My Obsession With Eastern Europe…

By Chelsea Colvin

It all began two summers ago when my best friend  Rachel came to visit me in Brussels. We decided to go away for the weekend, so 3 days beforehand we found the cheapest flight that we could and it just so happened to be to Warsaw, Poland. Why Poland, you ask? For some reason I had always wanted to go to Poland and convinced Rachel that it would be awesome. Ohh, how right I was. But I digress, so we jump on a flight to Warsaw, spent a night there and then trained it to Krakow. Let me just say that Krakow was life changing. It opened my eyes to how different it is in Eastern Europe compared to all of the typical cities I had visited such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, etc. For starters, the 3 days that I was there I spent just as much as I would on one night out in Brussels (this is not an exaggeration). I ate the best perogies of mah life. I went on my favorite pub crawl in all of Europe and then continued to party on a tram while it was driving through the city (with a dj in the back of it). The mix of 300 bars in Old Town alone, and Krakow being a college town makes for the best nightlife Poland has to offer.

There is something for everyone in this city and the beauty of the Old Town Square and outlying areas adds to how incredible this place is. Great food, cheap beer, tons of history and a unique culture makes Krakow one of the best cities in Eastern Europe.

After my first experience in Eastern Europe I was dying to get back. So, a year later I got some friends together and decided we would head to Budapest and then Prague. I went into Budapest not really knowing what to expect.  I had heard that it was “The Paris of the East” but hey I had been to Paris 3 times so I’d be the judge of that. First impressions of Budapest? Ahhhhh-mazing. Started off the trip with a 3 hour walking tour and I actually loved it. The history of Hungary ranges from Mongol attacks to the Ottomans, Austro-Hungarian empire, Habsburg dynasty, and many many more revolutions and wars that this country has dealt with makes it one of the most interesting countries that I’ve been to. Budapest is unreal, the Danube is the river that divides the Buda from the Pest side.

The Buda side is where all of the old school magnificent buildings are and the Pest side has more of a modern feel. The most popular bars here are called “ruin bars” which are like underground bars that have their own personality. They all follow a few basic rules though, find an old abandoned place, rent it out, set up a bar, fill it with flea market furniture, add in some weird antiques, serve alcohol, and watch people flock in. Not a bad concept, huh? My favorite ruin bar is Szimpla Kert, it was the first ruin bar opened in 2001 and by far the best.   You could spend days checking out all of the awesome bars in Budapest. Plus, Hungarian people are pretty damn cool.

And then there was PRAGUE. Where to start? Favorite city in Europe? Yup. I love Prague. A lot. No one should miss out on this city while they are abroad. It’s heaven for college kids. First off, there’s an insane amount of bars that are all different. Bars where you get to pour your own beers all night? Underground clubs where you walk down flights of stairs following the sounds of dubstep? A Hawaiian themed bar? Traditional beer halls? Even a 5 story club which happens to be where Eurotrip was filmed.

Literally anything you can imagine, it’s the place where dreams come true, my friends. Heaven on earth where beer is cheaper then water. I had the time of my life in Prague this summer and met amazing people, most featured in the above picture.^^

Needless to say you will have no problem having the best weekend of your life here. Prague can get prettttty crazyyy and you will definitely meet some characters..

Besides the insane nightlife you’ll have the chance to check out the Lennon Wall—>

Charles Bridge, Prague Castle (in the background)—>

Or go hit up Old Town Square where you can shop, eat mad fried cheese sandwiches and drink the best beer in Europe (bold statement eh?).. it’s okay cause this is coming from a girl who’s lived in Belgium for years and had endless amounts of beer there, PRAGUE STILL WINS! Fact.

Lucky for me.. actually very very lucky.. I got to visit all 3 of these places again last fall when I guided the Eastern Loop with Bus2alps! Best. Trip. Ever. Clearly I can’t say enough good things about the gem that is Eastern Europe.. now it’s time for you to come along and see for yourself!

Bus2alps is a student travel agency that offers the Eastern Loop as a fall and spring break option.  Fore more information on this trip, please click here.

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