Travel

Europe is Always a Good Idea

When I was 12 my parents took us to Italy for three weeks. I never knew how lucky I was to have this experience. At the time I was very finicky. I didn’t want to try any new foods, I was sick of going to museums and churches and I just wanted to spend the summer with my friends. 

When I graduated from my undergrad, all I could think about was travel. I needed to give Europe a second chance to win me over. I spent just over a month travelling through Europe. I did part of the trip with G-Adventures, which I highly recommend, and a portion of the trip on my own. The churches and museums where very wonderful, but here are the attractions that really stole the spotlight for me. 

London

I have a childhood friend that lives in London. I met him at the start of my trip. He made a list of all the attractions I could see while he was at work. One of them was Hampton Court Palace.  I am a little bit embarrassed to admit this, but instead of taking history, I opted to take native studies. It was still interesting, but my knowledge of world history is seriously lacking. Being the total nerd I am, I got the audio tour and became emerged in learning about the Tudors. The palace itself is very beautiful. There are palaces everywhere, but I loved the gardens and the history. I think I also have a soft spot for this place because it was my first stop. 

There is so much to do in London. I was so overwhelmed. I got the locals experience, since my friend lives there. He set up a pub crawl for me, he showed me all of his favorite bars in London. There is sure a lot of them, with all different feels. We went to one that was an underground tea party. The chairs are garden gnomes and there are barbies super glued to the ceiling. I would have never found most of these bars on my own. 

London is very spread out. I found the best way to see all the major attractions was to do a hop on hop off red bus tour.  I had limited time, so this knocked off all the generic attractions. Don’t waste your money on the London Eye. I have not heard a single good thing about it, only that it is a waste of time. 

Paris

Paris is one of those places that little girls dream of visiting. It was exactly how I thought it would be. I loved the city. All the buildings are so beautiful, and despite being told that people are very rude, I found the people so friendly. I do speak a little bit of french, but to avoiding offending anyone I thought I better not butcher the language. People were more than happy to help me. I loved the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Being a student can also get you a lot more discounts. I definitely recommend checking Montmarte area, as well as the regular tourist stops. 

Amsterdam

I enjoyed Amsterdam way more than I anticipated I would. People live in houseboats along the river. It has a Venice style charm without the smell..sorry Venice, but it is true. I love the bike culture and how walk-able the city is. Our guide recommended we go brandy tasting at Wynand Fockink. I was pretty sure I didn’t like brandy, but I love it. The staff is very well trained and they talk to you and see what type of spirits you usually like, then pick out a flavor for you to try. I left converted, with a bottle of raspberry brandy. 

Berlin

Berlin is all about graffiti, beer gartens and kebabs, in my eyes anyway. Berlin is also much cheaper than most places in Europe. It is just a super cool city with a lot of history. We did a bike tour through the city, checked out the main attractions, learns about the war and the Berlin wall. We also went to the Holocaust museum. Both attractions I highly recommend, but a not so highly regarded attraction, that I serious suggest checking out is the beer gartens. In Canada, beer gardens are usually at music festivals and they are just an area with a gate surrounding it. Most of the time, they leave me feeling like a caged animal. In Germany, beer gartens are magical outdoor pubs surrounded by trees and twinkle lights. I specifically like the one in the park where the zoo is. We had the most amazing meal there and the setting is perfect. 

Prague

Prague is a cool place and was a very interesting stop for me, since my dad’s side of the family is from Czech and I know little to nothing about the culture. We did the usual dance, churches and museums; although Prague has some interesting ones, a sex museum and a torture museum. My highlight of Prague was the John Lennon wall. I love the idea of interactive art, which is what I feel the John Lennon wall is. Each Individual is leaving their mark. We saw some interesting graffiti in Berlin, but for some reason the John Lennon wall really stood out to me. 

Cinque Terre


My mom swears that she took us here when we went to Italy, but I think I would remember this breathtaking place. There are a lot of beautiful castles and churches in Europe, but natural beauty always hits me the hardest. This place is like no where I have never been before. When the boat dropped us off, we were mesmerized by the colourful buildings and the bright blue water.We hiked to the different villages, our guide told us it was a walk…but it is definitely a hike. Only in Italy do you see children having a lemoncello stand, instead of a lemonade stand. I can’t wait to go back. 

I would love to hear the highlights from your European adventures, and any spots that I need to check out. My next trip will hopefully be Croatia. 

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