A year ago today I was in my dorm room in Amsterdam. I was sitting on my computer, unable to stop shaking of excitement, finalizing plans for my solo Eurotrip.
Having been given a three week long break from classes (something unheard of in the states) I decided to take full advantage of it. For three weeks I travelled solo across Europe, visiting friends of mine in all different places. It was the experience of a lifetime and I still think about it frequently, as I know I will for years to come.
Therefore, to celebrate my one year anniversary of my solo Eurotrip, I bring back from the blog grave, “The Solo Eurotrip”.
Much to the jealousy of all other study abroad students, my school gave us a two week fall break, which I used to carry out my cliché solo mini eurotrip voyage. I traveled around visiting friends in Rome, Antibes and Bologna and having quite the wild adventures along the way.
I’d like to take a minute here to just share some of my thoughts and lessons from my last two weeks of travel. Hopefully it either amuses or helps at least someone out there on his or her future European explorations.
-It is a SMALL WORLD. You will run into people you never expect. Like possible a girl you knew in Kindergarten, in a random restaurant in Bologna, Italy.
-Venice is amazing. For a day. It’s a fantastic city, but a small one.
-Visiting other countries, especially ones where you don’t speak the language, will teach you many a lesson in humiliation and utter embarrassment. Accept that you WILL make a fool of yourself and it’ll make everything a whole lot easier.
-You can count on the trains in France being late. Always. Same goes for Italy.
-Go to the touristy spots! There’s a reason everybody wants to see them.
-Shower. Wash your clothes when you have a chance,especially your socks.
-Don’t forget to sleep.
-If everyone else is busy, go out on your own. Sometimes your camera can be the best travel buddy.
– Dancing with one of your best friends with two cross dressing men blasting some Whitney Houston is better than having some stranger grind on you in a dimly lit club. Period.
-Buying a drink at a bar every time you need to use their bathroom is good for their business, not yours.
-Wine is good. Drink up.
-Food is great. Eat up.
-Don’t go to the Sistine Chapel expecting to just be able to see the Sistine Chapel. It will take approximately four hours to get through the entire Vatican museum and the zillions of Japanese tour groups inside.
-Americans laugh louder than anyone else, anywhere. People will stare.
-Roman men are confident and forward. It is not a good combination. Avoid eye contact and keep your path.
-Don’t wear something that shows your knees when you go to the Vatican.
-Getting lost is okay. Sometimes it takes you to the best places.
-Places that sell bus tickets in Rome close before the buses stop running. Sometimes they also just run out of tickets. Be prepared.
-Sweden is not on the Euro. Don’t be alarmed if your sandwich rings up at 50 something.
-Try to pack light enough that you can lift your bag above your head. If you can’t, make sure you know how to say “Please help me, I have weak arms” in several different languages.
-Take lots of pictures, write stuff down.
-Solo adventuring is fun, you learn a lot about yourself. However, in my personal opinion, life and travel are always better when you can share them. Go out with your friends. Make new ones. The unexpected adventures with people you love are the ones that you will never forget.
-Oh and finally, Italian drivers are the scariest. Ever.