RTW Diaries: Month One

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Holy crap, I've been traveling for a whole month already! There were times when it felt like it was going by very slowly. But now, looking back, I have no clue where the whole month went!

Since I'll be traveling for at least a few months on this trip, I've decided to do a little run-down after each one, telling you about some of the highlights and lowlights, as well as any other fun tidbits I can find to throw in.


Month One

Countries visited: 7 — The UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria

Cities visited: 9 — London, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Salzburg

Favorite big city: Berlin

Sometimes you just can't explain why you love something as much as you do. And this is exactly how I feel about Berlin. As soon as I stepped off the bus near Alexanderplatz, I could just tell that Berlin and I were going to get along. The city has a vibe about it that I immediately connected with, and I loved my 5 days there.

Berlin East Side Gallery

Favorite small city: Tie between Bruges and Cesky Krumlov

I've already written about beautiful Bruges, but Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic similarly charmed my socks off. I think it's because both of these towns were small enough to explore on foot, yet large enough to offer up some really cool things to do (like canal boat rides in Bruges and river rafting in Cesky Krumlov). I also spent time with some great Busabout buddies in both of these stops, which definitely helped me make awesome memories.

Cesky Krumlov

Most adventurous activity: River rafting

As mentioned above, you can go rafting on the Vltava River in Cesky Krumlov. I spent about 6 hours on the river (and at various riverside pubs) on a sunny Sunday afternoon. And it was perfect.

Cesky Krumlov

Weirdest place visited: The Bone Church

About an hour's train ride outside of Prague lies the town of Kutna Hora. And in that town is “the Bone Church.” Technically called the Sedlec Ossuary, this church is decorated on the inside with the bones of about 40,000 people. Creepy, but oh so cool.

Kutna Hora Bone Church

Best tour: Third Reich tour in Berlin

I did a few different tours in Berlin, but my favorite by far was a Third Reich tour with Insider Tour Berlin. The material was definitely heavy at times, but I learned SO MUCH about Berlin, Hitler, and Germany in the years leading up to, during, and after WWII. As a history nerd with a huge interest in WWII, I ate it all up.

Reichstag in Berlin

Most-anticipated stop: Salzburg

When I was a little girl, my favorite movies were “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music” — with a little “Mary Poppins” thrown in, too, for good measure. Because of how many times I've seen “The Sound of Music” (my poor grandpa; there were a few years where I made him watch it with me at least once a week), visiting Salzburg has always been high on my bucket list. This little Austrian town was probably one of my most-anticipated stops for that reason — and it did not disappoint.

Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg

Biggest let-down: Amsterdam

For whatever reason (and I have a few theories, which I'll share in a later post), I just did not click with Amsterdam. I tried really hard to love this beautiful city, but I left feeling rather ambivalent about it. I'm glad I saw it, but I'm not sure I'd ever bother to return to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam canal

Biggest challenge: Loneliness

I touched on this in my August newsletter (if you aren't signed up yet, do it now!), but my biggest challenge so far has been finding my travel groove and adjusting to being on my own again. I haven't really traveled solo since last summer — all of my trips since then have been in a group or with one other person. Adjusting back to traveling solo has been tough for me. While I enjoyed my time in London and Paris, I struggled during my downtime to enjoy myself. Using Busabout for transport this month has been great, though, because I've been able to meet some fantastic people and finally get back into my travel groove.

Most expensive city: Tie between London, Paris, and Amsterdam

Cheapest city: Prague and Cesky Krumlov (mostly because they aren't on the Euro)

Here are some other stats:

Flights: 1 (Pittsburgh to London)

Trains: 3 (Eurostar to Paris, and roundtrip from Prague to the Bone Church)

Buses: MANY — it's my main form of transportation this summer, thanks to Busabout

Money spent: Roughly $1200 USD (I haven't been keeping track as well as I should, and a lot of my accommodation and transportation costs have been covered, making this number actually quite low for a month in Europe.)

Splurges: 3 (A ticket to see Spamalot in London, a private room in Vienna, and a “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg)

Photos taken: 1,451

New things purchased: 2 (a scarf and a non-Apple European adapter, because I forgot mine at home)

Showers taken per day: Usually 2 — Europe doesn't seem to understand the value of air conditioning!

Berliner Dom

Where to next?

Month 2 will have me mainly exploring 2 countries: Italy and Greece.

In Italy, I will be visiting Venice, Rome, Florence, and the Cinque Terre before ending my Busabout trip in Nice. From Nice, I'll fly to Athens for 2 weeks in the Greek Islands with Intrepid Travel.

I cant wait for Month Two!

What's up on the blog?

I am sadly at least 2 weeks behind on the blog — meaning I have a TON to catch up on! Me falling behind has been due to a few things: bad/slow Internet at some hostels, me catching a cold that's going around, and the fact that I'm trying to get as much out of every destination as possible! I haven't quite struck the right work/travel balance yet, but I'm working on it.

In case YOU are a bit behind, too, here are some of the highlights I've written about so far:

And I think that's Month One wrapped up!



Let me know what you thought of this monthly report in the comments.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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57 Comments on “RTW Diaries: Month One

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  1. Loved this high level report and can’t wait to continue to follow you on your journey. I hope to do a RTW trip in a couple of years, so I am taking notes 🙂

      Great to hear! It’s certainly been a great adventure so far.

    I took me three or four trips to Amsterdam to finally get its charm (and I kept going back because of a few great friends who live there–not because I’m a glutton for punishment). I still don’t love it, and much prefer Utrecht to it, but at least I’ve grown an appreciation for it.

    Can’t wait to read about your next month of travels! And hopefully I’ll get to run into you somewhere around Europe, as I’ll be landing there on September 10th and will be there for a few months. (I think at least TBEX is a possibility?)

      I don’t think Amsterdam is a place that I will ever love. But I’d be willing to give it another chance someday.

      And yes, hopefully our paths will cross at some point!

    those were great highlights, too bad on Amsterdam, there’s a lot to see…I totally love Bruge also, it’s small and the canals are sweet and colorful!

      I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone truly disliking Bruges after visiting. It’s such an easy place to like.

    I’ve put off Berlin for far too long it seems, I must get there soon! I’m in Greece at the moment on the island of Thassos. It’s my 11th trip to the Greek Islands – I love it, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you get up to. Have fun in month two!

      Definitely get yourself to Berlin soon! It’s such a cool city.

    I don’t love Amsterdam either — too busy, too loud, too disorganized. But I really like smaller Dutch towns like Delft or Haarlem. All the Dutch goodness without the noise and hordes of tourists!

      I definitely need to check out some of those smaller towns!

    Loved reading about your first month! Seems like you’re having an amazing time and finally finding your groove. Can’t wait to hear all about month two!

      Yes, I’m definitely feeling happier and more excited about my upcoming plans. I can’t wait to see what month two brings, either!

    Wow – that’s a lot achieved in month one! I hope month two is just as exciting.

      I hope so, too! I’m sure it will be, though. I mean, Italy! And Greece!!

    What a month! I loved all your photos and posts so far and I can’t wait to see where your trip takes you next! Also, I can totally relate to how you felt about Amsterdam — I liked it alright, but it didn’t fascinate me as much as London, Paris, or Berlin did.

      Glad I’m not alone on feeling that way about Amsterdam! And thanks for reading along so far, Julika!

    how crazy is the bone church, it was a miserably hot day when I went a couple of years ago and the cooler inside while creepy was a welcome relief

      So crazy! But also so cool. I convinced a bunch of other people to go with me to find it (people who had never been on a train in Europe before!), and we all were glad we went.

    Great round up! Looks like a lovely trip! Love the photo of Amsterdam!

    Did you jump up and down the steps in Salzberg sing Do-Re-Mi? I bet you did!

      Haha I didn’t exactly jump up and down on them, but I WAS quite giddy roaming around the Mirabell Gardens and humming that song to myself!

    7 countries in a month. Wow… seems like a little hectic travelling in my opinion.

    The bone church looks really cool. Is there a history behind using bones and skulls to decorate the church?

      A little hectic, yes. But I’ve decided to make the most of the time I have! And, really, it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve stayed in a few places for 5 days, which has helped break it up nicely.

      As for the bone church, you’ll have to wait to read my post about it! 😉

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