We had planned to go four years ago, the summer I finished university, but nobody managed to save up enough or really commit to it, so when I was offered three months in Italy – working as an au pair for a family who lived in Finale Ligure – I took the chance and went. To my employers’ horror, I spent my days off on trains up and down the coast – and, once, went all the way to Milan – but it’s not quite the same.
We’ve been vaguely plotting to go ever since, but we’re finally actually doing it. Admittedly, the sale was a bust – you can only buy your ticket three months before starting, and we are going in the summer. But by the time we found that out, we’d already committed, if only to each other. So, after some vague discussion, we finally got down to some proper planning last weekend. After a few hours of sitting in my bed and plotting, we had changed our initial plan quite majorly, made a map, and got very excited.
We were looking for flights home from Budapest when one came up that offered us a whole day’s layover in Athens, for only a little more than a direct flight would’ve been. We jumped at the chance, and were thrilled when, a couple of days later, the price had gone down to just £66 each. Bargain! Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Time and again, a server error came up partway through booking, until there was nothing for it but to ask the airline. After a couple of days of trying different things to sort it out, we finally discovered the source of the problem: an error with a new system, which meant the prices showed up wrong, so didn’t connect with the booking system when it came to making a payment, and the actual prices were much higher. I was quite sad about it – a whole extra country, and a strange way of doing it, was a very attractive thought – but Lauren cheered me up by pointing out that we are still going to six countries on our trip, which is pretty damn good.
Due to timing, and Lauren having limited time off work, we’re doing the cheapest global pass option: five days of train travel within fifteen days, anywhere in Europe, which will be £164 each. Starting in Berlin just before my birthday, we’ll travel through The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary to finish in Budapest.
It’s big and scary and we’ve got a lot of planning to do still – we’ve booked one flight, to Berlin, but nothing else – and we’re going to have to get to grips with four different currencies and languages that neither of us speak, as well as carrying everything with us (that will be interesting). But it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong, and it will be worth it.
It’s going to be bloody brilliant.