uisceros: (Adipose)
[personal profile] uisceros
Today is my last full day in Europe. I leave Germany in a few hours, and will spend the night in France before flying out in the morning tomorrow.

Most days I am hugely thankful for a life that allows me to do what I love; travel. It's not easy. In fact, most of the time it's ridiculously hard. As anyone who has traveled by themselves knows, doing this is exhausting beyond measure.

But then I do outside, in this new, amazing place, and I realize that I'm so lucky to be able to experience all I do. I've been to 15 different countries (including repeats - I've been to Germany five different times). It's not a huge amount, but it's something I've done all on my own.

A lot of times I get asked how I travel so much. It's simple - I save all my money for it. I don't buy expensive shoes/clothes/bags (well, at least not super expensive stuff), instead, I save my money, and take a trip at least once a year. Some people like expensive TVs, I like to bum around Europe.

Anyway, the moral of the story is, my trip was fun...

SO HERE ARE SOME PICTURES. (Haven't had a chance to edit them yet, so they're grainy and raw, but the best I can do with my simple little netbook)

You guys. LONDON. I loved it. Love, love, loved it. Except for the whole driving on the left side of the road thing, which I found very counter-intuitive. Still. It was nice to travel to a place where I could understand stuff that happened around me. Thanks, English!

There comes a time when all European Gothic cathedrals just end up looking the same. Apparently that time was when I visited Westminster. No mistake, it's a gorgeous, amazing building. But you gotta admit, they all pretty much look the same.

See what I mean? Though you must admit Notre Dame is in a category all it's own. I love this cathedral. I love cathedrals in general. I'm not an overtly religious person, but I find an immense peace and spiritual awakening in them. It's odd, but I can see how these amazing buildings inspired such devotion in people.

Sacré-Coeur was interesting. By no means the most impressive basilica I've seen (sorry France, Italy wins that one), it inspired an immense amount of feeling in me. I ended up sitting it it, crying like a baby. And then I gave a street beggar woman with a cat money. And I bought food mostly to feed a one footed pigeon with.

And then there's Germany. I have such intense love for this country. Never thought I would, honestly. In 8th grade, we had to learn a language. I wanted to learn Latin, but all my friends were taking German, so I got roped into it. I spent years hating the language, only to find myself at college loving it. And I was good at it. So good, in fact, that I won a fellowship to Munich when I was a freshman at college. Germany was my first time overseas. I'll never forgetting taking the escalator into the Marienplatz, and being utterly blown away by what I was seeing. To this day, Germany makes me happy. Stuttgart is a very different city from Munich. Munich is very old world Gothic, Stuttgart is sleek and modern. Just looking at the architecture, you can see the difference. This is the Neue Schloss, in the middle of downtown Stuttgart.

But the reason I stopped in Stuttgart was to see the famous Weihnachtsmarkt. A Christmas market that is supposed to be one of the best in the world. I LOVE Christmas, and Germany knows how to do Christmas. Here's a couple of Christmas pyramids framed by the Alte Schloss (a castle from 950AD, would you believe it?!).
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