The last few weeks of my trip were so busy that I barely had time to sleep, let alone blog. But I’ll attempt to sum up the end of my European adventures.
My last week in Paris with my ISA group was incredibly bittersweet. I had some of the most memorable experiences my last few days with my friends, like watching fireworks erupt behind the Eiffel Tower on the beautiful Champs de Mars on Bastille Day — France’s big national holiday, eating melty Nutella and banana crêpes with my friend Erica and going to the Harry Potter premiere with friends while seeing movie stars in person. It’s weeks like that when I can hardly believe how lucky I am to live the life that I do.
On the flip side, saying goodbye to my ISA friends was so depressing (as expected). Many short hours and lots of tears after our night started, we said goodbye outside of a bar at 5:30 am and took the metro home, after which most everyone caught a shuttle to the airport and flew back to the States. Thankfully I had a couple more weeks of exploring to look forward to.
That night I took a train through the gorgeous French countryside to Nice, in southern France, to meet up with one of my best friends from college, Chelsea. We spent two days lounging on the beach — where we spotted a shark swimming close to the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and proceeded to swim half an hour later anyway — exploring the city, and eating fantastic food.
Then we flew to Barcelona, which is one of my favorite European cities I visited. Between the beach, shopping, architecture, museums and, of course, food, there is so much to do! Although my camera got stolen in Barcelona, and I therefore have no pictures to post from Nice or Barcelona, my time with Chelsea includes some of the most wonderful memories of my travels this summer.
After I said goodbye to Chelsea, I met up with my family in Paris. Among the highlights were watching the end of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées, visiting Versailles, my family meeting my host mom and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower with my sister, Mary Kate. We had our share of low points as well, mostly in regards to transportation, but it was all worth it to spend time with my family in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
We then went to Edinburgh, Scotland, exploring the city itself (in the Lowlands) one day and the Highlands, or mountainous area, the next. The Highlands is one of the most remarkable areas I’ve ever seen, with impossibly green rolling hills, fluffy sheep, crystal clear waters and adorable Highland cows. (We also went to Loch Ness and said hello to Nessie.)
Finally, our trip concluded in London, Stonehenge and Bath — which were all interesting and historic in different ways. And now I’m home in the US, which I can barely believe. Even when I think about everything that happened to me during my two months in Europe, it seems like just yesterday that I was driving to the airport with my parents, on my way to Paris for the first time. The past two months were truly the best of my life, and I can’t even explain how glad I am that I studied abroad. I got countless opportunities I never would have gotten otherwise, met some amazing people I hope to stay close to and have seen some of the most beautiful sights that I never even dreamed could be real.
I’ve been home for a few days now, and although in a few ways it’s good to be back, I miss almost every single thing about Europe (except for the lack of public restrooms and air conditioning, and non-belief in ice). Not a day goes by when I don’t think about it, and I’m sure I will feel that way for a while. But I’m happy to see my friends (and dogs, of course), and I’m slowly getting adjusted back to life in the States. Now I guess I’ll just have to be thankful for what I experienced and look forward to my next adventure, wherever it happens to be!