Still exploring

Two years ago when I was abroad in Spain I saw most of northern Spain, so it was great to be in the South for the first time and to be on the mediterranean. Spain never disappoints and Málaga was absolutely beautiful. The weather, the people, and the food (specifically churros con chocolate). Most importantly being able to speak Spanish and understand it was nice, especially since our air bnb host spoke Spanish the whole time when telling us about the apartment.Spain will always be the place where I feel at home.

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Now rewind to last week where I spent 10 days exploring Dublin, Galway, Amsterdam, Oslo, and Stockholm.

Saturday I flew to Dublin. A nice short 45 minute flight for just 10 pounds was definitely a great start to the trip. Dublin is a beautiful modern city. We stayed in an airbnb that was near the temple bar district, which is an area in Dublin that has hundreds of restaurants and pubs. Although the weather may be gloomy, the city is full of life- especially at night in the temple bar district. The first day we went to a restaurant called Old Mill which served traditional Irish food and of course I got a Guinness. If you’re ever in Dublin I would highly recommend it.

The next morning we took a train to Galway. We arrived at 11 and went straight to our airbnb and we had the best host. As soon as we arrived he realized we had made it 30 minutes before the the last bus tour of the day to the Cliffs of Moher and the countryside and scheduled someone to pick us up to take us there. We were just in time! The Cliffs were unbelievable. I am slightly afraid of heights especially if there’s no protection, but I conquered my fears and explored the Cliffs. After the Cliffs we got on the coach and went around the countryside and it definitely felt like fall. There were quaint cottages with sheep and cows in all directions and vast acres of rock and grass that seemed like it never ended. The five hour tour was perfect. Galway was a great getaway from Dublin. More relaxed, many pubs, and just a great atmosphere. I honestly preferred Galway over Dublin, and although I am more of a city person, Galway has so much character that could not be overlooked.

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Amsterdam can be summed up in one word and that is “wild.” I absolutely loved it though. The city is filled with old historic buildings but is also modernized in many areas. There’s a mix of old and new which really makes the city unique. The discolored leaves, endless canals, and beautiful buildings was so picturesque. We toured the Anne Frank museum and I could not believe what I was seeing. All of the things I learned in school about Anne Frank and her story was all now displayed in front of me. My heart felt very heavy the whole time. Although it was interesting and exciting to see a part of history that you’ve learned so much about, it was very sad but I am grateful to have experienced it. After the museum we went to Zaanse Schans. I had always wanted to go to Holland so last minute I decided for us to hop on a train and go. It was as perfect as I imagined. Colorful windmills, a river, and a double rainbow! It could not have been more Dutch.

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Oslo was cold! I definitely felt like I was in Scandinavia. The second day there it snowed and it felt as if we skipped seasons and went straight to winter, but apparently it is normal. It was very expensive, but very beautiful. The snow added more charm as we explored. We went to the National Gallery in Norway and saw the famous painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch as well as works by Picasso and Monet. The good thing about going to museums this time of year and seeing famous paintings is it is not crowded at all. You really get to see the paintings for all that they are and not feeling rushed was another plus. At night we went to Vigeland Sculpture Park and wow was it surreal. The snow continued throughout the night so when we arrived at the park the ground and iced tree branches were covered in snow, which created such a serene environment. The statues were also beautiful and the snow made me see them in a different light.

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Last stop was Stockholm and it was definitely everything I had hoped for. For the longest time I had been fascinated with Stockholm and to finally see it in person was a dream. Yes, it was cold but it was beautiful. The buildings were mesmerizing, with similar styles of Prague and its architecture, yet they are two different places. It began to snow a few hour after landing and although it was around 29 degrees, it was great to see Scandinavia in its natural light. I definitely got a feel of winter a bit early. We spent most of the time roaming Stockholm and going to the Viking museum. Another interesting thing that we decided to do in Stockholm was stay on a boat. Yes, the hotel was a boat on the Riddarfjärden Bay. It was very nice, cozy and clean! It was such a fun experience and I definitely don’t regret booking it. I would love to see Stockholm in the summer because I am sure it is just as beautiful, but I think seeing it while snowing added a lot of character.

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My next adventure is to Geneva, Switzerland so I will update when I have time. School is going well and I just wrote my first paper which I did well on. I am excited to continue my journey, but I am also excited to be home soon!

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