So, this Spring break, I got to go to 5 different countries in 11 days. Was it worth it? Absolutely yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely not. Traveling was all I wanted to do, but it never occurred to me how many hardships come with traveling and how much more I would want to stay in a country. So here’s the crazy trek I took: London→Dublin→Belfast→Berlin→Prague→Paris→London.
Now here’s a summary of some tips if you decide to visit any of these countries!
1.) Dublin, Ireland
One of my favorite countries ever—it’s super beautiful, the people are some of the kindest I’ve met, and might I add, good looking as well!
→Take the Wild Wicklow & Glendalough Tour! It’s affordable, has a professional, guide, comfy coach bus, and an Irish Whiskey tasting! You get to tour famous scenes from P.S. I Love You, Leap Year, and Braveheart. Everywhere is absolutely breaktaking! Here’s one of my favorite spots: Lough Tay.
2.) Belfast, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is actually UK territory, and therefore uses the pound, but has it’s own bank notes. Here, the accent gets thicker and the humor, rougher. But, they are all still very kind people!
→Take the Game of Thrones Tour if you’re a fan like me, and take it even if you’ve never watched it! Belfast is home to Castle Black and multiple scenes in the hit TV show! Many locals have played extras in the show, and my guide was a Wildling! I recommend this tour because it takes you on beautiful sights shown in the show, but also famous spots such as the Carrick-a-Rede bridge and Giant’s Causeway. Here’s the view from the daunting rope bridge:
3.) Berlin, Germany
From Belfast, we took a train back down to Dublin, stayed up all night, and catched a flight out to Berlin. Flying out of Belfast airport is significantly more expensive, so this was our option on a budget. However, only attempt this feat if you can power through the next day! The 3 other girls I went with slept in the entire 1st day (out of 2 days) away!
→Go to the Jewish Museum. It is an experience you cannot miss! There is student discounts at every museum you go to, so bring your student card everywhere! Also, account for at least 3 hours there. This is a large, immersive, and interactive museum. Certain installments (I won’t ruin it) left me with a strange, connected feeling to this dark past.
→Food you MUST eat:
Veal schnitzel, goulash, and Döner from Mustafa Gemüse Kebab. You won’t regret it.
4.) Prague, Czech Republic
From Berlin, we took a 4 1/2 hour train down to Prague. Let me warn you: their trains are very different. Its compartmentalized into room of 6 or sleeping rooms with beds. Your ticket will give you a number to the part of the train to go to and what seat number you are with. Yes, you will be facing strangers. Don’t bother asking the attendants, they will tell you the wrong way and if you mention it, they’ll just tell you to go the other way. Also, when arriving in Prague, jot down basic lines in Czech, at least enough to get you from point A to point B. Take Uber instead of a taxi. Taxis will cheat you.
→Go to the astronomical clock tower in Old Town Square, and buy a ticket up to the top to get a breathtaking view of the entire city! You can see the Prague castle in the distance. Also, walk the Charles bridge and see if you can spot a local religious good-luck ritual people do with the images on the bridge!
→Food you MUST eat:
Everything at Vinohradský Parlament restaurant. It has a modern take on traditional Czech food. It is absolutely delicious, service is wonderful, and the Czech krones are weak against the dollar. The 4 of us split 6 dishes, 4 desserts and a round of drinks with tip for less that $20!
5.) Paris, France
We flew out from Prague to Paris on EasyJet. Something to note if you take an EasyJet flight: you only get 1 bag to carry-on with you. Not a carry-on + a backpack. Just 1 bag. We did not know that and had to get one of our bags checked-in. This normally would have cost us almost $50 to do, but luckily they let us off. In Paris, get a Paris visitor pass. Zones 1-3 is all you need to get around the city. Getting zones 1-5 includes Disneyland, Versailles, and other farther out spots.
→Spend a full day at Versailles! It’s beautiful and the gardens will take you forever to wander in, especially if you’re walking and not taking the golf cart. However, don’t make the mistake of getting the tour package like I did (or even the “VIP Skip-the-Lines” pass). There’s no special treatment or lines but you pay triple the price. Just go and really take your time passing through each room and every grove of the garden! Then end the day with the creepy Catacombs where hundreds of bones are buried underneath the city! Make sure you line up at least 1 1/2 hours before their cutoff time so you can get in! We barely made it in when we came early.
Hope this helps any fellow travelers! I can’t wait to return and spend more time in each country!