Sunday, December 7, 2008

Now that I'm back...

I'm back Stateside now, and I'm realizing that I didn't post as much here as I wanted to. I still have several million pictures to post, though, and just because my time there has ended doesn't mean that I don't still have a lot to say. Where to begin, though?

A Complete list of places visited:
Salzburg, Austria
Vienna, Austria
Bled, Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Rijeka, Croatia
Opatija, Croatia
Rome, Italy
Vatican City (I believe that the Vatican is considered a separate country in itself)
Venice, Italy
Munich, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Interlaken, Switzerland
Prague, Czech Republic
Amsterdam, Holland (the Netherlands)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Stockholm, Sweden
Olso, Norway
Dublin, Ireland
London, England
Florence, Italy
Pisa, Italy
Paris, France
Budapest, Hungary
Heidelberg, Germany

15 countries and 24 cities in 3 months!!

A list of my favorite places:

1- Salzburg, Austria. My little home nestled in the Alps. I traveled to every major metropolitan city in Europe, and at the end of each trip my heart was beating fast with anticipation as I stepped off the bus and headed for Haus Wartenberg. It is a small, beautiful, quiet city that I will forever remember as a place of peace for my heart.

2- Prague, Czech Republic. What is better than being surprised by history, by beauty, and a good weekend with close friends? Prague caught my attention because of it's spirit of revolution and inspiration that have renewed it in the years since Communism fell. The history, the street art, the impressive gothic architecture highlighted by the October sunlight made it an unforgettable memory.

3- Berlin, Germany. History's impact on this city has refined it into one of the coolest and most impressive cities in Europe. Walking in the footsteps of history and seeing the unabashed acknowledgement of the things that took place there make it sacred and unforgettable.

4- Paris, France. For purely sentimental reasons, Paris was a delight for me to experience. I finally used the three years of French that I took in high school, and to my surprise I remembered a lot more than I thought I would. Paris is rich with history and breathtaking sites. And for the record, rude French people are a virtual myth. They are friendly when their culture is respected, and that attitude is no different than any place else in the world.

5- Amsterdam, Holland. This city, for all of its controversy, was still a fun and beautiful city to me. They have a thriving Red Light District and they sell marijuana in public establishments, but the city itself is beautiful and has an interesting history.

They say that travel is the best education, and let's not forget, I went to Europe to study. My studies are what made my experiences in travelling so rich because we were learning about the impact of the World Wars on Europe and their growth from the turn of the 20th century to present. Europe has seen so much in the last hundred years, and their experiences have made the historical sites and monuments a sacred place for people to go and really contemplate what it truly means to be an active voice in society, whether you are a citizen, or a visitor, or a leader, or a writer, or an artist, or a student, or a soldier, or a descendant, or [fill in your status here]. I had no idea the impact that my studies and my travels would have on my experiences as they intertwined. I am still reeling. I am still in awe. I will always be grateful. I hope that I never forget to make the things I learned apart of my daily experience, no matter where I am in the world.