The ABC’s of [my semester abroad] Travel

A special treat for you because I spent a whole 3 and a half months in Europe and didn’t tell you anything.

The ABC’s of Travel inspired by Twenty Something Travel

Age you went on your [current] international trip

21

Best [foreign] beer you’ve had and where

Bishops Finger at the Sun near Bethnal Green, London, England. This was a trip that I had the chance to meet up with a friend, so it wasn’t just some pub that I happened upon on the street. It was a local taking me to a local place,  you automatically get extra points for that in my book.

Brugge Belgium also had amazing beer.

Cuisine (favorite) [or meal while I was abroad]

This one is tricky. The best meal that I had was the Southern night that was put together by my friends at the Chateau. We came together to make a delicious southern meal, it definitely helped that it was all made by friends.

When I went to Nice, France, I had these amazing hushpuppy-like, crab cake things from a street vendor. They were delicious.

Even though London is not known for it’s culinary excellence, I quite like fish and so the fish and chips that I had at the Old Monk were impeccable and a big hit.

  1. Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why

Favorite –  [In Order]

London, England – it’s hard to describe a place like London when it’s not necessarily the most beautiful city, nor that exotic; something about a big bustling city and charming folk like the British, is just picture perfect. A scene that I think I would love to see everyday…

Brugge, Belgium – After finding out that my friends and I had just left Brussels, our bartender/receptionist quickly responded, “Brussels is rubbish, Brugge is the best.” Though I don’t necessarily agree that Brussels was bad, I can’t argue with the statement that Brugge is the best, because as a matter of fact, it is. It’s a beautiful, old, small town, that I would love to get to know like the back of my hand. Quite the opposite from London in size.

Least Favorite

Honestly, there wasn’t one place that I had a horrible time in, but for the sake of keeping it lively, here are my least favorite picks:

Munich, Germany – I’m not sure what to say. I had a great time at Oktoberfest, I love the people of Germany, but something about Munich just felt dull.

Amsterdam, Netherlands – It is too touristy, and there was not enough charm to cancel out the Red Light District.

Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”

Christmas Markets are this beautiful novelty in Europe. Originally coming from Germany, the “Christmas Capital” made it’s way to Strasbourg, where I was living. Though, some complain that it’s too touristy and commercial, I thought it was tastefully done and just a wonderful thing! I’ll have to admit Christmas in America will never live up to my expectations now.

Favorite mode of transportation

It will forever be flying, though I quite like trains…and taxis. Oh, and trams. It’s hard to choose, really. As long as i’m not driving I’m happiest.

Greatest feeling while traveling

Figuring out where you are and where you’re going. I love knowing locations!

Hottest place you’ve traveled to [or the time when I realized that I was unprepared for the weather]

Seeing as though it became fall upon my arrival to Europe, the hot days were at the beginning in Strasbourg when I hadn’t packed any summer clothes, in preparation for a frigid winter.

However, sleeping in a tent in September in Munich was the coldest night i’ve had in my life. I did not expect it to be that cold, I was wearing a dress just that day! I was very underprepared!

Incredible service you’ve experienced and where

Every hostel ever. They have THE best customer service and I was very pleased with all of my stays while abroad. My particular favorite was the Snuffel Backpacker in Brugge, and then of course there was the Tent in Munich, but how can you really complain about a place you stay for Oktoberfest – It was Oktoberfest!

Journey that took the longest

London, England. After two trains and a bus to the Karlsruhe Flughafen (airport), and boarding the plane, we were told that because of some mysterious cut wire our flight would be delayed 12 hours. And so there we sat/slept in the airport terminal, it was nothing like the movie. We finally took off at 9:30 AM the next day.

Keepsake from your travels

I’m not very good at buying trinkets, I hate trinkets. So I have a few worthless postcards, one or two keychains. So, instead, I purchased things that I knew of, a Freitag bag from the Freitag store in Zurich, a Pantone espresso cup and saucer from the Pantone hotel in Brussels, a French copy of Looking For Alaska from a bookstore in Strasbourg, a Doctor Who book from the Comic Book Museum in London. And then my favorite keepsakes are packed away into my travel moleskin, clippings and memories from my travels.

Let-down sight, why and where

Amsterdam. I thought it would be as endearing as Brugge, or as Venice, but it’s not. I either spent too many days in Amsterdam, or didn’t do enough research, because I found that there’s not a lot to do here and my days were not packed full with sightseeing. Rather, they were packed full with roaming around with thousands of other tourists.

Moment where you fell in love with travel [again]

When I went to Paris for the third time. I actually wasn’t excited about this trip, because I had fallen out of love with France and with Paris. There was nothing really left for me to see here, but when I arrived I realized that I knew just a little bit more of the city than most and this familiarity excited me and I became a tourist again. Noticing the things that I hadn’t noticed before, very miniscule things, but things that changed my perception. I realized that it was a big, beautiful, romantic city that even I couldn’t hate if I wanted to.

Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in

When my parents came we stayed in proper hotels, not hostels. It was a nice change, it was an even nicer change when we were upgraded from the Hotel Fantasia to the Hotel Sonne. (We had a bathtub…all you need is a tub to win me over.)

Nicest Hostel was in Basel, Switzerland…it’s kind of impossible to be in grimy place in in Switzerland!

Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?

Cobblestoned streets…I probably have more photos of cobblestoned streets than my computer can handle.

Passport stamps, how many and from where?

11 Stamps. Atlanta-3, Amsterdam-2, Frankfurt-2, Karlsruhe-2, Charles De Gaulle-2, Standsted/London-1

Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where

I didn’t really do any weird attractions…I went to the Zurich zoo, that’s about as exciting as it gets. I had this great idea that I would try to go to every zoo that crossed my path, but then walked through this zoo and quickly realized that zoo’s are smelly and depressing.

Recommended sight, event or experience:

Christmas Markets in Strasbourg and Germany, of course!

Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:

Food and beverage. Wine and beer, desserts and gelato. I’ll always leave room for this.

Touristy thing you’ve done

Everything. I was a tourist and I was fine with it.

Unforgettable travel memory

Oktoberfest. It was a great way to kick off my traveling excursions.

Visas, how many and for where?

Just one visa, for France.

Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?

The best glass of wine that I had was probably…hmm, I cannot tell a lie, I didn’t drink that much wine while I was abroad this time around, it was all about the beer.

Xcellent view and from where?:

Best view that I saw was on Montparnasse business building in Paris, France. I was able to see everything! That, or the view of Old Nice from the cliff…that was an incredible view.

Years [months/days] spent traveling?

3 months and 19 days.

Zealous sports fans and where?
Germans. They are nuts!
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