Friday, July 22, 2005

My European Adventure

Well, it was mostly a fairy tale vacation, although there was most definitely Schlepping involved. I had no idea what Europe had in store for me. The only countries I've been to are Spain and Israel, and we weren't hitting up either of those countries on our journey. This trip was days of sun and wonderful food, resting on trains, and planes and lots of coach buses. However, suffice to say I found the fun and excitement through the exhaustion of moving around and hopping from town to town. Hopefully this play by play won't be too painful to sit through, and if so, please go waste what's left of your brain power on something productive.

I arrived in Milan on the 13th of July, ready to see Alex after being apart for most of the summer. I came through the double doors and he was no where to be seen. I walked up and down and waited, looked over peoples' shoulders and thought maybe he was playing some kind of evil trick on me, that maybe he was hiding. Well, within 10 minutes I see him flying across the room with a gigantic smile glued to his cheeks; and there after the excitement of Europe subsided instantly with no knowledge of where I was or what time of day it must have been.

Eventually we left the airport and he began to tell me the lengthy story of why he was late and about the various modes of transportation he needed to take to get to me at the airport. Throughout the trip we seemed to end up in airports that were not very close to things we needed to get to, ie: hotels, trains, metros, etc. Although Munich turned out to be perfect and everything was close by. More details of that later.

Milan was disgusting, gross in fact. Dirty and hot, much like D.C. in the summer. After relxing at a hotel for the afternoon, showering and feeling as though I was slightly human again, we eventually made our way to the train station and began on our adventure. We spent time on trains passing through European country sides and farm lands. But once we hit our first destination we were ready to chill out and see the sights.

First stop was Monaco in the Monte Carlo area. I have a cousin that lives there, we stayed in his building and actually got to stay in a maids quarters and have our own little place for two nights. I got to know my cousin who I haven't seen since I was a toddler. He treated us like kings, gave us a place to stay for two nights, kept putting alcohol in our hands and treated us to meals. He took us out with him and his girlfriend so see their friends. Alex and I hung out on this little secluded beach, where we ate and watched the sunset on the water. We spent time on the beach there and went into the tip of France for a few hours. The town was beautiful and colorful, with Astin Martians and Mercedes for days, Ferarris everywhere, the most amazing cars I've ever laid eyes on.

Next stop was Italy. We hung out in La Spezia and a little area called Cinque Terre. We ate wonderful pasta, drank amazing wine, watched a puppet show in Italian, and had the best Tiramisu of my life. The town was peaceful and angelic. A little fishing town just on the tip of the Italian Riviera.

Continuing along the coast of Italy we then ventured toward Florence and went to the Ufzzi, and saw some incredible art. Florence was hopping with tourists and shopping, and we saw the famous Pointo Vechio, the bridge with the shops located on it, the last standing bridge of its kind after WWII. The town was full of life and energy, and I would have loved to stay longer.

Venice became the spot on the trip that was most suprising. People told me before I left that it was crappy and I wouldn't like it. Boy were they wrong. It was magnificent and the Grande Canal was fascinating. Our boat trip was fun and we stopped at the very end and walked around. We stumbled upon the beach where there was a bar with music and volleyball and lots of queen size beds everywhere. People dancing on the beds and lying on the beds, and dancing in the sand. It was a really neat private beach. We checked out the scene until the mosquitoes came around. We found one of the squares where people go after dinner hour to listen to music and people watch. We danced a little and just listened to the live music.

Germany was last on our trip and we had no idea that Muich was going to be as amazing as it was. We had a long travel day to get there and it was coach bus after coach bus until we reached our destination. We spent time at Dachau and the fears and emotions of stepping on the grounds of a concentration camp flooded my eyes. We had a tour guide who was so incredibly knowledgeable of the camp. I ended that three and a half hour tour feeling as though 80% of what he had told me I didn't know before hand. I felt it was important to go and see what my family survived. I can't imagine what life must have been like for them. But I feel as though they were watching me, that they knew I was there visiting the camp. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done.

We took train after train, and the last one we were on was a dream. It was fancy with electric sliding glass doors and a bathroom big enough to spin around in. It had a bar cart where you could go and drink to your hearts content. We sat with two seats on each side facing inward to another two seats with a table in the middle. And my seat reclined. I just sat there staring at Alex, listening to my music, checking out Germany through the windows of the high speed train. In that moment I couldn't remember being more content, more relaxed, or more happy. It's kind of funny realizing that treating yourself is in fact a good thing and not a crime.

I'll look back on my trip to Europe and remember that I was in good company, seeing the most amazing places, eating by the water, swimming in the sea, while schlepping my luggage around and sweating up a storm. Europe was fantastic and I cannot wait to return.


Anonymous Katie said...

Now, see if you watched Sex and the City you would have been prepared for the bed/bar scene in Venice. There is allegedly a bar called Bed in NYC that was featured. Anyway, yeah Venice was amazing and you should have listened to me. And about Munich too. Hopefully you all went to the Hofbräuhaus there and got some big steins and saw the very muscular men carrying them.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Alli said...

The Hofbräuhaus was incredible. We have pictures of a dead pig on a platter with people dancing around it, and also of my double-fisting mine and Alexs' liters of beer. It was the most amazing way to end the fabulous trip

9:52 AM  
Blogger jon said...

After we paid for our kids new jersey summer day camp we found it tough to recover! I totally agree with you!

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living vicariously through other people's blogs... Oh to be able to actually go on a vacation!

9:37 PM  

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