28 Days Abroad

I left Missouri May 21st. My first stop was Rome, Italy, where I spent 4 days visiting as much as was possible in such a short period.  My next destination was Paris, France, where I was lucky enough to have 14 days’ worth of adventures. The next stop was Caen, where I would stay for 5 days. My final European destination was London and I was there for 3 days.  I returned to Kansas City, where I came from, June 17th. These 26 days plus the 2 days I spent on airplanes and in airports are my 28 days abroad.

Claire and I visited  St. Peter's Square

Claire and I visited St. Peter’s Square

Rome was an experience, to say the least! When Claire and I arrived in the airport we were immediately stricken by the feeling that Rome would be a challenge for us. Even though Claire can speak some German and I can speak some French the only four words we really knew in Italian were ciao, arrivederci, grazie, and scusi. While hello, goodbye, thank you, and excuse me are very important phrases to use, there are certainly many more words and phrases necessary for successful communication. Although we spent 4 days isolated and challenged we learned a lot and we saw some amazing sites. The Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and countess other wonders.100_5952

Once we arrived in Paris things seemed easy!! Maybe this was because I speak some French, or because most of the people we encountered speak English really well. The simplicity of navigating the city, thanks to its well-developed public transportation, surely enhanced our experience. Regardless of the reasons, Paris was a lot of fun since day 1.

Paris! The city of lights, love, and romance. There are certainly a lot of lights here, and surely plenty of public affection. However, above all, Paris is a city like most any other. The population of this great city is over 2.2 million people.  Just like Chicago, New York, or even Rome, Paris can be quite dirty despite its idealistic and beautiful reputation. Also, Paris smells. That being said, I found Paris to be wonderful!100_6319

There are so many distinct parts to Paris. Each neighborhood offers something new and usually exciting to explore. There were seemingly endless opportunities there whether it was a day exploring different museums or a night roaming to different clubs and bars. Courtney and I discovered that the first Sunday of the month all the museums in Paris are free to enter so we tried our best to take advantage of this. We were going to museum hop. Sadly, we only made it to one museum that day because we got caught up in enjoying the exhibits for VanGogh, Monet ,Renoir, Duras, and Georges Seurat that we never made it to another museum. It was awesome!

Caen, which is in northwestern France, was a very different experience from Paris. Although it is a very large city it had a more of a rural feel to it. The hotel where we stayed only had wireless internet in the lobby. We arrived in Caen on a Sunday when nothing in France seems to be open. Plus the public transportation stopped running much earlier than it did in Paris. I did not like Caen at first, but seeing the D-Day beaches and learning more about the battles that occurred there absolutely made the trip. Being in such beautiful places while imagining all the terrible things that happened there was just eerie.IMG_0774

London was the final destination in my adventure. Everyone is this city is super polite and talkative. Everywhere you go people want to talk, and they are immediately eager to help you have as much fun as possible. My favorite part of my visit was playing football in the park and hanging out there for hours.IMG_0686

Overall this trip has been a really great experience. I feel like I have had the opportunity to experience many new things and meet new people. Airports and buses seem to be a wonderful place to talk to people and learn about where they are from. Even just hanging out with the different people from my own campus was awesome! I got to interact with people I may have never crossed paths with had it not been for this trip. I also feel like a pro at traveling now. Most things that could go wrong on this trip have for me at some point. I experienced lost luggage, a flight delay, a weather delay, a terminal closed due to suspicious unattended baggage, a missed flight, and I have slept in an airport twice now.