Experiences Abroad

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
― Augustine of Hippo

I was browsing through photos on my computer and came across a file containing all of my photos from a Euro trip I went on many moons ago. I still had my Canon Rebel T2i at the time (well, part of the time, before it was taken), and luckily I was able to get some amazing pictures and back them up on my handy dandy computer. This inspired me to tell you guys a little bit about the trip, share a few photos and thoughts.

The Trip:

A few years ago I decided to skip the summer semester of school and go to Europe for an entire 3 months. I ended up leaving in June (just after my birthday) and coming back in September! So, I actually stayed a little while longer than I intended because my parents surprised me and came to Italy (where I was staying with a family friend for a month) to spend time together.

The trip started in Amsterdam and went on to France, Italy, and Switzerland. In Amsterdam I stayed right in the center, everything interesting and important was just a 5-10 min walk away from the hotel. I went to a torture museum…I know…it was terrifying. I explored the city, went to their local flower market, enjoyed the nightlife, took a tour to the Gassan diamond factory, ate food at any and all hours of the day and night. There was a little street just around the corner from my hotel which served the most delicious burgers ever – the beef/chicken/lamb/turkey/veggie patty was weight right in front of you before it was grilled, then you got to choose your sauces, your bun, & your toppings. I also went to the zoo!! I had a fantastic time exploring the rich culture, beautiful architecture, and absorbing the exciting experiences.

_MG_0794A gloomy day but still so beautiful.

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I took this photo while on a guided boat tour along one of the canals in Amsterdam. I thought it was just the cutest little place. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to pop in and eat some of those pancakes! Maybe one day.

From there I took a train to France, where I stayed in a hotel very close to all of the shopping and food areas of Marseille. The harbor city had the most delicious sea food I have eaten in a long time. The beautiful weather made it perfect for checking out all of the wonderful stores, coffee shops, and again the beautiful architecture. I spent a lot of time just browsing the nooks and crannies of the place. I think the part I enjoyed most about my visit to Marseille is food! I am huge Julia Child fan – I have both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking – so being able to immerse myself in authentic French cuisine with seafood served fresh from the sea was an experience I will never forget.

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Here is one half of the restaurant street that is a minute from the hotel I was staying at. Can you even imagine!? 

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These came right from the water which I was looking at while munching down on my lunch. 

_MG_1310  One of my dinners!

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And that photo of a scrumptious display of French sweets will end my little blurb about France.

I took another train from France to Rome, Italy. Yep, another food and culture capital of the world! I spent the majority of my trip in Italy. For the first week, I was in a hotel in central Rome where I went on a shopping spree like no other! After which I took a 2 or 3 hour (can’t remember) train ride to a little village called Arche. There I stayed with a family friend for the remainder of the time. While I was in central Rome I ate…a lot. I also went to all of the major land marks like the Colosseum and Sistine Chapel/Vatican. In Arche I saw a donkey race!! I mean…like what?! It was just out of this world. The people were so kind and absolutely amazing and the atmosphere of the little town was simply unbelievable. I can’t even describe in words the amount of fun I had. I went to a music festival featuring local bands from every nearby village. There were food carts serving free food and beverages all night long while the bands played, it was a great way to unwind after a blazing hot day of exploring Rome. Of course, I did enjoy some high-end dining while in Rome…because how could I not have!? I went to a beach in Italy as well, which was very fun! My family friend took me out for a couple days to her friend’s little summer motor home positioned only a couple minutes from the beach. Can I just take a minute to tell you about the pizza I ate in Arche? I can’t say I have had a better or even equally as good a pizza since that day. It was thin crust, crispy, made from ingredients grown by local farmers in the village. The chef was this very large, very jolly, and very comedic man who made making the pizza look like it took no effort what-so-ever. Too much pizza was consumed, but I regret nothing!

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My snack in Italy: A garlic toast made from a loaf of bread baked in house minutes before. It was topped with a crap ton of truffle slices. Yes. I went to garlic bread heaven. I can’t even describe the beauty of this. [it had asparagus on top with a bit of cheese, that was eaten first and quickly]
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These two men saw me and the other people dining outside on the patio of a restaurant and decided to give us some live music while we enjoy our food. Unreal. They did it just because, no asking for tips, simply…playing fun music for the enjoyment of others. What an experience!

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The colossal Colosseum. I had a fantastic time touring it.

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Let’s not forget lunch time! Beef. Just beef with mushrooms and a bit of tomato and herbs. I also had a soup actually, but that wasn’t as exciting as this! 

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Or dinner time! A plate of seafood, side of baked tomato, all sprinkled with fresh basil.

About a week before my parents arrived I went to Switzerland! I took a tour bus which went from Rome to Lucerne, Maison Cailler (chocolate factory), Lake Geneva (where there is a Freddie Mercury statue), Bern (which has a sanctuary for a family of bears you can visit), and Gruyere (this is where the cheese comes from). I stayed a night in Switzerland before returning home on the same tour bus. I can’t even find the words to encompass everything – all the cheese, agriculture, scenery, chocolate, cute cows, and excitement. It was a little crazy jumping from place to place because it was a long trip and I only had one night of rest in a hotel room while the rest of the time was spent either on a walking tour of some place or driving.

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working clock made of flowers and grass!! I am unable to get over this. 

I was amazed at how clean Switzerland is! Not a single piece of chewing gum on the sidewalk. I am not kidding. I looked specifically for old gum stuck to the concrete, like any normal large city would have, but not even one was spotted.

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This is the breathtaking Lake Geneva!

The surrounding area of Lake Geneva was full of vibrant flowers and greenery. I took so many photos, but I am only sharing one of Lake Geneva because it is my favorite one.

IMG_1297I couldn’t finish this post without showing you guys the Freddie Mercury statue. 

After my parents arrived we did a lot of exploring around Italy. We went to Florence and saw the statue of David, the Da Vinci museum, and a lot of other wonderful places. At this point, I did not have my camera anymore…so the photos from anything after the Switzerland trip are on my parents’ computer.

This brings me to the end of a very brief summation of my trip! I think it is really difficult to express to you guys the incredible time I had on this trip, along with all the things I got to experience, without rambling endlessly. I could probably write a novella based on my adventures haha. I hope you all enjoyed my photos and reading a little bit about my time spend abroad! I love travelling, immersing myself in different cultures, and I can’t wait to explore the world with my sweetheart.

*All of the photos in this post were taken by me with my own camera*

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5 thoughts on “Experiences Abroad

  1. luluscribbles says:

    Can we… can we go to Europe together?! Take me, and go back to all these places! And explore new places! 😀

    I am feeling the wanderlust at all time high right after this post. What scrumptious food pictures… And what lovely places!

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