How I Ended Up In Russia and Other Travel Mishaps

I was in London preparing to leave the next morning – my flight was scheduled to depart at 6:40am. From the place I was staying, I needed to leave the house 4 hours before my flight time to make it via public transportation. That put me leaving at 2am but the transportation system doesn’t operate after 12:30-1am. So the plan was to leave around 11pm to catch the last train and just spend the night at the airport.

We were out sightseeing all day, ate the famous “fish n’ chips” and went to a local amateur production of Singing in the Rain. By the time we got back to the house it was 11:15ish. It takes just under 2 hours to get from our host’s house to the airport. I was leaving for Stockholm solo at 11:30 and my route was: walk to train station, ride above ground train to Canning Town, switch the the underground Victoria line, switch again to the Piccadilly line, and ride that into the airport. That would put me there around 1am.  I had to make it to my last connection by 12:30am or it was a no go because the trains would stop running. This left little room for error.

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I had packed earlier, anticipating a late arrival from the play and a fast turnaround time. When we got back, I grabbed my hiking backpack – all 33 pounds of it- and ran out the door. Thankfully we had just switched to Swedish SIM cards so I could get data on my phone and I figured I’d just check into my flight on the train ride.

At this point, things were starting to get stressful. I’m on the London tube by myself at midnight on a Saturday night.. Nothing good ever happens after midnight on a Saturday night, especially in a city of 8.5 million people, 4 million of which ride the tube everyday. Oh, and I hadn’t charged my phone yet that day and I didn’t have a charger adapter for the UK. I figured I wasn’t going to need my phone very much anyway- I’d be back in Sweden in less than 12 hours.

Or so I thought. Continue reading

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Sojourners and Stairs

I was faced with the option of taking another 2 week intensive Swedish class or spending that money on a mini vacation… and that’s how we ended up in HUNGARY!!

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We did some research for inexpensive places in Europe to travel to.. and Eastern European cities were among the cheapest. Budapest, turns out, is nicknamed the “Paris of the East” because of the beautiful architecture.

We found cheap flights on Lufthansa (now one of my new fav airlines btw) and booked an AirBnb for $35/night! Plus I was recommended by a “friend” (a.k.a. my husband) to “try AirBnb” (a.k.a. $30 off your first time staying somewhere).. which pretty much equals a free night. #workingthesystem? No way. #travelsavvycollegestudent

(P.S. www.airbnb.com/c/nataliem4935    <– free $30 off. You’re welcome 😉 )

Now, were were we? Oh right, BUDAPEST! We stayed on the Buda side.

20160716_102630 Continue reading