We spent New Year’s Day sleeping (mainly) and then enjoying a walk along the canal from the Reichstag building toward Alexanderplatz. Sadly, we only got to enjoy Leah’s company for the one evening and she jetted off on New Year’s Day, leaving us headed for the bars and restaurants of Prenzlauerberg where we hungrily gobbled up carbs at a local Italian restaurant.
On Friday it was time to journey onward so we loaded our bags with German baked goodies and begun the wintery train trip to the Czech capital – Prague. Owen and I hauled up in Hogwarts Express-esque train cabins before being booted out by people who had actually booked seats, so took to the pull down seats in the corridors for several games of dice as the decorated buildings and countryside rushed by. In a carriage further down the train, Yous gained some well-needed political education from three Americans spending a year at Oxford.
In Prague we stayed in a cool apartment at the Czech Inn hostel. It’s got a great basement bar and the size of the apartment makes it a nice option for groups. We explored the beautiful Old Town, found the best hot chocolate ever and sampled expert cocktails at Anonymous: one of the coolest bars in town. Excellent chat kept us consistently entertained: we spent every evening digging deep into topics from the meaning of life to vegetarianism over drinks, intercepted occasionally by a rowdy card game. I was reminded that some of the most special and memorable travel experiences are those you share with the people you love.
On the 5th day of our trip it was time to bid farewell to Yous and for Owen and I to take the final train journey from Prague to Budapest. We passed hundreds of miles of snow-covered fields, past icy lakes and thick, tree-filled forests where smoke billowed from huts in the woods and reindeer grazed, their giant antlers carving lines in the snow. The highlight was most definitely the old school buffet cart where we sat on the red velvet chairs and ordered tea and soup.
Hungary’s capital was a whirlwind of fantastic architecture, cheap food and great bars : try ETAP for amazing service and delicious Hungarian wines. We used Airbnb and paid £30 a night for this pad, unbelievably cheap. After a week of travels it was time to head back to the warmer climates of London, grateful for quality time spent with great friends enjoying new experiences.