I have never been much of a traveler. Sure, I have been to New York City quite a few times and have visited Honduras and Costa Rica, but for the most part, my travel experience is limited. So coming to Europe and making travel plans for myself was a daunting thought.
But, so far, I have managed to survive. In the past two weeks I have visited two famous European cities: London, and Paris. Both of the cities were beautiful and intriguing in their own right. And, I can undoubtedly say that these weekends were some of the best experiences of my life.
To put it simply, London is the most incredible city I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. It was clean, had beautiful architecture, and I simply felt at home. Combining all that with the fact that the royal family lives there and there are oodles of attractive men with accents, I did not want to leave! While in the city, I had the opportunity to explore some fascinating historical monuments such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Platform 9¾ in Kings Cross Station. There is so much to do in the city and I had so little time. Of course, my trip to London also featured typical London weather. It was very blustery and rainy. And, in pure rookie fashion, I did not carry an umbrella with me. So, it was a wet and cold weekend. But regardless of the weather, I am already excited to return.
London was also my first experience with public transportation. Thankfully, it was a positive one! When people say that the Tube (London’s subway system) is incredibly easy to use, they’re telling the truth. With a Tube map in hand, I was soon traveling like a pro. I even had an English woman ask me for directions. To me, that was a symbol of my public transportation successes.
Paris, however, was a different story. Although the city was gorgeous and eclectic, the language barrier was immense. I quickly learned that my fourth grade French would not get me very far. However, other than the inevitable language struggles, I enjoyed exploring the city. Over the course of two days I visited the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, and many of the other sites that Paris is famous for. It was an action-packed (and extremely cold) weekend, but absolutely worth it to get to experience one of the most important European cities.
While my weekends were busy, the experience of traveling is definitely worth it. To know that I have successfully navigated two major European cities makes me very proud. Thanks to these trips I have become more independent and able to conquer daunting things (like public transportation). Prior to studying abroad, I didn’t like walking around Newark at night by myself. But now, after having walked alone in foreign cities in the dark and survived, I feel that I am ready to conquer UD by night!