Backpacking and Backtracking

Ahoj, Guten tag, Szia and hello my dear, fellow backpackers.

Now let me introduce myself: I’m a woman bursting with desire and fervent passion…for

travelling; a determined and little crazy female who is looking to return

from Central Europe in July with a backpackful of experiences!

I can tell

you however, that I have, whilst still on foreign soil in Belgium, where

I’ve been based as an English language assistant for the last eight months,

already had my fair share of fun, games and frustrations. In my head, I’ve

already visited, many times over, all of the eight places I’ll be going to

this summer during my three week trip, and I know for certain that both my

phone and computer are of intimate acquaintance with them too. I’ve

definately picked up a few tips in my preparations, and so in order to help

you along, because this has been no mean feat, I’ll share them with you.

  • There is a superb site, a definate must for anyone travelling in Europe,

    that I recommend you spend a few hours exploring, it’s well worth the time

    spent: Lonely Planet

  • Some places in the Czech Republic, notably the highly recommended “Clown &

    Bard” in Prague and Krumlov House in Cesky Krumlov don’t take reservations anything more than two weeks in advance. You may

    also want to note that the numbers for the former have changed recently to:

    2271 6453/ 2271 4449.

  • Reservations at the “Hotel Kaiser” in Kitzbuhel, Austria, are not easily

    made since the fax and phone share the same number. In my persistance I

    phoned many times yet only succeeded in getting through to the fax. “So why

    not send a fax?” you’re thinking. Well, I did, twice in fact, and got no

    reply. So if you’re a budget traveller like myself, you might think about

    opting for “Pension Schmidniger” instead, though the good old lady doesn’t

    speak a great deal of English. So, if you know any German, don’t hesitate to

    put it to use here, tel: (5356) 63134.

  • Reservations can be made at the HI Jugendgastenhaus in Graz, Austria, by

    e-mail, but beware of getting the address right or you’ll get nowhere at

    all: jgh.graz@jgh.at

  • Continuing with Austria, I wouldn’t place reliability high upon the list of

    qualities boasted by the Austrians. A while ago I made a reservation at the

    Jugenherbergen in Vienna, a simple request: 2 nights for 2 people and this

    seemed no problem for them. Only last week however, I received a letter

    from them cancelling my reservation with no adequate explanation enlosed.

    This hostel, somewhat surprisingly, does come highly recommended, but upon being left in the lurch I got back on the phone, with no time to waste, to book

    myself in at the mixed reviewed “Hostel Ruthensteiner“. They can be e-mailed at: hostel.ruthensteiner@telecom.at

  • The well-received “Yellow Submarine” hostel in Budapest, Hungary, has

    recently changed its number to: 361 3319896.

  • The High Tatras mountains, what will hopefully be the highlight of my trip,

    have posed their fair share of difficulties, unfortunately. Making

    reservations may be a problem if you’re an English speaker with no knowledge

    of German and furthermore, many of the numbers there have changed too just

    to further complicate matters!

    Don’t think about making a reservation at the

    “Zbojnicka chata” mountain chalet as it burnt down last year, but do visit

    this website to obtain the numbers of other moutain chalets if you’re thinking about making the reservations yourself. On the other hand, you

    could try contacting “Stary Smokovec“, available on 4422402 who offers a

    reservation service. You may like to note that ‘pensions’ – B&B type places

    in the High Tatras – offer discounts on reservations made over the internet.

    For hiking hints and routes in the Tatras you may well like to visit this website. You may be

    interested to know that there is a book (somewhere!) called “Regions

    Without Frontiers: The Slovak-Polish Tatras“, written by Daniel Kollar, Jan

    Lacika and Roman Malarz, and published by “Dajarma”, yet seemingly hard to

    come by given my efforts at trying to track it down.

  • The problem of knowing how to get from one place to another, on any kind of

    ambitious adventure holiday like this, is one that faces many, many people. It’s not at this point that I propose any kind of magic

    solution…if only! But there is a website worth checking out, though it

    doesn’t cover Slovakia. It does however cover many other

    destinations in Europe.

  • Thinking about going to Slovenia? I did…for all of moments, until I

    discovered that a FSME (meningo-encephalitis) injection comes highly

    recommended for any hikers and campers. Not available on the NHS, I discovered upon doing some research that it will set you back about �80.

  • And finally, as for packing, what to take and how to get it all into that

    backpack, check this out.

  • Traveler Article


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