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backpacking in Bratislava

Vienna and Slovakia: Backpacking in Europe (w 1)

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My first week has past being abroad and I thought it would be a good idea to write about my travels.

Where I have been, where I’m heading and what I do? Maybe that’s something that would be awesome to read by the people who land on this page and for myself as well…to read it afterwards. This is my first solo travel experence.

What can you Expect from this weekly blog?

You can get some good tips and tricks about destinations and solo backpacking overall or maybe you just like to read about adventures. Or next time you know more about planning a backpacking trip. So yeah, I plan to write about my travels weekly. So be ready!

St. Charles Church is truly a beauty

Let’s start from the beginning

My journey started right in the middle of Vienna airport.

How to get to the city centre? On foot, it was too far away… So I needed transportation. Tried to find the cheapest option (I’m a student so I’m a budget traveller). Asked different people about what is the best and cheapest way to Vienna city centre. I was directed to the metro, to train and to the bus. So I was a little bit lost and then by accident, I randomly found a bus and I thought that is good and cheap transport to use. After I met my host and it turned out it was pretty expensive (8 euros). Because there were cheaper options (good start with my budget travelling).

Nevertheless, I made it to the city centre and then I found out that my mobile internet didn’t work (lucky me). So I had to find my host family without internet. But thank god I was clever in Estonia. I downloaded the offline Vienna map from Google maps. I knew my host address and with an offline map, it was easy to find my place to stay.

Couchsurfing? A great way to travel on a budget

Then I had my first experience with Couchsurfing (CS). It’s a place where random people host (mostly) travellers in their homes. Travellers can see how the locals live and they can show some secret places what only locals know. Also, everybody has some fun stories to tell and overall it’s one of the best experience you can have while travelling. To see the local life and to meet new people. One of the backpacking apps, that everybody should download!

A view to Donau from Devin castle
A view to Donau from Devin castle

I stayed there for two nights and I saw so many places. Like Rathaus, Wiener Staatsoper, Hofburg Wien, Schlosh Schönbrunn, Prater amusement park and many many more. We did the whole city tour on foot and within two days we walked about 40 kilometres. To put in city description to one sentence I have to say Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities I ever have seen. You have to see it with your own eye. You can easily take a thousand photos from the city. There is so many architecture and ancient buildings. Funny thing is that they don’t need to build any houses around the city centre, but they do need to renovate those.

Last day in Vienna…

In the last morning in Vienna, we did a little jogging tour (about 9km) and we saw the city even more. It’s a good idea to jog and look around in the city at the same time. In overall, Vienna and my first experience with CS were super nice. I am so happy with my first hosts. Thank you, Karim and Annemari. 

At the same night, I went with my Spanish friend Javier, who also stayed in the same CS place in Vienna to Bratislava. With an hour and 5 euros poorer we made it there by bus. We wanted to experience CS again, but this time we didn’t have any luck. It was too last-minute call. So we used another option – hostel. We did find a decent hostel near to the old town and with heavy breakfast included. My budget backpacking trip started well.

Welcome to Bratislava

We walked from the bus station to the old town, (which wasn’t in the city centre), thanks to that we saw what real Bratislava looked liked. From the outside of the centre, buildings looked like from the movie Eurotrip (if you know what I’m talking about 😉 ). Actually, it wasn’t that bad at all but still didn’t reached the level of Vienna. The city centre is very beautiful, with many medieval buildings, it has its own special niche.

Bratislava suburbs

My Birthday

On my birthday we took (together with Javier) a small walk (12 km) to Devin Castle. This castle was built in Moravian ages in the 13th century and it has a rich history. It was blown up in Napoleonic wars in 1809. So we only saw ruins, but it was clear for us, that it was one powerful castle hundreds of years ago. There are also amazing views of the Danube river. (Worth of taking the 12km hike for sure). 

In the evening we went with to see a little bit of Bratislava nightlife. It was lively and everybody enjoyed the amazing night.

Parting ways

Next day we went separated ways with my Spanish travel buddy. He went on to Budapest and I stayed in Bratislava for one more night. This time I had a chance to experience CS again. This time I was at Alan’s place. He’s was from UK, he knew some great places to visit.

So I did a little hike to Kamzik hill and back there I had a chance to enjoy great views of the city. Even the road that went to that mountain (I did shortcut) was (at the beginning) muddy and with no certain road at all. Nope, I didn’t get lost and I reached the top. Again, I walked about 20 km, I am already used with it. Luckily, I wasn’t Manchester United fan, otherwise, I should have to sleep on the balcony (Alan is from Liverpool). 

Me and my friend Javi

Last day of the week and in Bratislava I found my sports gear, I went for a run, little swim and did some exercise. Unfortunately, I didn’t found any free bike, so I didn’t have a chance to do full triathlon, too bad. After breakfast, I searched for the places to go next and I found a small place on the map, Nitra. Before departing I took the last tour in Bratislava, explored Slavin memorial and then I went on the bus to go to the Nitra. Here it’s cheap to travel by bus. It was only 4 euros. 

The first expression was, damn there is nothing to see. Everywhere I looked I saw old buildings, there seemed to be no life. Obviously, I didn’t do any research before, because as always city centres are looking good. Many churches, Nitra Castle what offered amazing views to the whole city and to the cute city centre. All the basic corners were explored within a couple of hours. One of the benefits of solo travel is that you will find new awesome random places with a bit spontaneity.

I tried again to find a host with CS, but again it was last minute call. Thinked about wild camping. But I did find a decent hostel with a heavy breakfast. 

So where to go next? That’s a good question!

My goal here in Slovakia is to discover Tatra mountains. Which way or which places I am going to visit before my goal destination in Slovakia? How I am going to move around? When I will hitchhike for the first time? As I said previously I don’t make plans ahead, so I even don’t know where I end up tomorrow. We are going to see that next week. 

Stay tuned! 😉

Check out my other Travel Stories


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