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EuroTrip 2011

Posted by kevinwolz on January 13, 2011

Wooooooooo….back in the U.S.! While I haven’t posted in a month, no, I wasn’t “taken” on my trip. In fact, everything went really well. After finals, I headed to a small town in the Polish highlands (a trip that included delayed flights, mean flight attendants, and busing halfway across Poland), where I spent a week catching up with family that I hadn’t seen in almost three years. There was a lot of talking and even more eating. It felt SO good to get away from it all and just relax. No phone. No computer. No calendar. No plans. Just family, food, and fun. Experiencing Christmas traditions in a new culture was also really neat. You really can’t put your own culture in context until you dive into others. I really enjoyed my time in Poland and can’t wait to get back there to see everyone again.

From there, I flew to London to meet two of my friends from school. Highlights include fish & chips, cool accents, old pubs, public transportation better than I’ve ever experienced, and, of course all the typical touristy stuff that I’m not going to painstakingly list here. We also managed to get lost in the famous Hyde Park, turning a 7mi run into a 13mi run. It was well worth it , however, as the Queen personally apologized for the lack of signs over a cupa in ol’ Buck.

Next, we headed to the beautiful island of Ireland. After renting a car on the west coast, we roundaboutly (get it? they have roundabouts in Europe!) made our way across the country to Dublin over the course of three days. The country of Ireland was just how I had stereotypically expected it. Very green, very cloudy, and lined with stone walls. One friend’s family was nice enough to house and feed us on two of the nights, so I got to meet some of his legit leprechaun cousins. Dublin was a really neat, quaint city, but the highlight of this country was definitely bringing in the New Year by climbing up a 2000-foot mountain on one of Ireland’s only sunny days to catch magnificent views of cliffs and islands on the Atlantic coast. It was crazy. Now I can scratch that one off the bucket list.

France was next on the list, as my friend had to return to his studies abroad. So, he obediently returned to school as the other two of us explored Paris, catching up with us whenever classes allowed. Once again, we managed to hit all the typical tourist destinations, with the only hiccup being that the top deck of the Eiffel Tower was closed (we at least got the second deck). Along with all that good history and the great sights, other highlights include countless crepes, a hostel full of neat people, desserts so good you can barely finish, and running a workout past a brigade of prostitutes. Outside of Paris, we also spent a few days in Versailles, running the countless trails around the beautiful Chateau and getting a feel for what life is really like when studying abroad (at least for this guy). Eventually, we even succumbed to a bit of shopping, buying some deep V’s and scarves which will be put to good use picking up girls this spring.

It’s really hard to pinpoint any particular favorite part of the trip. Everything was so great, from the random funny sights on the streets, to the grandest palaces and priceless paintings…not to mention the intangible cultural experiences and historical observations. Reading something in a book or seeing a picture online just isn’t the same. I very much hope that I will have the opportunity to enjoy similar experiences like this in the future. Thanks to my parents for making this happen, and thanks to Declan for being such a good excuse to hop the pond!

While the trip was great, it really is nice to be home and see family again. I’m spending this week catching up with family I didn’t get to see over the holidays and preparing for the semester ahead. I head back down to school this weekend, and class starts on Tuesday. My feelings are kind of conflicted on this point…Chambana is just not the same as Paris. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends again, as well as getting the ball rolling on my summer plans. Costa Rica is starting to really solidify in my mind. A decision will come in the next few weeks.

I can’t believe 2011 is already here. Here come those awkward few weeks where you still write 2010 in all your dates. You know what I’m talking about. Just stick with pencil.

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One Response to “EuroTrip 2011”

  1. Joan said

    What a great experience for you, Kevin. Put it on your bucket list that some day you have to visit Bella Italia for the 25% of you that is Italian. You will love the art, architecture and sculptures found in Florence & Rome and the great food found everywhere.
    GB

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