Considering I’ve been gone for four months and I’m leaving today, I figured a good ol’ farewell/review post should be in order. Here are some of my favourite and/or most memorable part of Europe.
La Rambla, in Barcelona. On either side, cars and busses are whistling by. In the middle, locals are dressed in all sorts of bizarre costumes to make a buck. For some reason, street performers are really popular. The first day or two, you’ll stare. After, you totally ignore them. But there are some weird costumes…
Cinque Terre. The only bit of exercise I got in Europe! While the five towns of the Cinque Terre were completely overrun by tourists, you could sometimes escape them on the trails. Actually, the trails were favourite part of my four days there. Invigorating and breathtaking, you can stop at any given town and take a dip to cool off. Come in the shoulder season though. While you may not notice a difference between shoulder and high season in the bigger cities, in smaller destinations like Cinque Terre, it gets annoying really fast.
Croatia was one highlight that stands out simply because I wasn’t in the city and I wasn’t in the country. I booked a week in Croatia because I thought I should at least step out of the EU for a little while, so it looks like I’m trying to reset my 90-day clock. Whether it will work for me is still a mystery. But what a way to do it! Croatia was breathtaking to say the least, but sooo chilled out. Because I didn’t speak Croatian and because there weren’t many English-speaking tourists, I was in the minority again. No one hassles and everyone’s laid back. The locals are so warm. It was also great to share this someone else, MAdeline from White Rock, BC.
In Amsterdam. Amsterdam isn’t a complicated city, but when you’ve sampled the local specialities, it can turn into the Twilight Zone. Take riding in the country for example, we spent four hours just trying to locate ourselves so we could go home, which then took another two hours. Didn’t help that the entire time I had Radiohead playing in my iPod.
While I’m firm believer in looking up local festivals and planning a trip around those festivals, I arrived in Paris (only for one day on my way back to Rome) on the last day of the Tour de France. Best coincidence ever.
I had an amazing time in Paris. An absolutely magical day! From left: Australia, South Africa, Irish, Canada and Australia. Photo: Andy “Australia”.
On my way back to Croatia, I ran into four Australian boys. After spending four hours in a French town between two trains, they had convinced me to join them in Rome for a few days. But, who decides to join four strangers to a foreign city in a matter of a few hours?! I figured, though, that if I didn’t go see Rome with them, I probably wouldn’t do it on my own. What a way to see Rome, though. I very fun few days!!
In Venice, a sign pointing to la Piazza San Marco. Venice is lots of things. It can be a seaside town, like Vancouver, with a boardwalk and waves splashing onto the sidewalk. It can be a canal city, like Amsterdam, quiet and serene. Or, it can be a corn maze. Getting lost in Venice is an experience in itself. If you play safe and don’t wander off-course, you’ll see the postcard. Take the alleyways and stray off a bit. Hopefully, there are tiny signs like this to guide you when you’re totally lost.
Special shout out to Karen, Lee and Rohan Wood; Mike the Vancourite I met in Barcelona; Oscar from Barcelona; Phoebe and Ellie, the Irish wwoofers; Bernard; Bernard’s friend; my roommate in Genoa; that couple from San Diego I met in the Cinque Terre; Pierangelo and Cristina from Vetriceto; Mattia Marella; Jilly, the canadian chick who worked at the hostel in Split; Madeline from Croatia; Kevin Kennett; Emmett “Irish”, Julia “Australia”, Andy “Australia”, “Holland”, “South Africa”; Will, Simon, Tommy, Harry and Ed for an amazing time in Rome; Dario, Barbara and Rocco from Lolmaia; Dafne the Countess and Doughie from Certaldo; Warren and Dana, the Texans; and huge shout out to everyone from WWOOF#5: Yael Julie “YJ” Fischer; AnnaLisa; Sian; Sophie; Cris; Martina; Moris; Daviday and Louise; Mauro the chef; Patti the chef; Theodora; Lititsia; Benjamin; Pushpa; Beatrice; Benjamin; Tess; and Michael Moritz (I suppose). I know I’m forgetting people, so thanks to all those I met in Europe!
Most of all thanks to Mom, Dad, Hugo and Simon who all supported me doing this even though I was kind of a crazy idea… Can’t wait to get back home!!!