Time for a big catch up! Stockholm – Uppsala weekend. It was so nice to see Sam from home, minus the chili sauce and snoose. As “initiation” into the Uppsala student residents, I was asked to try this rocket chili sauce. I had the tiniest amount, and trust me it burnt for a solid hour (even after sculling a litre of milk) thanks Sam, you’re a gem. That evening we attempted to share a bike into town it worked out quite well. I learnt all about the Uppsala ‘Nation’ history, which is essentially a whole lot of clubhouses. Now days, students continue the traditions turning these “clubhouses” into great venues for food and clubbing. It was very bizarre to be dancing to club beats in an old Victorian esk room with paintings. The next day, Sam and I took the train to Stockholm to meet up with my Karlstad friends. We visited the Stockholm Zoo, did the Stockholm pub-crawl, ate sushi, Mongolian BBQ, went shopping and topped the weekend off by visiting the Ice Bar. Stockholm is full of hipsters, is super expensive, but was worth it for sure. Also I have now seen a squirrel!
Now get ready for it, the big trip. Day 1, three Canadians, one American and one Aussie set off, and it starts of fantastically. We miss our 5.30am train to the airport! Luckily we accounted for our stuff up and still made it to the airport on time, after paying for a $120 AUS taxi ride. We arrived in Warsaw Poland, our first destination, have a lovely dinner and enjoyed the $1.50 AUS beers. We went home via the supermarket for breakfast food; everything was very cheap. Congratulations to anyone who picked Poland for exchange!
Day 2, we walked the old Jewish Ghetto walls, and then attended the Warsaw Pub crawl, what a night is all there is to say.
Day 3 we headed down to Krakow, Poland on a very hot train. We wandered about the old town square markets and I enjoyed a huge Polish Sausage for dinner with fresh bread, literally the biggest loafs of bread in history for sure!
Day 4 it was time to visit the infamous Auschwitz Concentration camps. This was an incredible experience. I was frightened by the entirety of the experience. There were rooms filled with children’s toys, prosthetic legs, a room filled with 2 tones of human hair, a room filled with glasses. It was such a shocking place. These camps were primarily death camps; there was a single doctor upon arrival who either said left or right as soon as you got off the train. He did this with a glance, if you went right, it was straight to the “showers”, in actual fact the gas chambers. 1,100,000 recorded people died there. A reason on the record given by one German Nazi, was listening to an International Radio Station. Something I do on a daily basis. The day didn’t end too well for me. I got really sick with a temperature, so the overnight train to Prague was hellish. I felt extremely guilty about complaining the entire time, due to the sights I witnessed previously that day.
Prague, round two was nice and relaxed. We stayed in the same hostel I did the first time, so it was super easy to get my bearings. We took a taxi to the hostel as we arrived so early. He didn’t have enough seats, instead of ordering a maxi taxi, he asked us to share a seat… that is saying something about the road rules. I went to the Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali expo in the Prague Gallery that was awesome. I had an early night whilst the rest of the group went on the Prague pub-crawl. I’m really glad I stayed in; it helped a lot with getting over the cold.
Day 6, we started the morning with a trip to the Prague Castle, which I absolutely love, it’s so beautiful. Then we got back on a train to Vienna. We met up with a group member’s friend in Vienna, who showed us the best places in town.
Day 7 we hired bikes to view the city. Bike riding around Europe never gets old; it is honestly the best way to see everything. However in Vienna it was pretty hectic. When there are no bike lanes, you go on the main road with the cars, wearing no helmets (sorry mum). Luckily Selim knew where we were going and knew the rules, it was still terrifying nonetheless. He took us to the biggest on water trampolines in the world, which was great fun. Also great cardio, 10 minutes was definitely all you needed. That evening we had dinner and I also found Vegemite in a random bar, worth the seven Euros for sure.
Day 8 we met up with Broden, a friend from back in Wollongong, who took us to a camping store to collect tents for Oktoberfest. Broden was an absolute legend in organizing a huge group to get together in Munich. In the afternoon we went to one of the many castles and then to Prater Amusement Park where Broden and I kicked off the Oktoberfest festivities -Vienna version. Probably not the smartest idea, as I then had to get on to an overnight bus ride to Munich, Germany!
Day 9 we arrived in Munich at 5am, a lot earlier than we expected to. We found a hostel where a lovely lady let us use their baggage room, and little did they know we also used their shower facilities. We then spent the day finding camping gear, food, alcohol, lederhosen and dirndls!! We found the campsite that afternoon with all our gear, set up, had some drinks with the group, and hit the hay. A good third of the group was from Wollongong, so it was great to catch up.
Day 10 woke at 9am and we went straight to Oktoberfest in our traditional outfits. No luck getting a table in the beer halls, so instead we spent the day eating. I had multiple Bratwurst (sausages) and the biggest pretzel you have ever laid eyes on.
Day 11 we were up by 5am, and ready and waiting in line by 7am. We managed to get a table for the entire group! We kept tally on our arms with pens as to how many beers we consumed. I found 4 on my arm that evening, which means 4L of beer that day. Definitely can say I did Oktoberfest to the best of my ability. Unfortunately we did have to leave that evening for Berlin on an overnight bus, so we paid late check out and slept in our tents for a couple of hours before saying our goodbyes. Just a fun fact we slept three people in a two-man tent, it was tight, and also freezing as we cheaped out and didn’t buy sleeping bags or floor mats. Oktoberfest was an event never to be forgotten that’s for sure.
Day 12 we arrived in Berlin and walk to a group member’s friend’s apartment looking like absolute death, we smelt of sweat and beer. It would have been a sight to see at 5am. We slept until 10am, shower, have breakfast in a funky little café, walk the east side gallery (Berlin wall) and then catch multiple buses to find an abandoned amusement park. After spending half our day finding the place, we come to a 3-meter obstacle in our way, with signs all over it saying you may loose limbs from the dogs. I wasn’t giving up, so I climbed the fence, cut my hand open, but got to explore the creepy old park… It was completely worth it. Such a cool place to visit in Berlin. There were multiple groups inside the park, so we all had the same idea. However when we heard dogs barking my heart did stop a little.
Day 13 was travel home day. We arrived at the Berlin airport, get through the most layed back security of all time, they ask to see the jar in my bag. It was the Vegemite, they all take a smell, swear and laugh in German and then say I can keep it, as they don’t want it because it smells so bad. Offended my childhood just a tad. We then find our flight was delayed which meant we knew we would miss our connecting train in Oslo. Funnily enough when we arrived in Oslo, the train too had been delayed due to a power outage. The gods were working in our favour. Daniel even caught up with us after collecting his checked luggage. The group was on the train and on route to Karlstad. An announcement came over detailing we would be stationary for a further hour and a half, so Lyndsay and I get off to go to the Station supermarket to collect food for everyone. We arrive back at the Platform after 10 minutes only to find that the train had left without us. That was including all of our luggage, my passport, my handbag and the rest of our group. After a brief moment of panic, we find the train ticket machine… No more trains that night. I then click to see the next available train; a message pops up “this machine is temporarily unavailable”. Great what else can happen? We find the bus station; a bus was leaving for Karlstad in 30 minutes. We then laughed and ate all the peanut butter sandwiches! Making it home at 10pm that night to a shower and my bed. Today I went grocery shopping, did laundry, went to class and booked tickets as we leave for Ireland in 10 days. To conclude this epic blog post I just want to point out I’m not an alcoholic, merely on holidays in Europe!