Not all travel memories are filled with picture-perfect moments. Sometimes the most memorable moments take place in a dreary place, where tourists elbow past you to get a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. Yes, we’re talking about London. London lovers, please take no offense. Visiting the city was an extraordinary experience for us-just not in the traditional sense.
Mistake #1: Scammed-24 hours before our flight, our AirBnb host told us the house had “burned down.” So the seven of us searched for a new place; determined to see Big Ben. Paul was our savior and agreed to let us stay in his apartment. We embraced his little bungalow as our home for the next two days; snuggling into the rock hard mattress and scalding our skin in the shower. Without Paul’s shack, we never would’ve gotten to explore an authentic London neighborhood or be chased down the street by an old man yelling, “Ooga! Ooga!"
...Weird Encounter #2: Thor-We purchased a card for a hop-on/hop-off bus. Little did we know that they stopped running early (we're talking like 5pm on a Friday night early). So there we were, standing at the stop for almost an hour, pissed, cold and hungry. Out of nowhere, Thor appeared. He was tall, athletic with his long blonde hair pulled into an elegant ponytail. The only difference was his thick, dutch accent.
Thor tagged along with us as we walked to the next stop in hopes of catching a bus. As we pushed through hoards of people in Trafalgar square, one of us caught sight of the double-decker heading to the original stop..."THE BUS!" Like a flash, Thor tore off across eight lanes of traffic, his arms and legs pumping with the speed of a demigod. We watched in horror, confusion and amazement as he effortlessly weaved through the cars. Our group chased after him (but on the sidewalk like a normal person) in hopes of catching our hero. By the time we got there, the bus and Thor were nowhere to be seen....
Nothing like drinking in an Ice Bar on Barcelona's beachfront
Hi there! Meet us, two college graduates and self-proclaimed travel buddies who met in the fall of 2015, when we set off for a semester abroad in Spain. We’d never met, but soon bonded over our love of spontaneous adventures, foreign accents, and uncanny ability to get ourselves into sticky situations (yes, we got stuck on a train in Barcelona) that required a go-with-the-flow attitude.
After hearing over and over that “being an adult” means getting stuck at a desk job, we decided that the typical life path seemed a little too monotonous, boring, and predictable for us. After spending last fall exploring all the culture and beauty of a combined 15 cities in 7 countries, we became even more excited to see what else was out there.
Now, almost two years later, we are getting ready to head back to Europe again. We know that we won’t be satisfied just working a regular 9-5 kind of job. So what better way to start off our time as college graduates than to go back to a place we love? Follow along with our adventures through Europe and find out what kind of crazy situations we manage to get ourselves into this time around.
It’s not just about the places we’ll see, but the people we’ll know
Not only will this trip allow us to meet new people, but it will give us the chance to reconnect with friends that we’ve made from all over the world.. By becoming Diversity Ambassadors for our University's exchange program, we became fast friends with students from Finland, Germany, and Austria. Oh boy, the adventures we got into last semester (think fake Bachelorette party in Nashville) - well, that’s a topic for another post.
We Know This Won’t Be a Fairytale
This isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve been through it all: getting lost, being approached by strangers, missing trains, and being a victim of Spanish pickpocketing. But through it all, we still feel a pull to return because of how changed we were as a result of those challenges.
We can now read a map with confidence, aren’t intimidated to ask for directions, and can laugh at our transportation mishaps. It’s these mistakes that have made us stronger and more adventurous travelers. So salud to another four months of amazing sites, foreign friends, and of course...sipping sangria.
-Caroline & Lexa