One day we were chit chatting and suddenly Vesi said : “Lets go to Czech Republic!” Lately I don’t need much convincing to say “yes” to anything and that’s how we started making plans. First – Brno, where we can stay at Vesi’s aunt’s place, then Kutna hora (to see the famous bone church) and at last – Viena, to visit her cousin. Those of you who have geographical knowledge, will wonder why we do such a strange tour, but we had our reason. Without going in details, I will say that we were depending on the free time of the hosts and the opening hours of the sights we wanted to visit.
The idea was born in January, but we knew that other commitments would not allow us to make it happen by mid-April. So we had enough time to plan everything and most of all – to find the cheapest way to make this trip. Now when Im back home I can surely say one thing – when you’re on the road, things never go quite as planned . But maybe that’s the best part of every trip – the idea that anything can happen.
First we had to think about the transportation. From Sofia to Brno we decided to use the services of bus company Yunionivkoni. Regular ticket – 115 Leva. If you are willing to travel on last seats, you can save 50% of the price. The journey was expected to last not more than 16 hours, so we were totally okay with traveling on the last seats. From Vienna to Sofia we found cheap tickets for 90 leva (the low-cost company FlyNIKI). So, total of 150 leva (around 75 euro) for both ways. Hitchhiking would it be our main transportation during the trip. Accommodation in Brno and Vienna was assured.
In Prague, we decided to try couchsurfing. In fact, except that we wanted to find the cheapest way to travel, Vesi and me were determined to seize every opportunity to try something different and adventurous, thats why we never thought about hostel. Couchsurfing and hitchhiking are things that are connected to our travel philosophy and with no hesitation we began to send request to hosts in Prague. Although we wanted adventure, we couldn’t leave the things to the chance. Therefore, we did some preparation before departure. I read a bunch of materials (mostly in wikitravel), to know the prices of tickets and opening hours of sights, we want to visit. We found information about the traditional cuisine in the Czech Republic and Austria. Print a bunch of cards – for the sights, the metro, the tram lines.
Since we were traveling with low cost airlines and we had to take only hand luggage, we bought two of those plastic bags to put small bottles of shampoo and toothpaste in them. I got my firs backpack – Tashev, Vihren 40, 40L. ! It took maybe a month to choose it, as I was trying to find a universal size for each trip – neither too small nor too large. It had to fit the size for hand luggage, as I often have to fly with them. Two weeks before the trip I found the perfect one and I went to the shop. I was just about to take out my money to pay for it and the seller said that it has already been paid. It turned out that secretly behind my back Vesi and two friends decided to make a surprise for my birthday, which was on the next day. It was amazing surprise!
We also checked the weather forecast several times. Yet, it turned out that we were totally not prepared. This is one of the things I have never learned – what kind of clothes to take when I go in a foreign country.
Week before the trip, after a lot of declined couhsurfing requests, we found our host in Prague – Matej. Student like us, inviting us to sleep on the floor in his room in the dorms. But more about Matej – another time.
We try to take less luggage as possible:
Cash + documents
First Aid Kit
Notebook and pen + printed card
One (!) pair of clothes + pajamas
Socks and underwear
Cosmetics (toothpaste, shampoo, hair-comb, etc.. )
Mobile phone + charger
Camera + Charger
Cardboard (for hitch-hiking signs)
Gifts for our hosts
Along the way it turned out, although we took almost nothing, there were still things that were unnecessary. However, we regret that we haven’t took gloves. This was maybe the only thing that we were missing. Next time we’ll know better. Actually this was the motto of our trip. Vesi and me, we were organizing something like this for a first time and we agreed that we are allowed to do mistakes and that each one will be valuable experience .
So this was our preparations for the trip. What really happened I will tell you soon.
Text by Neli