Just over one month ago, I returned from the most inspirational and educational adventure of my life. I travelled lonesome to Europe for 15 weeks, 109 days and a gruelling (just kidding) 9,417,600 seconds. I couldn’t wait to see the world, but only now do I realise that I’ve barely scratched the surface. Come with me and learn a bit more about places you mightn’t have heard of, and what travelling solo was like in the eyes of a 21 year-old novice.
Okay, folks. We’ve got a lot to cover. 26 countries and goodness knows how many cities. We’ll get through this together!
- The ABBA Museum is the funkiest place ever. It’s interactive and allows you to sing with the cast in hologram form, cover one of their songs in a recording booth, star in a music video, and test your knowledge with one of their many quizzes. You can even view your experience online and share with friends.
- It’s incredibly easy to get around as an English speaker. Every local I came across spoke fluent English and was happy to help in any way they could.
- Stockholm is just an amazing place overall. The city is made up of many islands, its Old Town is like a faraway land with gems hidden down every laneway, and it’s ridiculously photographic.
- The Brandenburg Gate is always packed with tourists. If you’re after a great shot, plan ahead. Even at night, it can be hard to get a shot without someone’s backside in the way. There’s an open café centered directly in front of the gate, across from Starbucks. If you work around their trading hours (sneaky), use one of their chairs as a stool to get a view above the crowds.
- It’s very artsy. If you walk into an Aussie souvenier store, you’ll be greeted with stuffed kangaroos and koalas. In Berlin, prepare for colourful bears and cars. You’ll see a lot of Noir artworks; one of many artists who fought for freedom through his paintings on the Berlin wall.
- Cabaret shows are not to be missed. Dancers are wow, singers are wow, complimentary wine is wow. And the costumes? WOW.
- The Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain ride at Disneyland is so so so so so so so much fun. And wild. Oh, and you better do the meet and greet with Darth Vader while you’re there. Just don’t attempt to hold his hand like I did – you’ll get told off.
- It truly is a beautiful city. Sadly, I was only there for two days so I was only given a sneak peak into the Parisian paradise.
- Swans have sass
- Kapellbrukke (chapel bridge) is the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe. I’d dreamt of walking along it for years, so to finally do it was a highlight of my trip.
- There’s not many places that beat Italian gelato, but Lucerne came close! Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Ooh yeah.
- The ferris wheel is gorgeous at night, but beware of the staff who may join your carriage and hit on you unless you’re upfront from the get-go (unfortunately I let him in, the wheel stopped up the top for 10 minutes and I had to deal with a non-English speaker who kept kissing my cheek and touching my leg).
- Mirador de Gibralfaro is the place to be for the best view of the city. It’s accessible by bus or by foot, which will take approximately half an hour. It’s a very steep hike.
- If you don’t go topless at the beaches, you’ll regret it (maybe). Spain’s culture in that regard is different from Aus, so embrace it!
- La Sagrada Familia may give you a kinked neck from admiring its work too long, but it’s better than the empty soul you’ll have if you miss the extraordinary building.
- The cable cars offer incredible views. Hop off at the top and stroll around for an hour, or even a day. Ditch Wally and play ‘Where’s La Sagrada Familia’ – it’s fun, I promise.
- People-watching can lead to some treasured shots, like the one above of a young girl twirling her frock.
- Plaza de Espana will take your breath away. Star Wars fans, this is where Anakin and Padme walk with R2D2 when they arrive in Theed, Naboo. I definitely couldn’t contain my excitement when I was there.
- The Alcazar of Seville is where many Game of Thrones scenes have been shot. Seville is the place to be for film locations!
- Travelling by foot is tiresome if you’ve got a lot to see. I was too stubborn to take public transport and consequently spent most of the day walking.
- Monkeys will eat your food
- Gibraltar is a British territory in southern Spain. After spending 10 days by myself in a Latin-speaking country, crossing the border and being greeted with British accents and news channels was a welcome familiarity. I recommend doing a day tour from Malaga or driving down if you hire a car.
- Although it’s small, there’s a lot to see. St Michael’s Cave and Europa Point are my top picks.
Edition 1 – click here ◊