By: Giuliana David
Hallo! Bonjour! Hola!
First things first, sincerest apologies for being completely MIA. Unfortunately I did not have computer access while on spring break.
Some important background: So I’ve finally returned from my spring break excursion. I went to Berlin, Germany, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Paris, France, and Barcelona, Spain.
It was absolutely eye opening. Overall I spent 10 days traveling. Two days in each place and the other two days are the amount of time I spent on a bus.
The best way for me to break this down to you is to explain each place as if it were a person. Throughout my travels I’ve placed a lot of value on the type of vibes each place gave off. This is based on my own personal experience and vibes may vary per person.
Florence to Berlin: 14-16 hour bus ride
The most memorable part of Berlin was learning about it. Our walking tour was extremely informative and our guide took us to some really interesting places. At one point we were in a quad like area of an apartment complex and our tour guide said “about right where you’re standing is where Hitler’s bunker was”. It felt extremely eerie as he explained the importance of that specific area. The city is filled with memorials, places that played a significant role during the holocaust, and of course the stories of the Berlin wall. It was a breath taking experience. After a day of learning about Berlin, we hit the night life with a pub crawl and ended up at an awesome club. Berlin was a strong way to start off.
Who is Berlin? Berlin is like that one angsty kid you know that still manages to be approachable by pretending to be enthused about all the mainstream stuff you like. Berlin is like the person who knows what’s cool way before anyone else but isn’t a hipster about it. Their style is mainly black and grey. Berlin is just the epitome of the word “cool”
Berlin to Amsterdam:7-8 hour bus ride
I did not know what I was in for when I went to Amsterdam. I knew a lot was legal but I didn’t realize how it would be when I went there. Basically, our hostel was in the middle of the red light district. So our surroundings consisted of various venues for sex shows, brothels with prostitutes standing in full length windows illuminated by a red light (pictured above) as they enticed people to come in. Many years ago, when sailors would come home, women would be waiting for them with lanterns lit with a red light because it was believed to be the most flattering. When there wasn’t a brothel or a sex show venue, there were coffeeshops. A lot of coffeeshops. Not your average coffeeshop of course. Coffeeshops are the places where you can get marijuana in almost any form. You can buy it as is, you can buy it in an edible (weed baked/cooked into a certain food), you can get it pre-rolled, so on and so forth. The motto of Amsterdam is that if it’s legal it will be easier to regulate. So all of this stuff may sound like quite the recipe for a wild night out, but there are strict regulations in order to maintain safety. The contrast between the red light district and other parts of Amsterdam is unreal. The crazy night life may be a huge part of the experience but we also went to the Anne Frank house. It was like flipping a switch. We weren’t getting adrenaline from being surrounded by what we know as illegal anymore. We were serious about getting through the lights, sex, and drugs. We were getting an incomparable rush from staring at Anne Frank’s actual diary.
Who is Amsterdam? Amsterdam is that one friend that just does it all. They literally go out every night and get crazy and wild, but wake up for their 8am the next day and finish the semester with at least a 3.8. They are always begging you to come out with them because they don’t understand that they are actually gifted with superhuman stamina and it’s extremely hard to say no to them even when you know they aren’t the best influence. They’ll get you too drunk for your own good then they’ll help you study for an exam the next day. Absolutely a one of a kind place.
Amsterdam-Paris: 7-8 hour bus ride
This was my city. I was in awe the entire time. I knew that I could live here someday. Once we got to the Eiffel Tower I was speechless. I’ve never felt so lucky. I think a lot of it was created by build up. At this point I had taken 7 years of French and throughout those 7 years I never thought that I would ever even make it to France. It just meant the world to me that I had made it some place I never thought I would be. As to be expected, I’m going to tell you it was beautiful. The architecture was one of my favorites here. Everything was so chic and cute. Something that always hits me hard is when I go to major sites in a different country and I see people on a run. This is life for them. A casual run past the Eiffel Tower is just a part of their daily routine while I’m holding back tears of amazement. I hoped to be in that position someday.
Who is Paris? Well, unfortunately the rumors of Parisian’s hating Americans is very true. Well it was for me, even if there is no hatred, there was plenty of rudeness. Honestly though I don’t blame them. They know they live in a beautiful city and they want to maintain it and keep it for themselves, as they should. I can understand when people say that Americans have a tendency to rob cities from locals with their tourism. Do I think they have a right to be rude and generalize all Americans as nuisances? Of course not, but you just have to power through it and hopefully change their mind (About you individually at least!). Basically, Paris is the person who just always has their shit together, even if they don’t actually, you would never ever know it. No matter what. They don’t have patience for people who don’t have their shit together. They make an effort to look their best and be composed the entire time. They don’t tolerate those who do not make an effort. They are high maintenance because they prioritize quality. They are that one person that you will never see cry and they have mastered the art of the eye roll.
Paris-Barcelona: 12-14 hour bus ride
Barcelona was the best way to end this trip. It was significantly warmer and absolutely beautiful. The people were kind and our hostel was right on the beach. At this point, we were burnt out. It took a lot for us to make sure we get our history dose instead of laying on the beach, but we’re glad we made it. We went to Sagrada Familia (castle pictured above) and it was the first time I had seen a beautiful piece of architecture that wasn’t finished. I think it’s really cool that we’re around while it’s being built. It’s like we’re indirectly a part of it. We also went to this incredible market (fruit at the market pictured above). They sold everything from fruit and veggies to fish and meat and even gummy candies to already prepared food. Also, their night life is ridiculous. They have crazy clubs right on the beach that creates such an awesome atmosphere. I know for a fact I will absolutely make an effort in the future to come back to Barcelona. It’s too good to pass up.
Who is Barcelona? Barcelona is that person who is completely adventurous and finds the coolest places and activities. Chances are high that you’ll never see them in class because they are so busy exploring. They believe that they are getting more out of their own expeditions in comparison to learning standard lessons in school. They have a short attention span because they are so engulfed by their surroundings. They are definitely earthy crunchy to a certain extent. Because Barcelona is beautiful and is known for it’s atmosphere, they would be a person who is very content with being in the moment and is very appreciative of something as simple as a sunny day.
Barcelona-Florence: 14-16 hour bus ride
It was a surreal experience, but I’m happy to be where my heart stays. Florence, Italy.
Who is Florence? Hopefully me by the end of this experience.
mit Liebe/met liefde/avec amour/con amour/with love