So, after a week of traveling in Europe, I learned a lot of things. First of all, traveling stresses me out. You know, the normal stuff–how am I supposed to be affording this? (everyone tells you traveling in Europe is cheap, they’re lying.) What if I miss my bus? (which I did…) What if they don’t speak English? (or as I learned in Britain, what if I can’t understand their English?) Traveling brings on a whole slew of worries, frustrations, and difficult situations. But in the end, it does pay off.
My first landing spot was Cardiff (via London). Due to an unfortunate oversight on my part, I missed my first bus, and had to spend about 100 euros to correct that error. Looking back, that experience probably had an effect on how I viewed the UK for the first 48 hours before I put it behind me. But after letting my nerd-self have a little time in the sun visiting the Doctor Who Experience/Museum, and setting myself back on the schedule I had originally planned, I felt a little better.
On the bus back to London, I had to endure about three hours of two young children who decided that the whole bus wanted to hear them scream and cry the entire time. I kind of forgot that’s what normal children are like in the rest of the world. I arrived in London and spent three hours trying to get to my hostel without spending 40 pounds (about 80 dollars). Finally, I was introduced to the ‘underground’ or ‘tube’, which managed to get me there relatively inexpensively.
The next day I committed to seeing London. I went into the tube station and the people were so friendly and helpful to my completely lost and utterly confused self. It was so strange having people be so smiley and willing to offer their assistance instead of waiting for you to ask for it. As I continued through the day, I realized that London doesn’t believe in self direction for tourists. Street signs are hidden in the strangest places and there’s no maps hardly anywhere! So I wandered around a lot, kind of disoriented, lost, and just kind of staring at random buildings I passed by. I did manage to make it to see Big Ben (which I found a bit anticlimactic) and into a huge crowd in front of Buckingham Palace.
After that experience, I was done with London (at least for the time being). I took a bus into Oxford and met a friend who just finished a semester at the university there, and we wandered around looking at all the pretty buildings, and seeing the sights of Oxford. It might have been because I had a guide, but I definitely liked Oxford a lot more than London. So the next day, I went in again. Despite England’s flaws, it was so pleasant to be in a country that values tea more than coffee! And who shares my punny sense of humor 😉
Now that I’d seen Cardiff, London, and Oxford, my friend and I took a flight over to Prague in the Czech Republic, where we stayed at a lovely hostel called the Czech Inn (hehehe!). Wednesday, my friend and I headed out to see the sights of Prague. We walked up to the Eiffel Tower and climbed it, getting a fantastic birds-eye view of Prague. Then walked down to see the Astrological clock at the hour when all the saints tick around. Afterwards, we climbed the clock tower and got the most incredible view of the city at sunset, as the sun covered the city in a soft glow. It was completely magical.
And now I’m just back in my Parisian paradise, relaxing for the last couple days of my spring break.