Just a couple days ago I got back from my four month excursion to Europe. It was an amazing experience, best time of my life. I was able to visit Ireland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, and Bosnia. So many great memories and experiences, it would be impossible to overview everything that happened. However, here are some lessons learned from Europe:
- Top three beers in Europe: Kartausenbräu, Augustiner, and lastly Hofbräuhaus München
- Peanut Butter is almost non-existent in Europe, bring your own supply
- Zip-lock bags are also non-existent in Europe, bring your own supply
- The EuroStar and EuroCity trains require a large ‘reservation’ (ie supplemental fee) in addition to the Eurail pass and fine you if you don’t have a reservation in addition to making you buy one
- Train route planning sites (DB Bahn and the like) as awesome as they are do not provide with all the possible options for cross country route planning. Always look at the country’s own train site for more connection options
- Beer is cheaper than water in Europe. If you want to save money and need water bring a water bottle and fill it up from a tap
- Hostels are awesome (Hostel World). Always get a dorm bed, you meet the coolest people and you save money!
- European’s in general are very friendly are willing to help you out and show you the secrets of the town. Don’t be afraid to roll up to a local hanging out on the street and ask him to show you around.
- Barry’s Gold Blend Irish Tea is the most incredible tea I have ever tasted
- Don’t waste time in Dublin if you go to Ireland, Galway or any small Irish town will treat you much better (check out Doulin)
- Old Bridge Gelato (outside the wall of the Vatican) has the best gelato in Italy
- Three helpful trip planners: The Backpacker, EuroTrip, and WikiTravel
One thing that I was amazed by was the European’s public transportation system. Buses were extremely cheap and well routed, round trip tickets between major cities ran less than 40 euro and local busses ran between 1-3 euro depending on the length of the journey (a two hour local bus trip would cost around 3 euro). The amazing part of the bus system was that locals pay about half of what we did! Trains were also cheap, regional train group passes were available in almost every country, one way trips ranged from 1-5 euro. Flights using Ryan Air or Aerlingus were also very affordable, 20-30 euro intercity plane tickets were very easy to obtain. I wish I could explore more of America but a bus ride from Philadelphia to Chicago will cost me around $300 and I have to ticket hunt for hours to get a round trip plane ticket that is cheaper. Oh well, I guess cars are the way to go in America.
I’m glad to be back and I’m enjoying getting back into programming and web-development!