I’ve been home for a little bit now, and the subsequent question after “How was it?” is usually “Which place was your favorite?” I want to give a definitive ranking of my favorite cities, based on my experiences, from my time in Europe:
I spent my first three weeks in Rome, and it was incredible. More so than any other city I visited, I felt like I could step out of my apartment and feel like I am in the picturesque country that Italy is. The city oozes with antiquity, with cobblestone streets, water fountains and pale yellow buildings everywhere.
I was only able to spend a short weekend here, but it was absolutely worth it, since I was able to cross Germany off from the top of my bucket list.
Italy was just a great country. I loved the people, the food and the culture there. I also appreciated the amount of time I got to spend there. Florence was a little more touristy and was missing some of the beauty Rome had, but I enjoyed the weekend in Florence a lot.
By the time I got to London, I was missing some aspects of American culture–breakfast being the first one coming to mind. So London’s familiarity was welcomed. I didn’t find the city all that pretty, but I appreciated the variety of people I met more than anything. The English were my favorite people of any group. Speaking the language helped a lot too.
I actually went here on my own. I like a well-crafted beer and I am convinced Belgium is the best country to find one. I found the country to be an interesting melting pot of cultures, influenced by France, Germany, and even England and the Netherlands. I thought it was pretty great, though I do like the aspect of having traveling partners.
This was a weekend trip from London, and I was surprised by how small the city was. The live music was a excellent and maybe the best selling point of the city. If I am fortunate enough to visit Ireland again in my life, I would rent a car and drive around the island. Talking to other folks with fewer countries to see made me a little envious, as they had the opportunity to do exactly that.
It ranks low in part because our group only had about a half a day there. Climbing Arthur’s Seat yielded some extraordinary views, as well as frustration with the need for a sweater in July (sarcasm–no complaints).
Our group stayed here for a week (our last week), and truth be told, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to Glasgow. That combined with the fact that there was not anything we were dying to do while in Glasgow. Scotland is another country I think I would go to get out of the cities.
Of the nine, this is the only city I would say I did not like. I have talked to some people that like Paris a lot, and others that hate Paris. I, more so than others in our group, feed off the vibes I get from people day to day. Almost exclusively, I saw frowns and even scowls. A few times I was looked at as if I have three heads just for smiling. I understand now that this does not mean they were annoyed by my presence. Parisians just go about their own business and unless there is reason to, they will not make an effort to be friendly. Despite that, I never could get past the extremely negative vibes I got from people while there. There were lots of good things though: the food is incredible and the public transportation is unbeatable, to name a couple.
I am so grateful for the experience. I have to thank the University of Alabama (and Greece/the Euro) for making it financially viable. CISAbroad made it logistically viable–those folks were seriously great and I would personally recommend doing a program through them if possible. This is my last blog entry until I do something else worth blogging.
Thanks for reading!