What makes an adventure? To me, it is exciting and unfamiliar experiences, a little bit of hardship, and good companions to help you through it all.
By that definition, EuroTour was certainly the biggest adventure of my exchange. We battled sleep deprivation and illness, getting by on food of sporadic quantity and quality, as we explored the most renowned places on the European continent. We sailed the Mediterranean and drove through the night to reach our destinations, the bonds between us all growing stronger by the day.
Perhaps it seems that I am exaggerating, but I will allow you to judge that over the following few weeks as I relate the plentiful stories and beautiful experiences that EuroTour offered. Until then, I will give a brief summary of my thoughts on each destination.
Paris – Parts lived up to the romance, but it is a modern city and the infrastructure, grime and traffic sorta broke the illusion. Not in an entirely bad way, though, for Paris seemed to be the deepest city. There was so much going on behind the tourism. I want to return and dive into the real Parisian culture.
Barcelona – In this Catalan city, I had the most fun disjoint of our actually itinerary. Something about Barcelona sets you at ease and I simply enjoyed sitting in cafes with friends or relaxing along the beach.
Rome – Italy’s capital was they only city that was exactly what I thought it would be. It was just as romantic as I could have hoped and had a more honest, local feel than either of the previous two cities.
Naples – Legendary for being the most chaotic city in Europe, Naples certainly was crazy, but it was the first that seemed that way because of its inhabitants not the tourists. I feel like I got a real taste of Italy in Naples.
Florence – Here I could most envision myself living. Monumental architecture gives Florence the sense of being a capital city like Rome, while its smaller streets are more manageable and its culture more clearly defined.
Venice – Simply the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life. There was not a street in Venice that was not as picturesque as the photos you’ve seen. The city is frozen in time from its golden age as a wealthy medieval trading hub… at the cost of not having a modern identity. Venice is a city for tourists. As pretty as it is, I could at most spend a week there since the city offers nothing beyond sightseeing.
I will explore each of these impressions further in later posts, along with an abundance of photos and little stories.