I recently explored Europe in about 10 days through a travel group called Bus2Alps. This trip was properly named The Northern Loop, in honor of the five countries we traveled to. From late Thursday night of April 6th through the late afternoon of Easter Sunday, I ate, admired, and adventured my way through Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris.
Day One: Prague, Czech Republic
We arrived in Prague in the early morning after a nine-hour bus ride from Florence, Italy.
Day Two: Prague, continued
We saw the famous John Lennon Wall. Fun fact: John had never actually visited the wall, but because his music and messages were so peaceful during the Vietnam War, the college students who made it named it after him. The wall was filled with various colors, messages, and artwork. I fell in love with all the creativity, so I had to add my own mark. I spray painted the phrase “Make Love Not War” on the wall, and other visitors liked it so much that they took pictures with my contribution. It just goes to show how our words can really bring us all together.
We then crossed over the Charles Bridge and went to a traditional Czech restaurant, where I happily consumed potato soup and dumplings. After a great meal, we went over to the Easter Market of Prague where I consumed the thing that would give any person, young or old, a cavity: a Trdelník. It was similar to a churro that had sugar, cinnamon, and almonds on the outside and ice cream of your choice in the inside. Amazing! Hands down, I wanted to eat three or more of them but had to have some self-control. After all, it was only day two of our trip!
Day Three: Berlin, Germany
We departed from Prague early in the morning, arriving arrived in Berlin early Sunday afternoon. After grabbing some food, our tour guides took us to a market that is only open on Sundays. If markets like this existed in America, they could consume all of my money almost like this one did. There were stands that had random items for 1 Euro and denim jackets for less than 30 Euro. I was like a kid in a candy store, but I actually only bought things for friends and family.
Day Four: Berlin, Continued
Through the rest of the tour I saw the remains of the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, and a few other attractions. Once we wrapped up, we ventured back to the hostel to prepare for the rest of the evening, where we visited a famous beer hall in and enjoyed a traditional meal. By midnight we were off to our next destination, Amsterdam.
Day Five: Amsterdam, Netherlands
After our tour, we traveled about 45 minutes outside of the city to explore the largest tulip garden in the world – and when I say it was the largest, I mean it. Everywhere your eyes landed they met a new patch of tulips. The weather was beautiful. I definitely recommend this if you take a trip to Amsterdam! After we grabbed dinner and went to a carnival that was happening right down the road from our hostel.
Day Six: Amsterdam, Continued
This was my favorite day of our trip to Amsterdam (and is also my Dad’s birthday!). We started off by going to the famous “I am Amsterdam” sign and I got my various photos on the letters. Let me tell you, this was not the easiest thing for me to get up on.
I then ventured out on my own to visit the Anne Frank House. For those of you who don’t know the history, Anne and her family were victims of the Holocaust. Her diary was found, detailing her life from before the war to the near end of her life. You can only imagine what it was like to actually go through that and see where it all began and ended for Anne. I was thankful to have gotten into the museum, as it happened to be Holocaust Remembrance Week. Tickets had been sold out for months, but I was lucky enough to wait on line to find that I could enter. I definitely was happy to say that I did it myself and I met some cool people along the way.
Day 7: The road to Paris, but not without stopping in Brussels, Belgium first!
Shannon, Bethanne and I checked out the castle that was just at the top of the hill from where we were. It was just as gorgeous as the many postcards I saw! We then walked through a beautiful park that was just across the street from the castle.
Before we knew it, we were back on the bus and on our way to our last stop, Paris!
Day 8: Paris, France
Day 9: Paris, Continued
I purposely planned to stay an extra day in Paris while the group headed back to
Florence, so I checked out of the hostel and met up with Kobi near the Eiffel Tower, where the Airbnb I was staying at was also conveniently located. The Eiffel Tower is so beautiful; I can’t truly describe the feelings that went through my mind as I approached it. After seeing it in all its glory, Kobi took me to the famous love-lock bridge, which is now lock-less since they were weighing the bridge down.
We met up with one of my friends from URI who is studying abroad in Paris, Bekka! Although it was a quick meet-up, we grabbed drinks together and walked away learning new things about each others lives since being abroad! It was awesome getting to catch up with an old friend in a new city.
Shortly after, Kobi and I got Kebabs and headed over to see the Eiffel Tower at night. This was, once again, an experience that words cannot describe.
Day 10: Headed back to Florence, Italy
After a wild and amazing two days in Paris, I traveled back to Florence. In my 10 days of traveling, I saw 5 countries, met new and saw old friends and family, ate my weight in new foods, and have memories that will last forever. I know that I will be back to these places and who knows who will join me the next time, but I am excited to see what life will bring.
Special shout out to Papa Opong-Wadeer for being the greatest dad ever and paying for this trip for me, and to Kobi for hosting me for two days in Paris! I know no matter where I go or what I do you both will be cheering me on!