European Adventure: #87, #119, #127, #144, #197, #274, #280

3 years ago, on July 20th, 2014, I left Norway and returned to the U.S., thus ending a two month European adventure. During that time, I was fortunate to travel to several different countries and got to cross quite a few items off of my bucket list.

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#87 Visit 221B Baker Street: if you don’t understand the reference, I don’t think we could be friends. I have been in love with Sherlock Holmes stories for many years. The first stop on my trip was London, so I had to make this one happen. Most people traveling to London make visiting the Harry Potter museum or Platform 9 3/4 a must-do, but not me. Visiting 221B was priority numero uno for me. In an earlier post, I included a picture of myself trying on the typical Sherlock hat — it was taken here inside the museum and shop. I didn’t buy the hat, but I did get a Baker Street sign to hang in my room and remind me where I really belong. As you can see in the picture, the day was rainy (as many are in London), but I didn’t care one bit.

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#119 Visit the Roman Colosseum: this is without a doubt the coolest building in Rome. While I can’t say that I would return to the ancient city (far too crowded and touristy for my taste), I don’t regret making the trip and getting to see this famous building. I had seen pictures of the exterior, obviously, but walking around inside the arena was so unexpectedly interesting. I would definitely recommend taking a tour and learning cool facts about the place because the history is fascinating. I enjoyed just being in that space and opening my imagination, picturing what it would have looked like and felt like to experience the live events. I was so hyped up by this that I watched Gladiator on the hotel WiFi that night with my friends.

20140609_152151#127 Visit the Sistine Chapel: no photography is permitted in the Sistine Chapel, but I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of it online. What I can say though, is that it is extraordinary to view in person. We’re all familiar with The Creation of Adam as the central image, but the entire ceiling is so much more grand and extremely detailed. All you can do is stare up in awe. Vatican City itself is incredible and ornate. The long winding hallways that lead to the famous room in the Sistine Chapel are filled with art, every inch of the walls and ceilings more decorated than you can imagine. The picture I’ve included is just one of those gorgeous hallways.

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#144 Have a beer in Germany: of all the places I stopped along my European adventure, Munich was by far where I had the most fun. When we got into town, we quickly found out that it was Munich’s Birthday! We certainly didn’t plan for that, but gladly jumped into enjoying the beer tents, live music, and festivities they had all around the city. It felt like a mini Oktoberfest. The beer was cheap and I had a pretzels the size of my head (as you can see in the post image). I was only 20 at the time and barely enjoyed beer at all, but the atmosphere was so intoxicating (pun intended) that I guzzled down a few liters that weekend.

20398512_1253465911424288_6682293613004587008_n#197 Buy a mask in Venice: practically one of every 3 stores in the center of Venice was a mask shop and of course, we had to stop in almost every single one in search of the PERFECT mask to take home. These masks were a work of art, handcrafted and unique. Ever since buying the mask, I’ve been aching to complete #69 on my list: attend a masquerade ball. Alas, this isn’t a theme that is offered very often. As far as Venice goes, it is truly a one-of-a-kind place and worth visiting. It’s one of those places you can have a great adventure just getting lost in the city (which is not difficult because the place is like a maze with a limited number of street names and just arrows pointing you around). However, of all the places in Italy I visited, I loved walking around and experiencing Florence the most. It was a quiet kind of beautiful.

#274 Try caviar: well, in short, I found it quite disgusting. On one of my first days in Norway, we were encouraged to try some local foods and flavors. Caviar was one of the things that was offered. While I am very adventurous when it comes to things that get your adrenaline pumping or just exploring around a new city, I’m more apprehensive when it comes to trying new foods. Still, I remembered that caviar was one on my list to try, so I dove right in. I’ll just say I wasn’t a fan, but I’m glad I tried it!

#280 Boat out to the fjords in Norway: I have seen so many pictures of the beautiful fjords that cut into tall mountains, have waterfalls cascading down, and feature glaciers that never seem to melt. I stayed in Oslo for almost 4 weeks as part of a study abroad class and one of the adventures they had planned for us was a boat trip out to some of the nearby fjords! I was ecstatic. This is one of the very few times with my bucket list that I have gotten myself disappointed by expectation. I knew the school trip wasn’t going to take us all the way up the coast and into the thick of Norway, but I thought there would still be some cool sights right near Oslo where we were set to go. To be honest, it wasn’t that great or as majestic as I imagined it would be. We hopped over to a few fjords and explored a bit, but the sights were admittedly not spectacular. They were more like beaches and were a bit crowded with people. It was still a nice adventure and I still count this one as being crossed off my bucket list because it did happen after all. However, I think that if I was to ever make it back to the area, I would make sure to explore more fjords and have my world opened up to the beauty I know Norway has to offer.

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