Well folks, I spent the first half of this summer living the dream on an Art History and Photography study abroad through Europe. We travelled through France, Belgium, England, Slovenia, Italy, and Greece. Boy, was it a blast! I'm going to break the trip up into blog posts by country, so we won't have a big monster post on our hands.
Let me just preface this by saying that I've been trying to get myself to Europe for YEARS. I've got that travel bug and wanted so desperately to see the world. I believed that by learning about the world I could learn more about myself. I could improve myself. And so I made it happen!
I didn't really grasp the fact that I was leaving the country for six weeks, even the night before I left for Paris. I ended up staying up until 3 in the morning packing and obsessing and stressing over everything, trying to get rid of every non-essential thing and make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. The next morning I had to get up at 5:30, which was haarrrrdddd. I barely function on lack of sleep. But I was all jittery with nervous energy.
My sister drove me to the airport, and Mom gave me a loving hug goodbye. The whole way to the airport I was FA-reaking out. I was terrified. I was forgetting something crucial. I would get lost in the Paris airport. I would get pick pocketed immediately upon arrival.
But everything went okay through the SLC airport, and I got to the gate and sat down. And I started thinking about where I was going. Things finally started sinking in. I was listening to my music, and “Geronimo” came on.
I tell you, I literally started crying in the airport. Right there in the gate area, straight up silent bawling. Tears streaming. I was embarrassed and hoped nobody saw me wipe them away. I have never been so completely overwhelmed with emotion; I couldn’t do anything to stop it. I couldn’t believe that after all this time, my dream was finally coming true. I was finally going to travel through Europe, and have a new experience and learn and grow and get closer to becoming the person I so desperately wanted to be. I was so unbelievably grateful.
I texted Mom and told her how grateful I was for all the help she and Dad had given me so I could go on this trip. She said she was proud of me, wished she could come with me, and had started crying as soon as I left. We’re a bunch of crybabies.
I do declare, that first day in Paris was rouuuuuugggghhhhhhh. I hadn't been able to sleep much on the 10-hour flight, and we had to stay up ALL DAY to get our bodies onto a new sleeping schedule. I felt sick and literally all I wanted to do was sleep. But we went to Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower, and those were pretty neat. I did get lost from the group for a good half hour or so, but nbd. Day one, lost in Paris.
The next day was MUCH better. Especially since we were going to see Saint Chapelle, a place I had wanted so badly to see in person ever since learning about it in my art history class. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
I remember audibly gasping as soon as I walked into the room, seeing long, elegant walls of deep, colorful stained glass windows glowing in the early morning light. The colors were so rich and vibrant, and they created a magical, other-worldly space. It is like no other place on earth. I didn’t ever want to leave. I just couldn’t get over how beautiful it was.
Next up was the Louvre! Wow, that place is impossibly huge. You could spend a lifetime in that place. We barely scratched the surface, but the stuff we saw was phenomenal. And I was flat out exhausted by the end of it.
And nothing beats the view from the Arc De Triomphe.
Oh you know, just your average day in Paris.
We stopped by the Paris Opera House- which was breathtaking- and I asked these guys if I could take photos of them. Because, you know, I do that :)
They were the nicest guys. As it turned out, they were a band! And they were about to play. They were so much fun. The crowd was going nuts.
And what would a trip to France be without a visit to Versailles? Let it suffice to say that this place is beyond words. What power this guy had. What opulence this place displays. There was a lot of walking that day...
My favorite little place in Paris was The Marais- the Jewish district. There were cheery street musicians playing Jewish music, the cutest shops, and the most AMAZING FALAFEL. Best I've ever had in my life. Also best macaron I've ever had. I highly recommend giving this place a visit next time you're in Paris :)
Next stop: Belgium!