Friday, July 23, 2010

I went to Europe!!!

I've always been a traveler, but... I'm now officially a world traveler. This summer, I took the grand tour of Europe. From Italy to Switzerland to Germany to France to England, I was a student, a tourist, a teenager, an American, and so many things in between. Ah, the stories I can tell about Rome, Florence, Paris, Reims, Strasbourg, Meersburg, Siena, Rothenburg, Assisi, London.... the list goes on and on! The trip is - was - a dream come true. I never believed it would really happen when I first blogged about wanting to go last year. 

Some of my best memories: 
1. Climbing up the stairs to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Over 506 narrow, dark stairs lead to the most incredible view of the entire city and famous surrounding hills. I loved hearing other tourists' exclamations as they came around the corner from the dark staircase to the lookout point from the tallest building in Rome - it was "Oh, how beautiful," in every language, some more colorful than others. 
View from St. Peter's

2. Florence. Our hotel, the Hotel Le Due Fontane, was quaint and old and on one of the city's main squares. After a night of walking to see the Duomo in the dark and enjoying the musicians on the street, we returned to our hotel room, which had a big shuttered window that opened onto the square below. We spent the latest hours of the night and the earliest hours of the morning singing country-western songs (rather badly) out the window. The next morning, we found out that other members of the tour had been kept awake by what they thought were drunk Italians singing on the streets below. Oops. :) 

The window where the singing happened
3. Canterbury, England - a few of us students were walking on the old city walls when it started raining.   We sang, took pictures, laughed, and ended up running along the top of the wall in the pouring rain. I was wearing flip-flops and took them off to run. There was something awesome about that. 

Happy and wet in Canterbury, England
4. On our way from Venice to Geneva, we stopped in Chamonix, France for dinner at an amazing ski lodge in the Alps - the Aiguille Du Midi. I had my first taste of foie gras, duck, and potato soufflé, with black forest cake for desert. I can't say that I'm a fan of French food, but the beauty of the scenery and hanging out with the other people on the tour made it incredible. 

Dinner in the French Alps
5. London!!! We rode the tube all day, visiting many of the literary landmarks that us nerds were all over - 221B Baker street, Fleet Street, Vauxhall, Charing Cross, Millenium Bridge... A few of us also went to see The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre one night and rode a double-decker bus back to the hotel. Another bus took us to Chinatown, where we found out that all the action happens at the Burger King. 

Sherlock Holmes!
I also found a couple of great yarn shops entirely by accident - one in Heidelberg (Wölle Rodel), and one in Rothenburg, Germany. Needless to say, I came away with a few purchases, and ended up  trashing some of my clothes so I had room for the souvenirs (both fibery and otherwise). Of course, I worked on some projects along the way - I knitted several charity baby hats on the bus between cities, and taught one of my fellow tour members (a guy, no less!) and my roommate how to crochet somewhere in Bavaria. I finished on project with souvenir yarn shortly after I got home - a Strangling Vine scarf, knitted on size 6 Addi Turbos with Online Supersocke Silk. It's amazing yarn, and I love the scarf - it will be a permanent reminder of the trip, and possibly the best souvenir, even though I knit it after getting back home. The pattern is so simple you hardly have to look at it - and the scarf only took three days to finish. The rubber ducky in the picture is from our hotel in Zurich, Switzerland.
Strangling Vine Scarf
The icing on the cake is the fact that the tour is worth history credit. Now that I don't have to sit through another history class this semester, I can focus more on my real passion - literature and journalism. Pure win. 


lara griffiths said...

how lucky you are and what a beautiful scarf you knit!

A Homely Heroine said...

wow, looks like you had an amazing time!! the scarf is beautiful too : )

Siga said...

Sounds as if you had fun! Great!

Where's My Pen? said...

Hi Erin! :) Love the scarf!

Steffi said...

Muchas gracias, amiga =)