“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realise what’s changed, is you.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Last time I sat down and wrote a post I was knee deep in Corporate Strategy notes for my final exam and had a gigantic rucksack in my room ready to be packed for my big adventure, whereas now essentially two months later I am a full-time Account Executive in a digital advertising agency, living in Dublin and an even bigger itch to travel further than ever before. I know everyone says that “Travelling changes you” and I always sniggered at the idea because a few days in a different country can’t change the person you’ve been for years, but after three weeks of seven different cities and living out of the same bag, I have to admit that it did genuinely change me.
Obviously I’m still the same person, still have the same love of country music, still spend endless hours scrolling through style shots on Instagram, still have a love of everything red, but my outlook on life became a little more simplified than it was once before. Lets just say that in each of the seven cities I was taught something that made me think a little differently about my opinion on things, my perception of perfection and even my ideal future path. I know you’ve probably already stopped reading with a roll of your eyes because you’re thinking “she’s talking absolute crap” but for once, I’m actually not. Rare, I know!!!
The history books aren’t just stories that are over exaggerated to grab your attention, they’re terrifying real. We couldn’t visit Krakow without making a day trip to Auchwitz/Birkenhau and boy was it worth it. I know that sounds awful to say that visiting the grounds of where a mass execution took place, but to actually see the ruins, the shocking conditions women had to sleep in, the length of the walk they had to do to get from the train to essentially their grave, is something that’ll stay with me forever. It makes you so grateful that you never had to go through it, but it also makes you speechless knowing that it your grandparents were grown kids when it happened. I couldn’t even stomach to take out my camera, other than I know I needed to for our @TravelTrioo account, it simply broke my heart too much.
Lets just say if I’m not living, or haven’t lived there, sometime in the next five years, I give you the permission to play slapsgiving (It’s a HIMYM thing). When planning our inter-railing adventure we all had one city that we refused to miss out on and mine was Berlin. I can’t deny that leaving Krakow made me a little nervous at the thought that I may have put my expectations too high for the capital of Germany. Boy, was I wrong. One night there and I was already in love. The city was full of culture, overloaded with history, adorned with gorgeous people and it even had a man-made beach, what more could you want? I know you’re probably asking “How could you live somewhere where you don’t know the language?” well trust me, I’m already working on it. I’ll be flirting flawlessly with a German speaking guy in no time…
It’s hard for a city to follow in the footsteps of Berlin, so I guess Hamburg never really stood a chance. I did enjoy the break and I’m glad I got a chance to see it, and of course experience their LGBT festival celebrations, but it was the one city on this trip that I couldn’t warm to. I can imagine it’d be a great city to work in as there seemed like a quite a strong career-focused vibe, but as a holiday destination, I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. Also the actual Hamburgs are a bit of a let down too, not going to lie. Then again, if someone offered me a job there in a years time, I have a feeling I wouldn’t turn it down.
It’s certainly one that holds a hell of a lot of memories. It’ll always be the city that I cycled through (and nearly got knocked into the river by a van) on the day of my 22nd birthday, singing Taylor Swift at the top of my voice, with two of my bestest friends. It’ll also be the city where I watched a girl balling her eyes out, on the phone to the ambulance because she had taken waaayyy too much weed. Finally, it’ll also be the city where we literally lived like Anne Frank because of how high our hostel room was, and how our top bunks were only about a foot away from the ceiling. I have to admit, even though I loved strolling across all the canals, peeking in to the quirky flower shops and finding super cheap restaurants, I was overall a little disappointed by the city. It taught me to not trust the “trends” when it comes to holidays and just go where you want to go, as everyone raved about Amsterdam painting it as the best city they’ve ever been to, but it wasn’t one place I’d rave about it as much as Berlin or Bruges.
When booking Brussels it was simply a city to “fill in the gap” between Amsterdam and Bruges, so after a few hours of exploring the streets I was quite surprised at how I actually liked the city. It isn’t as commercial as everyone makes it out to be, you barely hear anything about it being the centre of the Euro and also their waffles are pretty insane. Also how could I not like a place where the busking violinist played one of my all-time favourite songs “Baba O’Riely” while under the scorching sun of 24″? Similar to Amsterdam, visiting Brussels taught me to not always trust someone when they say “Ah it’s a boring city” because their idea of boring, may be your idea of heaven!
When people say “oh it’s such a chocolate box town” you always think of a little English countryside village or somewhere nestled between France’s vineyards, but after inter-railing Bruges is the first place that’ll come to mind the next time I hear that phrase. Obviously if you’ve watched the move In Bruges you’d know the style of the cobbled streets, rustic brick buildings and the pretty canal that winds around them, but I still don’t think that the film does the place justice. It’s really one that’s hard to explain, but one that is worth making a romantic break away to. It taught me that you don’t need skyscrapers or a busy lifestyle to live happily, because waking up to a small pretty village, like Bruges, every morning would certainly put a regular smile on my face.
I could write essays upon essays about my love for this city, but if you’re an avid reader of this blog then you’ll already know from my previous posts about how I see the place as almost my second home. I’d love to one day move back there, but visiting the place for a fourth time showed me that if I moved there I feel like the magic for the home of Jardin du Luxembourg, Sacré Coeur and Disneyland may flicker so much it’d dissapear.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from that three week adventure, is that if you ever get the oppurtunity to travel the world then go run home to pack your bags right away. Travel really is an incredible opportunity that may cost a little at the beginning, but the overall experience is truly priceless. It could be just a weekend break, a week away in the sun, or a full year sabbatical, but whatever it is don’t let anything stop you if there’s even a slight chance of adventure. The world is your oyster, so don’t be the one pearl that never sees the light!
Ever-so Stylishly Yours,