Review: Busabout 2013: Part 1


10 European Countries, 59 days, 4 flights, 15 bus trips, 3 long distance train rides & 1 overnight ferry

(edit: I have decided to split this into a 4 part series - as I had way too much fun and can't seem to condense it down to one post!)

At the end of May 2013, I took off on a 2 month adventure around Europe. It was the MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE (to date). I had so much fun, met some great people and pretty much ate my way around 10 countries!

Have you heard about Busabout?

(taken from the Busabout Website)

When I decided I wanted to go back to Europe, (my first trip was in 2010 for a friend's wedding in France) I knew I wanted to do at least 1 month, but when work came back and said I could have 2, I was ecstatic! 

I went into FULL plan mode! I started planning in October 2012, when I purchased my return trip to London. I didn't want to do a full organised tour (Contiki, Top Deck) because I didn't want to be stuck with a random bunch of 18 year olds who I may or may not like, and go out and get wasted every night! (Definitely not what I'm into!)

I wanted to be able to do my own thing, get lost in ally ways, find beautiful little boutiques, and eat at the best restaurants (that a backpacker) can afford! I didn't want to have to stay in hostels all the time, and most of all I wanted to get lost in my own thoughts and find myself a little more..

So I was trying to decide between Busabout & a Eurail Pass. Two very different systems. I read ALOT about both online, researching, reading reviews on both. Obviously I chose Busabout.

I chose Busabout because,  I liked how you could jump on their website, book your all of your legs of the trips. They gave you recommendations for places to stay (hostels & hotels). But most of all the flexibility to be able to do what you want, when you want, and not have to stick with a tour guide & group. 

They have several different types of trips you can choose. They have the "Flexi-Trip" (what I chose) - designed to give you the most flexibility, you choose where you want to go and purchase the amount of "flexi-stops" you need to get there. A flexi-trip pass gives you access to the entire network, you can start and stop anywhere on the loops and buy more if you wanted to make a unplanned stop somewhere along the loops.

They also have "Adventures" & "Festival" trips which are guided tours that run for a specific amount of time and specific destinations including - Sail Croatia, Greece & The Greek Islands, Sail Turkey , Morocco or Pamplona (Running of the Bulls), La Tomatina or Oktoberfest just to name a few! 

So a little on my awesome experience with Busabout:

Steve & I along the Seine (photo taken by Scott McGee)
I caught the eurostar train from London to Paris, and had 4 days in Paris before starting my trip! I stayed at the St Christophers Inn where the bus departs from. It was my first time staying in a hostel and it was a good one to start with! Travelling by myself for the first time, I was a little nervous about spending time in a huge city all by myself, but I decided to do a free walking tour of the city, and I'm happy I did, I met two American guys (Steve and Scott) who took me under their wing and hung out with me for a couple of days! My first trip on the Busabout buses and they are great! Comfy seats that recline, awesome guides & drivers that are so knowledgeable about our upcoming destinations and most of the passengers are Aussie! Its a little comforting hearing an Aussie accent when your travelling alone!

Steve & I sitting under the Arc de Triomphe (photo taken by Scott McGee) 

From Paris, I made the choice to take an optional flex-stop in Bruges (Belgium) and boy am I glad I did! It was absolutely beautiful! Just like a fairytale (if you have seen the movie "In Bruges" you will get what I'm saying). Its architecture is so medieval and amazing, canals (with white swans) run through the city. Mind you it was windy as hell and a little drizzly, I still had a fabulous time! I tried some delicious Belgian chocolate, Waffles and Frites (french fries/hot chips - which they serve with Mayo & Tomato Sauce). On my last morning in Bruges I climbed the Belfry (all 366 stairs) to the most amazing view. The bus arrived at 1pm and we were off to Amsterdam!

From the top of the Bruges Belfry

Ahhh Amsterdam! The city of Sex & (Legal) Drugs! I enjoyed my time in Amsterdam! I stayed at the World Famous Flying Pig Hostel next to Vondelpark. I was put on the 5th floor (attic) of the hostel (with no elevator) the last set of stairs were pretty much vertical! (luckily I had a backpack not a wheeled suitcase!) I had a great view over Vondelpark! One of the best ways to see Amsterdam is by bike! So I decided to do a bike tour (with Mike's Bikes) to the country-side outside Amsterdam, it was fascinating learning all about Amsterdam! The guides lead us around the city and then out to the country-side to a Cheese & Clog Factory! We got to see how clogs are made and taste some amazing Gouda! Of course when in Amsterdam one must do as the dutch do.. Visit a "Coffee Shop" and sample some of the local fare! I purchased a hash brownie and a coffee and sat with the friends I had made in Paris. To be honest.. I didn't really feel anything, maybe because I didn't eat the whole thing but it just tasted like a grassy brownie!

The view from my 5th floor room

On the bike tour 

Well thats the end of my first of 4 blog posts about my experience with Busabout. Stay tuned for the next 3 over the next few weeks! 

Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know how I'm doing!

Instagram: @loadsoflifestyle

Twitter: @loadsoflifestyl

Thanks for stopping by!!

Mel xx

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