Now that I’ve got all that tour guide/ reporter stuff done that I like to write but you hate to read here is a little more personal account of my recent backpacking trip.
The trip started first class style. Literally. When we got on our first train we found ourselves in a first class sleeping car. We were like little kids looking and touching everything. At one point I was writing in my journal and my friend who was with me flipped the light switch and the cabin went totally black and she said “oops. well that works.” and we laughed for a good bit of that train just from that moment. It was very nice because we knew that there was a lot of potential stress coming up in the next few days.
Me in my first class bunk
We got to Barcelona At about 11 o’clock in the afternoon and the weather was perfect. The sun was out and the wind was cool. I was so happy to use my sunglasses because it had been so long since the last time I needed them. I loved Barcelona! The beach, the street performers, the buildings.
Chillin’ at the beach
There were so many trees and just wonderful details on everything to be seen. After three days there I could have been done but the rest of the trip was still to come. In our hostel the last night I met three parisian girls who out of sheer chance go to school that is right next door to mine! What chance! They were wonderful and we have all agreed to get together soon.
Then it was off to Italy but because of the way the trains are we had to go back to Paris to catch another train thus putting us on trains for a little over 24 hours. We were only going to be in Paris for about 30 minutes but then we looked at our tickets and saw that our train was not leaving from the station at which we arrived but at one all the way across the city, a trip that usually takes about 40 minutes; we had to do in 30 and then get on our train or we would miss connections and reservation ect ect. So we RAN and somehow after I said idontknowhowmany Hail Marys we made it in record-breaking time it was AMAZING. My heart still rushes think about what we had to do to catch that train and that we actually pulled it off.
We got on a train to Munich and I slept for 10 streight hours, I barely woke up when we arrived. When we got on our train to Italy I got to change clothes and “shower” with baby wipes and we settled down to cross the Alps.
When we got to Venice it was night-time so it was really interesting to enter the city this way. We rode to the Hostel of a boat and went almost around the full curve of the island from the station. I felt like I had gone back in time, my mind was wild with mideival figures ridding in Gondals and chasing each other madly trough the maze of narrow passages. It was one of those sensations that are trapped between fear and fantasy that makes your heart jump into your throat and a huge smile paste itself on your face. As we traveled the streets that night with a friend that we made at the hostel I felt like I was in Edgar Allen Poe’s stories of torture and madness in Venice. It is just one of those places that make your mind run wild at night. The lighting and the way that the streets never seem to lead you in the right direction is maddening and exciting all at the same time.
Eating Pizza in Italy
The next day was a rather downer though. It was raining and the city was somewhat dull and frustrating. We were trying to get to one place in particular for a certain time and there was no way to cross the river when we finally had found our way there. It was just totally frustrating and I was soaking wet. We were ready to get our of there by 8 and our train didn’t even leave until 11!
So then we were off to Munich for a second time so by then we had spent somewhere around 10 hours in Munich. I really enjoy that city. Nothing is expensive, everything is easy to understand and to find and it is just a whimsical culture. A quick stop-off in Frankfurt had us in Amsterdam in no time.
I was happy to be on the last leg of my trip and just sort of relaxed in Amsterdam and observed some. It wasn’t my favorite part of the trip. However Amsterdam is a very interesting place historically and I did enjoy all of the trivial facts that I learned there. I was very excited to buy tulips on our way out because I love tulips and wish I could always have them in my apartment. Plus my roommate is from Holland so I knew she would appreciate them too.
All in all it was a great little tour of western Europe. I learned a lot about myself in the whole thing and I pushed myself to behave differently than I usually do in certain situations under pressure which is a start on one of my resolutions for life.
I’ll remember it for the rest of my life and I can’t wait to do it again!!!!