My first trip to Europe was a unique, once in the lifetime experience, where I was able to visit 10 different countries and 21 different cities.
The countries and cities I visited:
- St. Gilbert
- Czech Republic
I went as part of a study abroad program with my university in West Virginia, where we studied in Salzburg, Austria for an entire semester. Our schedule consisted of three and a half days of classes, and three and a half days of traveling, with two ten-day trips. What I loved most of this study abroad program was the heavy emphasis on traveling, instead of the studying. It was a wonderful semester filled with a lot of learning, but not just from books! We stayed in Salzburg, Austria for the entire semester, and traveled to the other countries and cities in our free time.
Most people ask me what my favorite country I visited was, but that’s such a hard decision because they all have their own unique and wonderful qualities that make each one a treasure to visit. I’m going to go through each city and share some of my favorite aspects and pictures, and share what I think is the best thing to do in each place. I hope you enjoy!
Salzburg was an absolute dream. It was a small city with so many magnificent things to offer. Mountains, music, food, and culture. One of my favorite sights there was the Untersberg– a huge mountain that you can see from basically anywhere in Salzburg. It is a treasure.
Another place I loved in Salzburg was the zoo. There were so many different animals there, and they were so interactive. The alpacas would eat from your hands, even if you didn’t have food to offer them. Plus, the lemurs were not enclosed. They would freely roam the zoo and you could literally reach out and touch them (sorry I couldn’t get a picture!).
We didn’t really spend a lot of time in Vienna, we were only there for a few hours. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the city, but the food I had was so delicious! Try the street food and enjoy the sights!
A quaint little town, close to Salzburg, we took a day trip and explored. I had gotten sick on the way there and threw up on the bus (it was not fun), so I spent the day walking around the city with my professor and her daughter. It was such a picturesque town that had so many beautiful sights.
And the absolute best part. Horses!
They were super sweet horses! We fed them apples and pet them. Highlight of my day.
I don’t really have any pictures of my time in Munich, mostly because I did a lot of shopping and ate a lot of pretzels. The shopping there was fantastic and there is a ton of food to enjoy. Of course, there are more things to enjoy, but that’s what I did!
If I had to pick a favorite place, I would definitely list Berlin in the top three. Berlin has everything you could ever want and more. I have always had a connection to Germany, even when I was a kid. I never visited, I didn’t really know much about the country, I just knew I had to be there. When I got there, it was much more than I could have imagined. There was history, there was food, there was nightlife, and it felt like home.
While in Berlin, I had the chance to see the Berlin Marathon from behind the scenes, as well as watch it from the Brandenburg Gate.
Technically, we weren’t supposed to be “behind the scenes,” but somehow we made it back there and I made it out with this super awesome blanket thanks to a good friend of mine. I still have it and am never letting it go.
Of course, Berlin has a ton of history, and what I love about it is that the history is plastered everywhere. You cannot walk through Berlin without seeing a piece of something. Whether it’s the wall, the Jewish side of town, street art, statues, so on and so forth. Berlin’s street art was definitely something worth seeing. I never really actively searched for it, but somehow I always came across some very moving pieces.
The home of Eagle’s Nest– Hitler’s hideaway home. This was a great thing to see, just because I have a lot of attachment to WWII history. Being able to see where Hitler was made me feel like I was in this special part of history that not a lot of people get a chance to experience.
Before the top of the mountain, however, we were able to go into the salt mines, which was a lot of fun. We even got to wear these super fancy suits.
After Eagle’s Nest and the Salt Mines, we explored the town a little bit, taking in the nature and the quietness. It was absolutely gorgeous, as everything in Europe seemed to be.
I have yet to find a place as beautiful and breathtaking as I found Switzerland to be. I remember traveling to Colorado and just not feeling as blown away by the mountains as I did in Switzerland. Granted, Colorado was gorgeous, but Switzerland just had something else about it.
The first town we visited was one of the sports capitals of the world, with so many recreational activities going on. While we were too poor to be able to do anything exciting, seeing the mountains and exploring the city seemed to be enough.
Because we really couldn’t do anything in Interlaken because it was so expensive, we decided to go for a day trip to some small mountain town.
One of the most breathtaking places on the planet (that I know of).
Look at this.
How freakin’ gorgeous is this? These pictures do not do any justice to these mountains.
There’s not much more I can say about this place than just go and enjoy the views. And the hot chocolate, of course.
And if you don’t believe me, here’s a candid photo of me being amazed by the beauty of Switzerland’s great outdoors.
A quaint little city that I never really heard about until we just randomly took a train there. There’s a really cool looking Church of the Latter-Day Saints, an awesome statue of an ogre eating babies, and the Museum of Natural History with a spectacular Einstein exhibit. Definitely worth the day trip and the museum itself could take an entire day to go through. Plus! There was a little cafe that we went to that had some awesome espresso!
That’s one part of my adventure, stay tuned for the next installment of: