Our time was running out on our epic seventeen month odyssey, and with some family to meet in Belgium, it was time to make the penultimate journey of our overland adventure from Australia, and get from Budapest to Ghent in three days (with a quick stop in Vienna)…
The several hundred kilometer journey probably could have been completed in one go, but when the train went through Vienna anyways, it surely would have been a crime not to stop and at least try the cake in the Austrian capital. Checking into the last hostel room of the trip reasonably early in the day, we set off to see and do as many of the top choices as we could see in less than 24 hours… Cathedral…Check, Opera house…check, Klimt…check, schnitzel…check, CAKE… check, check, check.
Feeling pretty proud of our whistle-stop tour of Vienna, and going for a wander before our train later in the day, we accidentally stumbled into the largest free music festival in Europe (I say stumbled, it was pretty hard to miss the multitude of tents and stages on an island in the river). For us finding the festival was like hitting the jackpot, walking what seemed like miles up the island we came across all sorts of crazy bands, including one which made electronic sounding music by only using acoustic instruments (some of their own making), and their voices… they were also wearing skin-tight jump suits…Winning! With all the excitement we almost missed our train to Germany, but arrived with mere minutes to spare, and settle in for our last overnight train journey of the trip. All in a days work when you’re travelling around the world without a plane!
Bleary eyed we emerged into Cologne station to start what was probably the shortest time spent in any one country on our entire trip. With only a few hours in Germany we spent our time by mainly checking out the epic cathedral, eating currywurst (a favourite of Ryan’s) and by watching the constant stream of stag and hen party’s pouring out of the train station. Group after group in matching t-shirts or fancy dress wobbled towards the bars, singing german songs and drinking cans of beer, Cologne was like the Blackpool of Germany.
With our short time up, we hopped back onto another train bound for Belgium. We had a few days in the country which we spent between Brussels and Ghent, hanging out with Ella’s parents and mainly eating chocolate and waffles (sometimes even together). We spent our last nights on our epic trip not reflecting over the last 17 months, but watching the Glastonbury festival on TV to try and distract ourselves from the fact that it was all coming to an end… at least we had waffles to make it better.
So this is it.. almost the end.. with only one more short journey to make it back to the UK, will we make it without using a plane??
R & E