This summer, my family and I were blessed to have the opportunity to travel all around Europe via car, train and even gondolas as we explored famous landmarks and the country side, not seen by everyday tourists. We wanted a full experience, to see the other side of the world from what it truly was beyond that of the tourist traps and overpriced attractions. We wanted to see the rolling hillsides, the villages hidden within the mountains, the city swallowed by the ocean and the people who all live within it. In total, we traveled through seven countries, saw seven very different forms of life, (attempted) to speak seven languages and made seven different adventures. I hope this journal gives a glimpse into my journey and helps you experience the real side of Europe.
A small town in Belgium, Brugge, where I was able to capture locals sailing down the river.
Brugge resembled a town from the medieval times period, having ancient buildings and castles still standing and used as though it was still stuck in history.
When we reached Germany, we walked miles into Dusseldorf until we came across the Rhine River, where an annual carnival was being hosted. A quick trip over the river on the subway led us to have the most memorable nights of the trip.
As an artist, I couldn't have passed the opportunity to go the Louvre when we reached France, where each room seemingly contained another masterpiece I'd only seen before in novels or taught about. When I walked into the room containing the Mona Lisa, I was greeted with this when I looked up.
One of the masterpieces within the Louvre, made between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, still completely intact and unfaded.
My favorite ride at the festival across the Rhine River. The actual height was about 200 feet into the air, where I saw the most beautiful view of Germany at night.
As we drove through the Italian Alps, we were greeted by still standing castles and winding entrances; seemingly out of fairy tales.
Amsterdam was celebrating Pride Month, so as we walked through the streets, we were faced with thousands of rainbow flags. It was also here where we met the most nicest people: they bought our train fare!
Amsterdam was originally a swamp, causing the foundations of many buildings to shift and sink over time. Locals call these houses the "Dancing Houses" because they have shifted so much, that now they are completely tilted.
A small snapshot of the lives of people who live in Brugge, very traditional and amazing to witness. I never realized how much we take technology for granted until I came here.
One of the tourist traps we did end up falling for; the Eiffel Tower was the most intricate monument I've ever seen. Taking the sky elevator, we went to the top of the tower and saw Paris from above.
Within each part of the Eiffel Tower are built in stairs, which locals constantly use to get to the top. Almost 108 stories, it's amazing how much a historical monument is simply a daily adventure to some.
Venice, Italy was one of my favorite places to go; here, gelato is amazing and really cheap! People travel by boat because the city is underwater, but the islands that make up Venice each have an adventure within them.
On one of the islands, we watched glass makers blow/ create glass, on another, went to a beachside to collect seashells, and another to explore the world's most famous farmer's market.
In all, this trip meant so much to me. I've experienced cultures in a way I could have never imagined before. The life I live versus the lives of the people I've met along the way vary so differently. This trip is an experience I know I'll never forget.