My trip was originally supposed to just involve headed over to London for Summer in the City and then back home, but it seemed foolish to spend hundreds of dollars to just visit one city in one country for a week. So, a few weeks before I booked the plane ticket I decided to make a whole adventure out of the trip, with London just being the start…
After almost missing my flight out of London because of a late train, my adventure started off with me landing in Berlin, Germany. I had decided on Berlin because I needed to find a location to fill a few extra days since I could not afford spending a week in Paris. So after talking with friends both in the US and abroad, I settled on Berlin because it was full of history and had lots of good food and beer. And to say the least, I was not disappointed.
During my short time in Berlin I tried to see as much as possible, even if it involved skipping out on actually going inside many of the museums. I visited the TV tower and Brandenburg Gate. I wandered through their “Central Park” and saw the Berlin Zoo. I had the chance to see one of the last standing pieces of the Berlin wall and read about the rise and fall of Germany. I did as much as I could in the 48 hours I was in Berlin, and all of that was just while the sun was up.
At night I got to visit an amazing underground dance club that seemed right out of a movie (or book) one night. The next night I spent listening to a jazz band in a air raid bunker deep under an apartment block, something I could never even imagine I would be doing a few months back. Between walking my legs off during the day and the bizarre (if not early) nights out, Berlin was a great detour for a few days.
Then it was off to Paris for my first stop in France of the trip. Finding a place to stay in Paris had been one of the more difficult parts of the trip as everything was either over-priced or way out of the city (for what I could afford). I ended up using AirBnB to find a little studio apartment just a bit out of the main city centre, and with the exception of the seven flights of stairs to reach it, was the perfect home for my stay in Paris.
I had heard a lot about Paris with many of my friends visiting over the years. And I have to say while it was not my favourite city that I have visited, it was very beautiful. During my two days there I managed to see most of the big sites such as the Champs-Elysees, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Trocadero, Centre Pompidou and countless other sites. All of this, while the drag of traveling and sightseeing for almost a week and a half straight began catching up on me.
However, one of my favourite things of being in Paris had to be the food. I managed to live off baguettes, cheese and wine for most of my time there, and with those three items costing just under 4€, it made for many of cheap meals. Honestly, between all the delicious kugels and wurst of Berlin and the breads and cheeses of Paris, it became more of a trip of food.
Just as my clothes finished drying in Paris (after doing some much needed laundry), I caught my train southward towards the town of Agen, located halfway between Bordeaux and Toulouse. There I visited with my friend Virginie for the next few days, entirely immersed in French (which I speak very little of) and occasionally get caught up on some much needed sleep.
In southern France I enjoyed some amazing (and cheap) wine, a random rope course and canoing, and lots of ice cream (glace). But one of the highlights for me was getting to drive my friend’s car everywhere when I visited! While not entirely different from driving in the United States, there are definitely difference that make a big difference.
But not only did I get to drive around France, but I got to drive to Spain for a beach getaway we decided to go on to San Sebastian. There I got to lay on the beach and hike the beautiful mountains surrounding the city. It could have not gotten much better, minus the fact that the entire second day was spent either in the rain or in traffic getting back to France. Nonetheless, it was a great cap to end my adventures around Europe.
So finally, at 4am Thursday morning I woke up for my long trip home to Colorado. It took over 6 hours of train rides, 13 hours of flying, 2 hours of driving and 8 hours of layovers to make it back on midnight of the same day. Just in time for the jet lag to kick in. And before I could blink eighteen days, five countries and 12300 miles had passed by and I was home.
See more pictures at: htt://picasaweb.google.com/112704904082653377123/EuropeTrip