The Best Capital Cities I’ve Visited

Copenhagen

The starting place of my inter-railing adventure from Denmark to Switzerland, Copenhagen set the tone for what turned out to be a brilliant European journey. As most of my friends will tell you I will cycle or walk whenever its an option, especially in a busy city. Using public transport is a great way to save energy and feel like a local but I prefer being able to take my time, go off the beaten track and take way too many photos. Also its a great money saver if your on a budget!

 

Copenhagen is filled with students, bikes and friendly locals. The city far exceeded by expectations and everyone we met was incredibly helpful.  The only disappointment I had was the famous ‘Little Mermaid’ bronze statue. It was much smaller than I was expecting and it was engulfed by tourists. The city is very walkable and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to experience Scandinavian cuisine first hand.

As you would expect from a capital city, Copenhagen has great transport links. You can get a train over the famous bridge to Sweden, a boat to Germany or a flight to almost anywhere in Europe.

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Tokyo

Tokyo, another starting point of an adventure. This time my 2016 Japanese adventure. Our 24 day journey started and ended in Tokyo. Overall we spent 6 days in Tokyo, I could’ve happily spent 6 months here. Being so big I knew there was a potential of being overwhelmed, especially while still experiencing jet lag. But from the minute we landed at the airport I felt at home. The sheer size of Tokyo means it has a suburb offering something for everyone. Whether you want to spend your day walking around the beautiful parks or dressing up as your favourite anime character, theres a place to do that (and not be judged!).

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Like every city Tokyo has its flaws. Both me and Juna were disheartened by Akihabara. The district is know for its vibrant electronic stores and arcades. Although I did find the Japanese Harry Potter DVD’s I had been longing for, the shops didn’t hide their adult material and there was lots of it. Adult DVD’s and comics weren’t off limits, they could’ve easily been accessed by children. It made for an uncomfortable trip through the district’s shops. But in the almost month-long time I spent in Japan this was my only negative experience.

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The underground train system is intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, its an efficient, clean and relatively cheap way of getting around.And the nightlife in Tokyo is as eclectic as you can imagine. You can eat dinner at a robot restaurant, have drinks at a bar that fits only 5 people and then sing the night away at a Karaoke Bar.

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Juna at the Moomin Cafe

I am already planning my return to Tokyo and if you haven’t yet been now is the time! The country is gearing up for hosting the 2020 olympics, you can already feel the excitement and see the venues being constructed.

Budapest

Budapest happens to be the first place I travelled to with just my friends so it will always hold special memories. It was the first time we had held the responsibilities of having a successful trip; not loosing our passports, exchanging currency,  planning enough to keep us occupied without being so tired we walk around with our eyes shut.

Terri outside our ‘Happy Flat’ hostel

Budapest has a range of sights and a good nightlife which entices a lot of young (and older) visitors from around the world. From ruin bars and riding the tram to visiting the spa, you could spend a week just scratching the surface of what Budapest has to offer.

As a big fan of architecture I loved winding through the streets of Budapest and photographing the grand castles and decadent government buildings. The thermal spa is a must visit and if your looking to save your money theres great walks ending with brilliant panoramic views across the city. It was a very happy surprise that Budapest was so cheap, if you play your cards right you can eat dinner out for under £5. I really enjoyed my 4 days in Budapest and created a short film..

Feel free to recommend and comment your favourite Cities!

Snapshots of Eastern Europe

After performing so well when I was living in Bangladesh I chose to take my Olympus MJUII 35mm camera on my Eastern European Adventure. I loaded it up with Agfa 35mm colour film and took it everywhere with me..

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If you missed any of my posts from the 4 cities me and Emily visited you can check them out here:

72 hours in Budapest

36 hours in Bratislava 

48 hours in Krakow

72 hours in Prague 

72 Hours in Budapest

I am currently inter-railing around Eastern Europe so thought I’d put together a quick guide to each city I visit.

The trip didn’t get off to the best start as I missed the first city (Vienna) due to illness but I flew (along with 4 stag-do’s) to Budapest where I met my friend Emily to start our European adventure. Having visited Budapest for the first time around 4 years ago I was excited to return..

Day One

We woke up in our incredibly humid hostel around 9am, threw on some clothes and escaped to a bakery to get some air and food. From here we started our journey to the children’s railway- a railway run by children (?!).

Around 8km from the city centre it should’ve been a simple journey. But 4 trams, 1 cog railway and a bus later we found the station. We bought our train tickets from a boy no more than 12 years old and had a tickets checked by a girl who looked around 11 years old.

We went a few stops watching the beautiful snowy forests rush past the window as we gained altitude and then got off in what felt like the middle of nowhere. We slipped our way up an icy path through a forest to a chairlift. A chairlift that takes you down through the tree’s giving you a view across the entire city. It took at least 5 minutes giving us enough time to take some photos without dropping our cameras and soak in the view.

As the sun set we headed back into the centre of town to walk up to the citadella (some very grand statues) and along the Danube river to get some food.

Emily at a touch screen restaurant

A fully-packed first day but everything was well worth doing.

Day Two

As I drew the curtain back of my hostel bed I was greeted by a new arrival in our room. He proceeded to tell me and Emily how vodka is one the main components of the human body- 3 times in half an hour. Again we made a swift exit out our hostel to start the day. The first port of call was an old-school, Wes Anderson-style vernacular. It took us up slowly to the Hungary museum of art, an absolutely stunning building. Which we walked around the outside (the art was a bit modern for us) and then weaved our way through a village to Buda Castle. I had visited 4 years ago but it was just as jaw-dropping as it was before.

Knowing we wanted to try out the ruin bars in the evening we headed back to the hostel to have some rest and a shower, not before checking out the basilica and running around a Hungarian shopping centre looking for a toilet you don’t have to pay for.

As we are only in Budapest for a few days we decided to go for the most famous ruin bar. It’s made up of loads of quirky rooms, a mish-mash of items and variety of chairs (stools, signs, bathtubs..). After enjoying a few drinks we stumbled upon a music room. What first appeared to be a jazz band turned out to be an evening-long jam session where anyone can bring an instrument and swap out with another musician. It quickly turned into one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time and we even got to witness the most epic saxophone battle.

Day Three

The third day started slowly with some sore heads so we decided to spend our last day visiting the famous baths.

It’s just a 10 minute underground journey but it feels like you’re in a different city. Surrounded by grass, a frozen lake and huge statues it feels like a world away from the centre of Budapest.

We took many photos, had a walk and then entered into the baths. It was a great way to relax and warm up a bit. The baths were very busy but we never had any problem getting a seat in any of the them. After staying so long we looked like wrinkly raisins we decided it was for the best to go back to the hostel to pack our bags ready to check-out the next morning (and have a quick drink at our favourite ruin bar).

We are now on a train to Bratislava. The train is set out in cabins so we feel like we’re on our way to Hogwarts and have made many Harry Potter references much to the dismay of the fellow passengers in our cabin. I am really looking forward to Bratislava as I’ve never been before and have no idea what to expect!