It was 2007, me and my cousin Sam were graduating from Uni and wanted to celebrate this big step in our lives: Stop partying our ass off and start working for real (yeah right). In Portugal, there's this thing of travelling with your class mates to a different country when you graduate from High School or University but my Class was a big mess!! Can you imagine around 35 girls and 1 boy in one class room? Geez! But I wanted a special event, something I'd never forget.
InterRail was stucked in my mind (also in my best friend Ana as well) for a while but we needed a good excuse to our parents and we found the graduation thing a great one! Sam is always up for adventures so the 3 of us bought the InterRail ticket for 21 days. (You can check more interRail info here) I didn't know but this was the beggining of a new Cicle in my life: Discovering the FREEDOM and exploring different worlds.
When you start travelling it's nice to have some stuff well organized and the InterRail ticket was perfect. It's a train ticket that you can use in the whole Europe. In some places you can just jump to the train, but many times we made a reservation when arriving in a city. This time we did some planning of the cities we'd visit: Barcelona, Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, Rome, Florence, Venice and Nice. We stayed, more or less, 3 days in each city and to save time and money we tried to travel by train at night (didn't pay for hostel).
(this is me in Amsterdam, Holland)
We had enough money to sleep in good hotels or to eat in expensive restaurants, but we had a different way of travelling... we wanted to feel the real backpacking life. Although we slept few times in hostels we also slept 2 or 3 night in train stations, especially if we were arriving the city at night and no use of "wasting" money to sleep few hours. I have to thank forever my beautiful Sam and Ana for taking turns in sleeping in the train stations, I couldn't care less! I guess I born with homeless instint, I can pretty much sleep anywhere (as long as I'm not cold) and if I'm very tired I fell asleep in 2 seconds. they were worried about people robbing us or doing anything bad while I was sleeping. But I also know they had great conversations while I was sleeping ;)
There was one night, we slept in the train station of Nice (our last stop before coming back to Portugal) and we met a group of thirty something years old people who really inspired me. They were lots of fun, full energy! This was the first time I thought that I could be a backpacker for the rest of my life. Also, that same night, we met a portuguese immigrant in his motorbike who talked with us for ages about his life history and gave us alcohol and joints haha I guess all the adventours moments were in this train stations.
(Sam and Ana arriving Barcelona, Spain)
When we arrived Vienna I asked my partners in crime to sleep in the street. Sam was completly out of mind "Are you insane? No way!" Ana was waiting for us to decide. Yes, it's very important the moment you choose the people who should come with you on a InterRail (or any trip actually) and we 3 worked pretty well. 3 is a great number, when 2 have different points of view (eg: one wants to stay at shanti hostel and the other at happy hostel) the other one will make the final decision. Oh yeah, while interRailing we learn how to be flexible, easy going and democratic. But we are all cool people so it wasn't that hard hehe I think 5 people is too much!! We have to wait all the time: Mary went to the WC, John is still sleeping... Sorry but I don't have the patient, if I'm travelling I wanna chill, don't want to wait all the time!
So, I was saying, in the end Sam agreed and we were looking around the Park to sleep there. An austrian guy came and we made friends with him! Will never forget that night: he drove us around the city at night, he introduced us to his friends, he brought us to Flex underground disco where I heard about drum n bass for the first time (fell in love!!) and in the end we sleept in his tiny room! Sometimes is good to get out of our comfy area and try something different. We had a lot of fun, Markus showed us the real Vienna, nothing better then visiting a place with a local.
Many other stories we could tell you. In the future I will ask testemonials from Ana and Sam and they will tell you more stories! I LOVE YOU soooo much Ana and Sam, thanks for sharing these precious moments with me! It was my first time backpacking and from then, I haven't stop. 6 years of freedom, of living, of exploring.