|New Year's day in Prague with Steve (photo courtesy Steven Oates).|
I spent a good chunk of time in what I am calling Central Europe last winter and absolutely loved it. This was likely the most spontaneous part of my seven months overseas as, aside from two weeks over Christmas in Prague, I didn't have an itinerary and just booked things as I felt inspired to. This was also the point in my trip that I spent the majority of my time travelling alone. Because of this I ended up meeting some fantastic people and never really felt lonely. I could have spent much more time in any of these countries and know I will go back to explore further one day. For now, here are a few of my favourite memories, in no particular order, from my time in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.
|Street art in Kreuzberg, Berlin.|
1. Exploring alternative Berlin street art with Mike and Che in the pouring rain.
2. Attempting to keep up with the professionals at the ping pong club in Berlin.
|The Untouchables by Voin de Voin from the GIF. ME. BERLIN. exhibition.|
3. Attending the GIF. ME. BERLIN. animated gif exhibition and party with Alex.
4. Living on bratwurst and glühwein at Christmas markets for the entire month of December.
|One of many memorials in Prague during the week of public mourning for Václav Havel.|
5. The immense outpouring of emotion and public mourning for former Czech president Václav Havel.
6. Eating "chicken of mysterious taste" at a chinese restaurant for Christmas Eve dinner as per Lani's family tradition.
|String art on the Vlatava, Prague.|
7. Discovering this string masterpiece while on a walk along the Vlatava on Christmas Day.
8. Listening to the New Year's Eve fireworks explode on Petrin Hill as Steve and I hung out of the hotel window getting drunk on cheap champagne.
|The Danube from the river pathway, Bratislava.|
9. Running along the Danube.
10. The grocery stores of Bratislava.
|Goulash cook-off at the Mangalitsa Festival, Budapest.|
11. Drinking homemade palinka, tasting goulash and listening to stories of the Hungarian Revolution around a log fire at the Mangalitsa wooly pig festival.
12. Roma basement dance party in Budapest.
|Szechenyi thermal bath, Budapest|
13. Figuring out the Szechenyi thermal bath system, including the rapid strength of the whirlpool and the fact that one side is much warmer than the other, but only after spending an hour near freezing in the cool pool.
14. Meeting the incredibly inspiring Amy at Massolit.
15. Eating late night lángos following Lissie's impromptu breakdancing performance in the streets of Budapest.
|Pest as seen from the top of Gellért Hill.|
16. Climbing the icy steps up Gellért Hill to the Szabadság Szobor and an incredible view of Pest.
17. Watching the Miskolc Ice Bears hockey team play in the championship game, where the snack counters served onion and lard sandwiches with hot wine.
|With Dávid and István overlooking Miskolc.|
18. Touring Miskolc with Paul's Hungarian high school students as our guides.
19. Serendipitously running into Jaqueline and Lissie in a Krakow cafe after having spent a week with them in Budapest a month before.
20. Learning the beaver song at a basement dance party with Nanna, Jeppe and the rest of the Cracow Maya Conference.
21. The incredibly surreal bus trip to Aushwitz-Birkenau.