The great thing about being in Europe is the close proximity of neighboring European countries. Not only are they close, but it is relatively cheap to visit them. For example, I decided to fly to England and then to Italy and the total trip only cost me $250. This included plane tickets with RyanAir and a bed and breakfast in each country, which I found on AirBNB. For the frugal students in Europe like myself, I think these are the best choices. One could opt to use blabla car or take the TGV, but the former is very time-consuming and the latter costs a lot more money.
If I had to choose which city and people I enjoyed most on this trip, I would have to give the edge to Rome and the Italians. I chose a bed and breakfast in Vatican City and walked around the city for three days. Of course, the two things on the top of my list to see were the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel; the coliseum was nice but the Sistine Chapel is the crowning jewel of Rome. To finally stare up at that breathtaking ceiling is a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. No video or photos are allowed in that holy place, but you better believe that this heathen snuck a few.
While in Rome, certain parts felt like it was still the first century. There are so many ruins and old architecture that it is easy to forget the modern world. Nevertheless, while I walked down Via Del Corso, the stark contrast of the modern world became evident, as it was filled with shops such as Fendi and an Apple store. All in all, I got the best of both worlds in Rome.
I love to visit places for the history and old man-made structures and artifacts. I remember when I first arrived in France and I saw a cathedral that was built in the 11th century. I was so amazed, but my landlord wondered why. I had to explain to him that America is a young country compared to European countries, so it’s not often that we see one thousand year old buildings. And that is why I loved Rome. Not only did I visit the Coliseum and Sistine Chapel, but also the Pantheon, Vatican Gardens, St. Peter’s Basilica and Fontana Di Trevi. I even went to the movies in Italy, which was a unique experience, as the movie, Hunger Games, was in Italian and there was a five minute intermission halfway through, during which the movie stopped, the lights came on, people left to use the bathroom or stood to converse with one another and venders walked the isles offering food and beverages; this was definitely a country which I will revisit.
My experience in England was not as favorable as Italy, but I still enjoyed myself. The great thing about England was that I did not have to look up any foreign phrases or worry about fumbling through and messing up someone else’s language. My mind was at ease whilst approaching the citizens of our mother country and that was a thing that I appreciated much.
However, I personally was not aware that the currency in England – the pound – had so much more value than the Euro. Therefore, for us Americans whose dollar is only worth thirty cents in England, the trip can quickly become very expensive if one does not spend cautiously. So, I did a lot of walking in England and ate light meals. I chose a bed and breakfast in Central London that costs me $40 a night and I walked the River Thames, visiting every single tourist site along the way. It was raining the whole two days that I was there, but I still had fun and loved that I was able to take a lot of pictures and video.
Because this is my first time out of the country, everything overseas is exciting for me. I have resolved to encourage all of my friends and family to come overseas, and these trips to neighboring countries have left me wanting more. I now hope one day to visit countries in Africa, but for now, the cheap trips in Europe will do.