It’s been a while since I’ve written anything substantial. Traveling has exhausted my body and mind, and I’ve been struggling to shake a nasty case of blogger’s jet lag.
Despite feeling a little physically and mentally taxed, the past four weeks have been the most exciting times of my life. Trips to Sicily, Paris, and an epic Euro spring break spanning from Barcelona-Dublin-London have further demonstrated the once-in-a-lifetime nature of my study abroad experience.
Everywhere I’ve been has been memorable, and I can tangibly feel my cultural understanding and maturity increasing.
I’ll remember Sicily for it’s natural beauty, delicious seafood, and for unknowingly entering a Palermo gay bar with my friends (we must’ve missed the neon sign reading “Club SEXO” on the way in. After a few drinks “on the house,” we put it all together).
The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and Disneyland Paris were incredible, and I enjoyed the challenges of adapting to the language barrier in France (my first destination where I couldn’t always get by with English, Spanish, or broken Italian). While a few locals made me feel unwelcome at times, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that France’s rumored anti-American sentiment is exaggerated by most.
Barcelona truly is the party capital of the world. Three nights of Charlie-Sheen like raging were awesome, but my time in this enormous (and virtually sleepless) city made me appreciate the comforts of my more walkable, and laid back home city of Florence.
Currently, Dublin is my favorite place I’ve visited on this European adventure. I’ve never met people with as much pride in their culture (and their livers) as the Irish. Great live music and the world’s best Guinness made the Temple Bar nightlife unbelievable. I only wish I had more time to venture out of the city and through Ireland’s countryside. I’d love to return in the future and truly “dig” the whole country in a Kerouac-like way (reading On the Road while “on the road” has me constantly reflecting on my travels).
It felt like I spent most of my time in the UK “minding gaps” in London’s Underground. I mastered the rails while visiting historic wonders like “Big Ben,” Tower Bridge, Royal Albert Hall (where I caught an awesome Arctic Monkeys’ concert), and my favorite spot-Abbey Road. As a Beatlemaniac, it was surreal to walk across this iconic street. For laughs and respect to my rock hero Paul McCartney, I crossed barefoot and with a cigarette in hand. Let’s just say it may be a while before I change my Facebook photo.
With just over a month left on my abroad experience, I can say say my travels have, and will continue to change my life. I’m more aware, independent, and full of life than ever before, and I will strive to carry this overseas when I return to the States. Once I recover from my jet lag, that is.