Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A-Z// e is for....

E is for..... Europe.

I have this obsession with Europe. I've been twice in my life (definitely not enough!!) and I want to go back more than anything.

It all started when I was in the 4th grade. My aunt and uncle moved to England, so one summer my mom and I spent a month with them. It was perhaps one of the best times of my life. It was also when I fell in love with England. London is the most amazing city and so full of history. We also took a weekend trip to Paris, which I have to admit, I was not a huge fan of.
But England was amazing (even if I didn't enjoy high tea time).
 And I am convinces that London is one of the best cities ever!.
To make things even better, our trip was also during the Spice Girls reign of music- so that made it even more fun to tour.
This is also where my obsession with Tudor history began. (I began collecting books then and I've read sooooo many more, especially about Anne Boleyn.  And yes, The Tudors was one of my favorite shows.

Then my obsession became even stronger during my freshman year of college. When I was in high school I had heard about Prague and how gorgeous and amazing it was, so I decided at some point I would have to visit.
Skip forward a few years and I'm sitting in my freshman history course and I see a flyer about a study abroad program taking place in several countries, but the place that caught my eye??  Prague, Czech Republic. I knew then and there that I just had to go. Somehow. Granted, I was kind of poor at the time, but I wanted to go so badly that I'd find a way. And I did.

I spent two weeks traveling to 4 countries with 2 professors and about 19 other students who I barely knew. It was one of the best times of my entire life. Not only was the traveling amazing, the history incredible, but I fell in love with my classmates (well most). I have amazing memories and some of them are still my very good friends. But I digress....


We started in Germany. Berlin to be more exact. I should probably mention that I absolutely, positively love history (part of what also intrigued me about this trip) and the fact that it is so rich in WWII and Cold War history made me giddy like a freaking little girl. It was so amazing to see all these places I had only ever read about. And while visiting places like Concentration Camps was heartbreaking (to say the least) I loved how much I learned and that I got to actually see these places. It was almost as if it become more real to me (which sounds a little bitchy, I'm sorry- I don't mean it like that). It's just that after only reading about events and places they sometimes begin to seem like just a made up place in a made up time, but coming face to face with all of this past made it a million times more real to a girl who was born 40 years and a giant ocean away from such atrocious places.
I will also say that Berlin has an amazing city life- I felt like I was constantly going. And their food (and beer was absolutely AMAZING).

We also toured Krakow, Poland, which was amazing. We were there the same time as the Pope, so alcohol was prohibited and it was also insanely packed everywhere, including at Auschwitz (where he was giving a speech).

But it was still a good trip and the food was absolutely incredible. I really looked forward to the food here the most since my step-dad is Polish and has cooked Polish food for us before. It definitely didn't let me down.

Then there was Prague, Czech Republic. The place that had made me sign up for this trip. The city that I had been almost dying to see for several years. The hotel we stayed at was in the middle of the ghetto and since it was incredible sketchy (both the part of town and hotel) I cried the entire first hour of being there. Then, to make things worse, everytime we visited the main part of the city men tried to make us enter their strip clubs or by hard drugs. I may be prude, but that is not my idea of a good time on vacation (or in general). Can you tell that even after 7 years I'm still bitter about this city???

But Budapest, Hungary was pretty awesome and kind of made up for the loss (kind of). It was also the last city we went to. It started off rocky though, since apparently the city is split in two: Buda and Pest (and they are divided by a river). Which doesn't help when you need to be on the other side of the river to get correct currency, but no way of getting there.  But that's besides the point.
(Buda on one side and Pest on the other).

I feel like I've only visited the smallest percent of Europe and already my love for the continent is astounding. But it's taught me so much, shown me so much, and introduced me to so much. I have so many memories for my trips and I've met so many amazing people from these places as well.

Now I just need to get back there!!!!!!


Kirsty.A said...

Oh I am sooo sorry you had a bad experience of Prague. It is my absolutely favourite city in the world (of the ones I've visited) I spent 2 years working in the Czch Republic after I graduated and I spent every free weekend in the capital. If you get the chance, give it another chance.
BTW - I know exactly what you mean about the concentration camps - that's why they are still standing as museums instead of being razed to the ground - because it is important that we feel the reality.

Amanda Rose said...

You are so lucky to have those experiences of travel! I've never been!

Amanda Rose

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