With 4th Year upon me and the “real world” in sight I have decided that as a Social Anthropology student, having spent four years reading about other cultures it’s about time I actually go and experience them for myself. This isn’t part of some “I never had a gap year” syndrome or “I want to be a carefree Arts student forever” rubbish, I promise. I just think it’s important to see a bit of the world and so that’s what I plan to do! My mother approves greatly of this not getting a job and going travelling instead plan, I mean is that not what I’ve spent the past four years at university for?
With these ambitious ideas of travelling far and wide in mind I started reminiscing about when I went backpacking around Europe with my best friend on an epic InterRail adventure. As many students will claim about their own experiences, our trip produced so many funny stories that it would be a crime not to share them with the world. Side note, those who say InterRailing is for amateur travellers to be done before embarking upon “proper” travelling around the more “authentic” destinations of Asia or South America will be eating their words once they’ve read about our wholly authentic experiences. Especially our encounter with Rolando, which happened to be a very enlightening experience indeed!
So off we set, two Irish girls, one obsessively organized to a worrying degree and the other so laid back and relaxed you’d think she was the lovechild of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Throw them together with one month of InterRailing around Europe, the result: a lifetime’s worth of anecdotes to be had:
Taking three overnight trains between countries during our trip and running into the people we shared our compartment with again all three times in the cities we arrived in, very bizarre. Some were amazing. Some were absolute idiots.
Being taken on a nighttime drive to Omis by a rather fine looking Croatian fireman called Simone whose family owned the place we were staying. Nothing can compare to whizzing along the Dalmatian Coast listening to Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night. May sound rather dodgy, probably was, still a good story though.
Being asked to leave one restaurant in Venice because we could only afford to share a pizza between us – how very dare we! Restaurant 2 right next door, who accepted us – mainly to spite their neighbours in restaurant 1 – then didn’t actually allow us to sit beside the canal because heaven forbid we only wanted to share a pizza. WE’RE BACKPACKING FOR GOD’S SAKE. All faith in Italy was restored after deserting restaurant 2 and walking past restaurant 3 whose maître d’ thought my best friend’s flaming red mane of hair was the best thing since sliced bread and offered us free champagne and the best table in the house, right beside the canal – take that restaurant number 2. The actual paying customers wedged into tables far from the canal and without any free champagne in sight were suitably unimpressed.
Watching my best friend awkwardly dance with an overly friendly Italian man called Rolando in the kitchen of his hostel in Florence. Already pretty amusing, I could barely contain myself when the straps of her top fell down, unbeknownst to her, leaving her being taught to salsa in her lacy red bra with a man who called her Mona Lisa. It can’t get more bizarre than that surely?!
Watching the stunning sunset over Florence two nights in a row because one just wasn’t enough. This, complete with the dancing and beer that accompanied the sunset, proved to be our favourite memory from the trip!
Images courtesy of the Author, edited by Ruoting Tao.