I travelled from Berlin to Leipzig with Meinfernbus, a coach service I’ve used before. €8 for the two hour journey, though Berlin’s ZOB bus station is slightly out of town (U-Bahn stop Kaiserdamm). Free wi-fi though, and very efficient.
Once in Leipzig, and now with my mum, we stayed at the Sleepy Lion hostel. Relatively central, clean, and averagely-priced (€50 a night for an ensuite twin room), it did lack traveller hostel charm and felt slightly more like a Premier Inn where you had to make your own bed…
Leipzig to Dresden was travelled by train, costing €11 each for a money-saving Sachsen pass bought at the machine. It would have been €25 for a standard fare.
From there we travelled to Prague by Eurolines. €18 each, not too bad. A free bottle of water and snacks on board, nice.
Our Prague hostel was the Czech Inn, a well-known stylish, modern place far out of the centre (bus then tram or metro, particularly difficult at night). It ticked all the boxes, but the overwhelming majority of guests were young British interrailers. I can’t really talk, but I was with my mum, and we definitely felt that it lacked any sort of Czech charm at all. That friendly traveller vibe was also absent, but the free walking tour offered by the hostel was a great benefit.
I booked Prague to Vienna very last minute and thus got the bargain price of €10 each with the Student Agency coach company! For a 5 hour journey, this was a great find – the train journey would have cost five times that. Each seat had its own TV with films in English, and hot drinks were free.
In Vienna, we stayed at Hostel Ruthensteiner, a contender for my favourite hostel to date. As with the other hostels, it was clean, practical, and around the €50 mark for a private twin room. The real selling point, however, was the atmosphere – once the bar opened at 7pm, people crowded in the garden to play guitar, sing, drink and chat. We met friendly people from all four corners of the world and mum absolutely loved it! Highly recommend!
Given the expensive, and rather awkward, rail connections between Vienna and Slovenia, and not much in the way of coaches, I convinced mum to give carpooling a go. So I found a Slovene named Marko on Carpooling, and he drove us to Maribor for €18 each.
More about that later!