When I was 18 years old I graduated high school. After 13 years of schooling, I was in no rush to start university and I felt a need to explore my surroundings through travel. So I bought a flight and an interrail pass and decided to explore Europe for a year.
1. London, England.The Ice Bar in London was amazing! I spent the whole night sipping cocktails out of glasses that were made of ice and got my tongue stuck to one too many ice sculptures.
2. Paris, France.
Out of all of the museums in Paris, this one takes the (chocolate) cake! The amount of detail in these sculptures were amazing. The museum also featured a chocolate war ship and a piano filled with macaroons. Delicious!
3. Berlin, Germany.I visited the Jewish Holocaust Memorial whilst on a free walking tour of Berlin. They also took us to Hitler’s bunker which was strangely situated at the back of an old lady’s flat. As the tour group passed her, she looked very nonchalant hanging up her washing. She must get it all the time!
4. Budapest, Hungary.The communal baths in Budapest truly capture the quirky nature of the Hungarian people. People from all walks of life go to soak in the baths or play in the whirl pools. As it turns to night, the chess boards are swapped with disco lights and the scene turns into a late night, alcohol-fuelled pool party.
5. Ios, Greece.As well as Ios being my favourite place to travel so far, I think this was my favourite travel experience ever! One night after going out clubbing, a few friends and I got lost on our way back to the hostel. Whilst trying to find our way back, we came across a paddock which seemed to be a local Greek man’s farm. Instead of carrying on home, we befriended two horses and a donkey. After only 20 minutes together, they trusted us enough to let us ride them!
6. Ibiza, SpainIbiza was exactly how the Vengaboys described it; we most definitely did have a party in the Mediterranean Sea! This was my first ever party boat experience and I learnt from the trip that alcohol counteracts the sunburn. (Song: Vengaboys – We’re going to Ibiza)
7. Dublin, Ireland.Whilst in Dublin, I graduated from the Guinness ‘Perfect Pint’ Academy! I did a tour of the brewery, drank 7 day old Guinness (the freshest you can drink it) and even enjoyed a pint on the roof bar which had 360 degree views of Dublin.
8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Amsterdam was one of my favourites. I rode bikes around the city, visited a number of cathedrals and admired the views of canals whilst eating traditional stroopwafel.
9. Prague, Czech Republic.Have you really backpacked around Europe if you haven’t done the infamous Prague Pub Crawl? I am surprised I am still alive in this photo. 500 Czech Crowns ($20) will get you a ticket to the pub crawl, a free shirt and an hour of unlimited drinks including absinthe shots! The night ends in a three story club that features a different genre of music on every level. So no matter what music you’re into, you have no excuse not to dance!
10. Venice, Italy.I got to explore the floating city of Venice! After a gondola ride and living off pizza and gelato for a week straight, I had never felt so Italian.
11. Santorini, Greece.Santorini was so naturally beautiful. One day we climbed to the top of a volcano and then swam in the refreshing hot springs that were warmed from the volcanic rock. Under the water, there was a thick layer of orange mud that people began to rub on their body, hoping it would act as a natural exfoliant. One lady even brushed her teeth with it!
12. Barcelona, Spain.My stomach still remembers Barcelona. I had a great time trying new foods and traditional dishes that I had not tried where I’m from in Sydney. The euro to Australian Dollar conversion around that time meant that I was having multiple plates of tapas and multiple jugs of sangria for only a few Aussie dollars!
13. Skopje, Macedonia.What better way to tackle a 12 hour train journey than meeting random backpackers on the train and staying up all night drinking? We decided to start a party carriage on our train journey to Macedonia.
14. Pula, Croatia.Pula was the epitome of relaxation. Although I had my month planned out with my unlimited interrail pass, I ended up extending my stay at least 3 times. Every day I would get up to get my train and accidentally fall onto a recliner chair near the pool where a mojito would accidentally fall into my hand. As much as I tried, I was unable to get up!
15. Liverpool, England.Liverpool in the Summer is quite an experience. One bit of sunshine and you see everyone cracking open beers and walking down the road with no shirts on! I attended the Matthew Street Festival which was a free event that featured famous tribute bands. Amy Housewine and the Antarctic Monkeys were definitely my favourites!
16. Belgrade, Serbia.I learnt a lot about the Serbian culture when I travelled to Belgrade. One of the shows that I visited featured children dancing in traditional clothing. I didn’t think this was out of the ordinary until the children would let out a high pitched noise every time the beat dropped. I then chatted with some locals who invited me to drink a traditional Serbian liquor. The shot was in a small glass bottle and I was told by the locals that you had to balance the lid on your nose whilst you did the shot!
17. Belfast, Northern Ireland.Never would I imagine myself standing on a rickety rope bridge that was 30 metres high above large, sharp rocks. But hey! When in Belfast, do as the locals do.
18. Interlaken, Switzerland.With my 30 days of unlimited train travel coming to an end, I decided to take an extended route through Switzerland into Interlaken. There’s nothing nicer than looking out the train window and being surrounded by the lush, green mountains of the Swiss countryside.
– Jennifer Lund.