After 9 weeks spent living out of one small backpack, wearing the same outfits over and over, sleeping in bunks with 12 other people, and spending no more than 3 nights in one place, I thought I would be ready to go back home. Yes, I was completely and utterly exhausted from spending the past 9 weeks waking early, walking sometimes 15 miles in one day while exploring every inch of a city, and spending nights on trains or out at pubs and bar crawls, but I was no where near ready to return home. With every city I travelled to, I wanted to see more, do more, and experience more of the world. This urge is what kept me going through the exhaustion, allowing me to see and experience some of the most amazing cities in Europe while meeting the most incredible people. Here are some of my favorite moments.
In Italy, I got to experience not only the most delicious pizza, but also watch the sunset over the Coliseum, stroll through wildflower fields in Castelluccio, hike along the Cinque Terre, wander the magical streets of Venice, see the famous leaning tower of Pisa, walk through the ancient city of Pompeii, and experience the beauty of Florence.
Although I visited more cities in Italy than anywhere else (excluding the study abroad portion of the trip in Greece), I also got to see some amazing places in the other countries I travelled to. I followed some new friends to the beautiful Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, watched the sunset from atop the Eiffel Tower, and gawked at the beauty of my favorite church, La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona.
Towards week 7, the exhaustion took over, and I slowed down my travels. I stayed for several days in Vienna (too lazy to take pics here) with friends I had met in Croatia before traveling 19 hours by train to Wales, a perfect place to slow down, rest, and see the most beautiful scenery. I stayed in Wales with a friend’s family who took me to visit Powis Castle and its gorgeous gardens, the incredibly cold Rhosneigr beach, and the Southstack cliffs in Holyhead.
Although sad to leave Wales, I was excited to travel to London, where I went on the Harry Potter studio tour, participated in a walk for cancer awareness, drank dark beer beneath the London Eye, and unknowingly had dinner with a professional boxer. After three days in London, I departed for the final city of my whirlwind journey, Dublin. Here, I coincidentally met back up with the very first person I met on my first day in a hostel, showing just how small the world can be sometimes. So many people (who no doubt thought I was crazy for traveling on my own through foreign countries) had warned me over and over not to talk to strangers and not to trust anyone while traveling, but I met the most incredible, nicest, and friendliest people during my trip, people who I know I will keep in touch with forever. I returned to America a bit unwillingly, but safe and on time and with the most incredible memories of people and places to tide me over until my next opportunity to travel arises. I will admit I’m so happy to be back in my own bed and have more than a small bag of clothes though!