing, which was nice.
2. Free walking tours! Research if the city you are visiting has free walking tours. This is a nice option because it lets you get a bit of an idea about the city, and they typically give you advice at the end of the tour on restaurants, avoiding tourist traps, and more. We did these in both of the cities we stayed a few days in and both time I learned a lot about the city and saw a lot of things.
Airbnb is great. This is especially true if you are traveling with a group. My group had 5 people and we got a good deal on both of our Airbnb's, and the best part was that they had good locations so we didn't have to spend money on public transit at all while in the city. They also ended up being cheaper than if we got hostels. Another nice thing about Airbnb is that you get luxuries such as a kitchen and a washing machine. In both Kraków and Budapest, we cooked a few meals to save some money. We also did a few loads of laundry in Kraków which was nice.
This was an amazing trip and it made me fall in love with Eastern Europe and I definitely have the desire to return.
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Hey I am Claire, and I am from Des Moines, Iowa. I am studying International Relations, Russian, and German. I am a Midwestern girl who loves to travel, and I can’t wait to see what adventures are ahead this semester.