This year, following the example of my friend, my husband and I tried to travel around Europe on our own. And you know – we not only succeeded, we really liked it!
Unfortunately, I could not select photos for this review, because there are a lot of them. I can probably post it later. So far, one photo is from Helsinki.
Before describing the travel visa – we made a Schengen visa. In advance. We took on a trip minimum of things. Each of them had a backpack on their backs weighing about 7-8 kg. No bags. Hygiene items, underwear, spare clothes (2 sets for colder and hotter), small towel, spare shoes, camera fotik, notebook. This seems to be all. Maybe she forgot something.
The route of our trip: Yekaterinburg – St. Petersburg – Helsinki – Stockholm – London – Barcelona – Paris – Rome – Berlin – Prague – Moscow – Yekaterinburg.
We left by train to St. Petersburg on July 27, Friday. We returned on Sunday 26 August.
Petersburg – Helsinki. From from the Oktyabrskaya Hotel a bus leaves for Helsinki. Single ticket – 35 euros. They bought it through a St. Petersburg travel agency, which they found on the Internet. They arranged everything for us, then we just drove in and took it away. Payment for tickets were sent from Dhl… They also found a hotel in Helsinki via the Internet, there are many of them. You can choose according to the conditions and prices that suit you. We stayed at the hotel for two days Eurohostel at 9 Linnankatu Street (tel. 358-9-6220470). For two days they paid 70 euros for a kopeck piece. Eating in Helsinki is expensive. We were warned, so we took something from St. Petersburg in advance. We went to a coffee shop once a day. A cup of coffee – 2 euros. Sights can also be viewed on the internet. I will not describe this. We were in Helsinki for less than 3 days.
Helsinki – Stockholm. This way we sailed on a ferry Viking… Tickets for it were taken from the same agency as bus tickets from St. Petersburg to Helsinki. We booked the cheapest option – a four-berth cabin without a window. There were two more young men with us, a Finn. It turned out to be a great company – they whinnied like horses all the way. A ferry ticket for one person cost 30 euros. In Stockholm, you should definitely see the Old Town, Parliament (on weekdays in summer, admission is free, which we used), Town Hall (Nobel Prizes are awarded here), Royal Palace, Cathedral, National Art Museum, Ridarholm Church, Palace in Drottningholm with a Chinese pavilion … We even got tired of such active viewing of sights. But still we visited Skansen with residential buildings, a zoo and wonderful freshly baked buns and subway with interesting wall paintings. We lived in a youth hostel Af Chapman, Skeppsholmen, tel. (46-08) 463-22-66, www. stfchapman.com. Bed in a room for three -15 euros. Ate at cheap Arabian eateries with plastic tables and crockery serving vegetarian dishes. Lunch is worth 5-7 euros per person. You shouldn’t spend money on beer and any alcohol in general in Stockholm, as it is fabulously expensive here. On coffee – too, it is impossible to drink it – sour! By the way, this was very surprising. We were in Stockholm for 3 days.
Stockholm – London. We got to London by plane of a budget company Ryanair… The ticket price is 12 euros per person. Of course, we visited everything that is included in the mandatory program: Trafalgar Square, Parliament, Tower, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington Palace, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum. Be sure to visit English pubs! It is something! It is worth allocating finance for this! In general, the food turned out like this – the pubs of The Stockpot chain, Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi restaurants owned by immigrants. We lived in a boarding house Museum, 27 Montague Street WC1, metro Tottenham Court Road, tel. (44-207) 580-5360. Double room – 25 euros. We were in London for 4 days.
London – Barcelona. Again on a company plane Ryanair… The cost of one ticket is 17 euros. Our compulsory program included walks in the Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, the Sagrada Familia, the Guell Palace, the Picasso Museum. And in an arbitrary – port entertainment establishments. More visited Costa Brava, because really wanted to swim in the sea. We lived in the youth hostel Palan, Calle Palan, 6, tel. (34-81) 412-5080. A place in the room, including breakfast, costs 10 euros. We ate in fish restaurants on the waterfront (they serve freshly caught and cooked fish, terribly delicious!), In fast foods in the Spanish style of Tapasbar and Pans & Company. We spent 4 days in Barcelona.
Barcelona – Paris. Again on a company plane Ryanair… The cost of one ticket is 15 euros. We visited well-known places – Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral, Palais Royal, Pere Lachaise cemetery, Champs Elysees, Montmartre, Les Invalides, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Museum d’Orsay. We visited the swing club (an unforgettable experience!), And also the peep show in Pigalle Square (for those who like to pry). We lived, as always, in a youth hostel at the address: Opera, 11 Rue Therese, 1e, Metro Palais-Royal, tel. (33-01) 42-60-7723. The cost of a double room per day is 52 euros. You can dine inexpensively in student canteens. The largest of them is Bullier, not far from from the old station Palais-Royal, as well as cafes and restaurants in the Latin Quarter. Sometimes we just bought a baguette, cheese and a bottle of wine. We spent 4 days in Paris.
Paris – Rome. On a company plane Ryanair… The cost of one ticket is 5 euros. Lived in campsite Flaminio at: Via Flaminia, 821, Metro Flaminio, tel. (39-06) 333-2604. The cost of one seat is 10 euros per day. I liked Rome very much. Italians are just a miracle! I fell in love with them. We ate quite simply. Products from the central market in Plaza del Gazometro: Parmesan, Parma ham, wine for 2 euros a bottle, or pizza and pasta in any eatery – it will still be delicious. And be sure to ice cream – especially delicious is sold in a cafe near the entrance to the Vatican Museum. We visited the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Pantheon, the Colosseum and nearby ruins, the Trevi Fountain, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, where the Apostle Matthew is buried and the remains of a manger are kept. Rome, of course, is a whopper, a lump of history. Sometimes, when you come into contact with such an ancient history, you get goosebumps. We spent 4 busy days in Rome. Rome has conquered us.
Rome – Berlin. Hon an Easyjet aircraft for EUR 25 per person. Berlin, in general, is already somewhere quite close to us. Not quite an ordinary city – similar to our scoop and at the same time dissimilarity. Some districts are just like our cities. Looked Brandenburg Gate, Charlottenburg Palace, Reichstag, Pergamon Museum, Dahlem Museum, Botanical Garden, Zoo. Free program – Museum of Erotica and Museum of Gays. Funny places! And in the evenings clubs, clubs and more clubs! We left for Berlin for 3 days. Lived at the Hotel am Lehniner Platz. Double room – 57 euros. Not really cheap. We ate hearty Berlin sausages called wurst, which are cooked and sold in kiosks all over the place (from 1.5 to 3 euros), donner kebabs (2 euros) in the chain of cheap Turkish eateries Imbiss, sometimes dined for 2-3 euros in student canteens FU-Mensa I, II, III and IV.
Berlin – Prague. We got to Prague by bus Eurolines for 12 euros. The ticket can be booked on the website www…eurolines–pass…com… We visited a bunch of interesting places in Prague – St. Vitus Cathedral, Loreto Palace, Charles Bridge, Stare Mesto with a Town Hall with an outlandish astronomical clock, Old Royal Palace, Zlata Street, Prague Castle, Kampa Island (the most picturesque part of the Small City) with buildings, located right on the water, a magnificent park and the John Lennon Wall. And, of course, Czech breweries. We lived in the youth hostel Golden Sickle Hostel, Vodickova, 12, Praha 1. Bed in a room – 10 euros, free breakfast, internet and tea-coffee. Food in Prague is so cheap that even the most economical traveler can afford to dine in a decent restaurant. Average price of our dinner for two, including beer or house wine, 600-700 rubles in terms of our money. We also really liked the juicy fried sausages with ketchup or mustard sold in stalls on Wenceslas Square. Such deliciousness! We were in Prague for 3 days.
On August 26, we flew to Moscow, and then immediately to Yekaterinburg.
This is how our four-week voyage ended. Very intense, sometimes we were very tired. But our emotions and everything that we saw gave us an immeasurable amount of physical strength. I strongly advise everyone who is not afraid to travel without a permit!
By the way, about the tips. Probably, here’s what I want to clarify:
1. You can easily find bundles for flights on a cheap airline on the internet. Recommended – low cost (low cost airlines such as Ryanair) it is better to book one way. All European countries have their own low cost carriers. Each low cost has a main connecting airport. Not a bad site www.whichbudget.com/, it suggests a lot of links.
2. You should also take into account that the airline does not send or print tickets. You are given a reservation number, and you come to the airport with it. You go with your luggage to the plane on your own, there is no luggage belt. Seats on a first-come, first-served basis: whoever came to check-in earlier has the best seat. Luggage 20 kg per person or one bag weighing 20 kg. If you have 2 bags of 10 kg each, then you will be forced to pay extra.
3. Do not forget, the closer the departure date, the more expensive the ticket. Therefore, when planning your trip, book as early as possible. Better in one and a half to two or three months. When buying tickets on low cost airlines, remember that if the order is canceled, the cost of these tickets is not refundable.
4. Tickets to museums, amusement parks and other interesting tourist places – cost from 10-15 euros.
5. Air tickets can be bought online if you pay with a Visa card. Here are the sites – www.ryanair.com, www.easyjet.com, www.flybmi.com… My advice – upon obtaining a visa until they tell you for sure that they will issue a visa, do not buy tickets, because you can lose money.
6. If you are not satisfied with constant flights, then you can move on buses of the Eurolines company – www…eurolines–pass…com… The buses of this company connect many major European cities. It is more profitable to purchase not one-time tickets, but a travel card for 15 or 30 days. These passes allow you to travel around Europe with virtually no restrictions. In August 15 day pass cost 229 euros. We wanted to save time and see more cities. But the plus on buses is money savings.
7. Rooms in hotels and hostels can be booked in advance at www1.hotels.travel.ru, www.hotels.com, www.hotelbooking.com. Very useful sites. We really saved a lot of money on living!
The most important thing. For a month of travel to all cities, including everything, everything, everything (and a small amount of souvenirs), we spent 870 euros per person. True, here I did not include the train to St. Petersburg and the plane from Moscow. With our money, it turned out to be another 9500 rubles.
We got great pleasure from communicating with people. They are completely different there. We were ready to stay awake at night – we were ready to talk-talk-talk. Even in our terrible English. My whole world has changed after this trip. We have planned the next trip to Asia. I look forward to when this time will come. Everyone is NOT afraid to travel, pleasure, emotions, elation.