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Adventures in Western Europe

Posted by UWSPcps - January 20, 2013 - Featured, Justin W., London, Students, Study Abroad


Hello everyone, I have not written a blog post for a while, therefore, I believe it’s now time for me to tell everyone about my last bit of adventure in the rich city of London and Western Europe.

DSCN3761copyIn late December and early January I traveled to Paris, Berlin and Rome. I went to Paris with my Mexican friend Ricardo, who is studying in London to become a fashion designer. He was a fun companion to have along on the trip. He was really good at reading maps and helping us find certain sites in Paris. In Paris, we visited the majestic Eiffel Tower where one night we danced with these young Jewish followers during a Hanukah festival. It was an amazing time; the Jewish people and I did the hora which is a circle dance. They were very friendly and talkative. One guy was from Boston, New York and another one from Australia. One Jewish guy asked me if I liked Ozzy Osbourne and then he started singing the beginning of “Crazy Train.” They were extremely excited about the Hanukah festival and they explained some of their rituals to me.

DSCN3794copyThe next day, Ricardo and I went to the famous Musee du Louvre where we saw famous artwork such Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, The Raft of the Medusa and some others. It was unreal seeing the Mona Lisa because I’ve heard of it since I was a young child. It was a lot smaller than I expected, which was surprising. Later we went to the beautiful Notre Dame where we climbed to the very top. Visiting Notre Dame was also unreal and I was awed by the beauty, especially at night. When I first got there, all I could think of was the Disney film Notre Dame, which I first saw with my grandma when I was young. I really liked the gargoyles, which were on the top of the cathedral. This also made me think of the children TV series I watched when I was but a child called Gargoyles. Later that day, and the following days, we visited other historical places such as the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur and Moulin Rouge, which were all neat and exciting. At this authentic and elegant French restaurant called the Auberge Du Pere Louis, where I ate foie gras (duck liver), had a croissant with camembert cheese and drank some red wine. This was a very fine meal, which I savored every last bite. The foie gras was difficult for me to eat for some reason even though it was delicious. I also had this delicious macaroon, which is a delicate cookie or dessert.

DSCN4280copyIn Berlin, I joined this walking tour where we saw the building Reichstag. Hitler used this building to kill off democracy and earlier in 1933 it was burned down because of suspicious circumstances. We visited the famous Checkpoint Charlie and the Hitler’s notorious bunker, where Hitler and his wife Eva killed themselves by ingesting cyanide. It was a very eerie feeling being in the same location where Hitler committed suicide. Later, we visited the mysterious Holocaust memorial, which was unique and I felt a sense of disorientation whiling walking within it. The following day in Berlin, I joined a guided group tour of the dark and notorious Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On the tour, I learned many disturbing, painful, and just plain evil stories of what happened at the camp during the forties. After the tour, I was left in awe and stayed in silence because I was disturbed by how the people at the camp were treated by the Nazis.

DSCN4609copyDuring New Year’s I had the fortunate opportunity to be in Rome. I stayed in this hostel in Ostia called the Litus Roma. The hostel seemed like it was from some horror film because of how old it was and how it looked like it was falling apart. Ostia is a harbour city of Ancient Rome. The hostel was right next to the Mediterranean Sea, which was a very beautiful location. Every morning, I walk along the beach and think of life, the amazing fact that I was in Rome and this friend of mine in London. I was traveling on my own in Rome, which I really liked and was a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone. When I was in my hostel I met these two girls from Mexico who stayed in the same room as me. I know some Spanish so it helped me interact and connect with them. We became friends and spent two days together exploring Rome and its historical sites. The first place that we visited was the ancient Colosseum. It was massive, and very impressive. When I looked at the Colosseum, I thought about one of my all-time favorite films the “Gladiator.” One of my favorite songs is “Now We are Free” by Hanz Zimmer, which was playing in my mind when I walking along the historical Colosseum. Later we visited the beautiful Fontana di Trevi. I really liked this monument and how it looked. I felt refreshed and fully alive by the fountain. While there, I tossed a coin over my right shoulder. The myth goes if you toss a coin over your right shoulder you will someday come back and visit Rome. Well, I tossed several coins over my shoulder, so I’ll be coming back numerous times. The following day we visited the holy Vatican City, which was very impressive and beautiful. I thought about the Pope and the film “Angles and Demons” which starred Tom Hanks. It just seemed unreal being in the Vatican City. We went to the top of St. Peter’s Basicalla, which was amazing. At the top, it was like dream seeing a panoramic view of Rome. I could see mountains, the sea and many ancient and monumental buildings. It was during a sunset, so it made the experience even more mesmerizing.

Regarding food, my favorite is pizza, and in Rome on nearly every block there were a pizza place. Therefore, I was in heaven and feeling a sense of nirvana. I ate pizza and pasta every day that I was there. It was the best pizza that I have ever had. If I ever go back to Rome, it might just be because of the pizza. During New Year’s Eve, I spent it hanging out with these young students who are from the Dominican Republic. They were some of the friendliest people who I have ever met. I miss them and I still keep contact with them to this day. We celebrated the New Year’s night right next to the ancient Colosseum. It was a fun, crazy and eventful night. Deciding to spend the New Years at the Colosseum put me in a predicament to find a place to stay. I thought I would end up sleeping on the streets somewhere, which I didn’t mind because it was New Year’s and I was in Rome. However, my new Dominican friends allowed me to stay in their hostel.


The following day, before I left to catch my flight, I walked on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a very peaceful, tranquil, and a reflective walk. I reflected on my past year, my friends, family, things that I have accomplished, my experiences in London, and the wonderful friends who I have made while abroad. I also made several New Year’s resolutions for 2013 while sitting on a rock looking out towards the sea.

I hope you enjoyed my article about my travels in Western Europe. I hope it will inspire you to travel and get out of your comfort zone. I sure miss those experiences, because they were some of my favorites and I never knew that I was so adventures. I never plan on slowing down, until I travel the world. The next place that I plan on visiting will be South America. I want to go to Brazil, Peru and Argentina and other countries as well. I have good friends in Brazil and two wonderful friends from Argentina named Sebas Lama and Maria Lo Pinto Colombres.

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