A Letter (of sorts) on European Travel

Amsterdam

I finally made it back to the United States. After nearly two months abroad, I've learned quite a bit about Europe. I wouldn't call myself an expert on travel. Truly I've learned more about what NOT to do while you're abroad. Here is my letter to myself with all of the things I wish I knew before my journey. Dearest Most Wonderful Rhyann (this is how I begin all letters, obviously...)

In Italy

1. Everything will seem completely scary when you first arrive in Italy. You will feel as though you haven't studied Italian for the last two years. But, by the time you leave you will have successfully taken the train, metro, tram, taxi, and funicolare by yourself.

Orvieto, Italy in sepia

2. You will learn how to really communicate in Italian. I’m not talking about “Ciao, come stai?”. You will learn how to yell back at the Italian man who called you stupid.

And you'll learn how to order gelato and wine. The important stuff.

Beautiful Orvieto, Italy

3. You will learn to drink espresso. No milk, one scoop of sugar. This may forever change the way you drink coffee again.

4. Any time you encounter pizza, pasta, or gelato, you will eat it. And it will be amazing.

The open air market in Orvieto, Italy

In Barcelona

1. You will eat paella everyday (even twice in one day), and it will never get old.

Amazing Paella in Barcelona, Spain

2. You will get a HENNA tattoo of “the sacred herb” on your chest. When you tell your mom, she will think you got a real tattoo and be pretty angry at you.

One of the many beautiful cathedrals in Barcelona, Spain

3. You will drink three pitchers of sangria (not alone of course…) and roam the beach giggly and happy.

Bike tour in Barcelona, Spain. These cruisers were circa 1950...

 In London

1. You will stay up all night to go to Wimbledon and have the time of your life.

Wimbledon Tennis--Completely worth the lack of sleep and hours standing in the

2. You will eat a sub sandwich at Subway and it will be the best meal that you have in London.

St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. Apparently, they used this hotel for Hogwarts in Harry Potter

3. You will finally make it to Harrods where you will then proceed to buy 17 pounds worth of chocolate. And you know what? It was worth every penny.

I just reread this, not 17 lbs, 17 £ ;)

A cute sign at a pub in London, England

4. You will miss your flight because you went to the wrong airport (seriously, though, who knew there were more than two airports in London?)

In Amsterdam

1. Space cookies are not called space cookies because they are shaped like space ships. This also applies to Cosmic Brownies. And to answer your next question, no you will not eat them.

2. The redlight district is legit. I will keep it at that.

Lovely Amsterdam

3. That raincoat that you dragged all the way through Italy, Barcelona, and London will finally come in handy. Next time though, pick up some "wellies" in London.

4. You will find an amazing cheese shop with your friend and spend way too much time sampling the cheeses. You will then buy a tiny package of cookies because you don’t want to be that person on the plane that smells like cheese.

This is one of my favorites from the Van Gogh museum. This might also be one of the pieces that I was NOT supposed to photograph.

Love, Yourself

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