Photo Credit: Rachael Pengelly

This summer, after finishing our dreaded A Levels, my friends and I decided to go inter-railing around Europe. For me it was the first taste of pre-university independence. With twenty two days and any of thirty countries to choose from, we said goodbye to our families and embraced Europe.

Our trip began in Amsterdam, which the group unanimously agreed was one of the best cities we visited. There are hundreds of hostels to choose from, transport around the city is cheap and efficient, and the amount of activities available is almost overwhelming; from the Van Gogh or Anne Frank museum to relaxing in the beautiful ‘Vondelpark’. We chose to rent bikes during our stay which proved to be a fantastic way to explore the city up and down the winding canals. I did, however, learn the rules of bike etiquette in Amsterdam the hard way after being told to “go back to wherever I came from” by a disgruntled Dutch pedestrian. The Amsterdam night life certainly did not disappoint either; an advantage to staying in hostels was that the staff always pointed out the best places to go out in every place.

Following Amsterdam, we journeyed through Germany, camping just outside of Munich. Camping is brilliant as it saves a lot of money as well as being a great means of ‘getting off the beaten track’. We also camped in Cassis, a town in the South of France, situated by the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean, where we hiked one day to the isolated beaches of Les Calanques, an absolutely amazing experience which would be unachievable for inter-railers hopping from city to city.

We visited various other regions before coming to an end in Spain. From Barcelona and Málaga to Seville and Madrid, there really isn’t a better country to travel around. The cathedral in Seville is stunning and a relatively cheap ticket will give you entrance to it as well as the Royal Alcazar, an Arab palace fortress. Inter-railing provides an experience unlike any other, the variety of different people, cultures, activities and sights which you encounter along the way are unforgettable!

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