The Worst and Best of my Backpacking Trip

Posted on 30. May, 2011 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Travel Tips

Today, I realized it has been two years since my backpacking trip through Europe is over - I came home on May 30th of 2009. Hard to believe it’s so far behind me! But now that I am on a new journey, I decided to celebrate this sort-of anniversary by sharing a few facts about this month long adventure.

Basically the trip was planned in two separate adventures: backpacking in Europe and roadtripping in Spain. Below is the itinerary I had.

View Backpacking Itinerary in a larger map

Read on and be inspired!

The Good…

  • Best surprise: Gibraltar monkeys! I climbed on top of the rock after hours so I didn’t expect anything, until I saw a dozen monkeys hanging around. It doesn’t get much better than sunset at Gibraltar with baby monkeys!
  • Best hostel: Singer 109 in Berlin. Absinthe, Wii, private apartment and free breakfast. Can’t beat it!
  • Best train ride: Zurich-Munich… keyword = Alps.
  • Best car ride: Sierra Nuevas in Spain. Spectacular views.

Sierra Nuevas

  • Best meal: Buffet breakfast in Prague, too bad I can’t remember the name of the place. But after a few weeks of cold toasts and hot juice… pancakes, muffins, eggs, fresh fruits and cappucinos are more than welcomed. Especially for 50 czech korunas.
  • Best postcard moment: Cooked meat and cheese lunch on the Zurich Lake. Most of us didn’t speak at all, it was simply too beautiful.
  • Best frugal traveler meal: olives, baguette and camembert cheese by the spoon, sitting along a canal in Amsterdam
  • Best drink: raspberry beer in Berlin, but Spanish tinto de verano is a close second.
  • Best investment: a GPS lovingly named Albert
  • Best people: Belgium
  • Best bargain: a €15 henna tattoo, instead of €30.
  • Best souvenirs: birthday dinner in Amsterdam, wine drinking in Paris, absinthe tasting in Berlin, mountain viewing in Spain… can’t choose!

… and then the Bad

  • Worst surprise: left luggage facilities at Rosemary Hostel in Prague (no lights and unfinished basement that looked more like a bad version of Hostel rather than a hotel facility)
  • Worst hotel: Ironically, Ideal Hostel in Barcelona. Disgusting bathrooms, extremely tiny rooms and awful staff.
  • Worst train ride: Berlin-Prague. Thew views were pretty, but the train was very uncomfortable and extremely hot.
  • Worst car ride: Sierra Nuevas in Spain. Spectacular views indeed, but tortuous road, and 45°… not got for my faint heart.
  • Worst meal: Mysterious Czech dumplings. Looked awful, tasted awful, felt awful.
  • Worst postcard moment: Completely lost in Gibraltar. Yes, it’s possible to get lost on a 7 km² island.
  • Worst frugal traveler meal: The delicious food we bought for our hostel dinner in Barcelona… but which we couldn’t cook because the owner didn’t want us to use the kitchen. At 8PM. Not sure he’s familiar with Spanish culture.
  • Worst drink: Absinth. Worst taste ever!


  • Worst people: Czech. Not sure what I did wrong, but every single one I interacted with was beyond rude!
  • Worst rip-off: Sagrada Familia. Seriously. It’s a construction site inside, you better watch it from the park facing it.
  • Worst souvenir: I don’t have any. I had my down moments, but I think they were part of the adventure and I kind of laugh thinking of them now.

Now, some statistics.

  • Cities: 17
  • Countries: 7
  • Train rides: 8
  • Wild goats road blocks: 1
  • Kilometers on the road in Spain: a little over 2700
  • Teary crisis: 2
  • Photos: more than 3000 (which you can see the best of here)
  • Amount of alcohol: unknown, but most likely very, very high
  • Currencies : 5
  • Money spent: I would rather not know, really. Best for my mental health.

Going to Barcelona


Have you been on a backpacking trip or roadtrip? What are your best and worst souvenirs?

Related posts:

  1. The Rebirth of Berlin
  2. The Unsuspected Charm of Krakow
  3. Why Should You Include Gibraltar on Your Next Spanish Vacation?
  4. Glamorous French Riviera Day Trip
  5. Spanish Roadtrip Chapter 1: Ronda and Gibraltar

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11 Responses to “The Worst and Best of my Backpacking Trip”

  1. Sonja

    01. Jun, 2011

    That’s funny - the worst hotel I ever stayed in was in Barcelona, too. The sheets and towels smelled like B.O.!

    Reply to this comment
  2. jade

    06. Jun, 2011

    I really want to do a road trip from Spain to Italy. Yours sounds awesome too… I love road trips because I feel like you get to actually know the country or city better than flying everywhere. I feel more connected to them.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      29. Nov, 2011

      Very true! I recommend roadtrips to anyone who thinks of going on one. Amazing souvenirs!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Katherina

    08. Jun, 2011

    I did a one month road trip through Mexico and then a 2 week one through New Zealand… both were totally different! Sticking to the one in Mexico, I went with 10 friends and, well, believe me… you don’t really want to be that much people when you’re on the road in only two cars, a lot of “stuff” and no air con!!

    I heard about the Sagrada Familia being a huge rip off! Friends of mine always sit in a little cafe next to it to watch it from the outside…

    Reply to this comment
  4. Nadia | Gap Daemon

    30. Jun, 2011

    Great post. Think my worst hostel experience was in Brno (least favourite European city ever)… we slept on fold-out army cots and they threatened to charge us double if we took extra blankets/pillows from the neighbouring cots. Ergh!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      01. Jul, 2011

      Wow, I don’t think customer service doesn’t get any worse! The unknown is a double edged sword.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Perfect Wedding

    29. Jul, 2011

    This is a well done article that I have bookmarked for future reading. Have a wonderful.One again, your article is very nice

    Reply to this comment


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