Last week was reading week for all university students in France, which inevitably meant I went travelling instead of getting a head start on all my assignments.
My friends and I decided to visit Prague, Vienna and Budapest. 3 cities in 5 days was not a good idea. Especially because we refused to use public transit and walked for 9 hours each day trying to see everything there is to see in the city. We were completely exhausted by day 3, but persevered and climbed the hills at Budapest. Twice.
Seeing the actual windows where the defenestration of Prague occurred at Prague Castle was amazing. I had vowed to see it with my own eyes when I learned about it in my grade 11 world history class. 4 years later, it was surreal to stand next to it and look out at the steep drop below.
The first thing I noticed about Vienna was how clean it was. I did not have to look down at my steps every few minutes for fear that I might step in dog poop (I’m judging you, Paris). The second was how white the buildings are. The aerial view shows a much more colourful Vienna than at street-level. The contrast is big when I was so used to the pastel-coloured buildings in Prague.
Biggest tip I can give about Budapest is to wait to exchange your currency until you are in city proper. There are currency exchange stores everywhere, and their rates are extraordinarily good. Do not exchange your currency at the train station or the airport, I learned the hard way how much of a rip-off that was (1 euro was worth 310 forint in city center, while it was only worth 240 forint at the train station. You do the math).
As tiring as the trip was, I had an amazing time. With only 6 weeks left in my exchange, this is probably my last outside-of-France trip, and it is well worth it.