10.18.2012

The Dos and Don'ts of Backpacking through Europe! Oh, and stunning pictures!

 I seriously almost drooled looking at this post.  Warning: You might feel an extreme need to buy a ticket to Europe after reading this! Lucky for you, you'll be prepared :)

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Hello Sunshine Diary Readers! I'm Leanne. And I blog over at Simply Beautiful.
I'm so excited to be guest posting for Robin today while she is off on her European adventure! I'm totes jealous, though. I'd much rather be trekking through Europe right now too :( But since I can't be with Robin in Europe, I thought I'd take care of my European blues and tell you all about some of my very own experiences in Europe! If you knew me in real life, then you would know that I am absolutely in love with Europe, even more specifically, London and the UK.
It's a history fascination + love of culture + love of travel, all compiled into one great love affair with Europe. I'm unashamedly obsessed and my obsession began way back in high school when I got to go on a 10 day whirlwind adventure through Europe with my history class. I knew right then and there, in my little 16 year old heart, that I had fallen in love with London and Europe and I made a solemn vow to go back again one day. So I did... It took 4 more years of patiently waiting for the right opportunity, but it happened! And this time, I didn't just go for a visit, I got to live in Europe. More specifically...Salzburg, Austria!
{Where my Sound of Music lovers at?!}
My university offered many study abroad programs, but the program with Salzburg College captured my heart...
I left American soil in January and came back to America in May of that year a completely different person. Like Robin has said she'll always have a part of her heart in Australia, I've definitely left a part of my heart in Europe. I've now visited 9 different countries and over 25 different cities and I've seen more of Europe than most people ever see in a lifetime. I got to re-visit many cities again since I had gone when I was in high school and nothing is better than going back to a foreign city and remembering your previous adventures there!
We began our semester out by spending a week in Germany visiting many historic cities. {Frankford. Cologne. Bonn. The Rhine Valley. Heidelberg. Rothenburg. Worms. Nuremberg.}
I literally traveled every single weekend to a new city/country. I learned to love trains, planes, and cabs. {Innsbruck, Austria. Venice, Italy. Lucerne, Switzerland. Munich, Germany.}
I fell in love with my precious host family, Gerhard & Margo.
The scenery in Salzburg captivated my heart. The hills really are alive over there...
I made amazing, lifelong friends and unforgettable memories with them.
I studied under Austrian professors who gave me a new world perspective. You begin to view the World Wars a bit differently when you learn from the "losing" side. I learned first-hand the horrors of Nazi Concentration Camps. There is no way I'll ever forget that day. The world is a whole lot bigger than we think...
I took an Austrian cuisine class and discovered that there is not an Austrian food I dislike.
I took German and tried to speak their beautiful, er interesting, language.
But, one of the best things Salzburg College did was give their students a 2 week "spring break" to just go and explore. And that I did, my friends.
I took a backpack, 1 pair of jeans, my camera, some money, and a few friends and we found ourselves all over that beautiful continent. So, I thought I would share with you all...
The Do's & Don't's of Backpacking Through Europe Grab some coffee, your travel planner, and an adventurous spirit... And let's explore together! Ready? Let's do this! PS - I hope you love pictures :) When in Rome...Do take pictures in front of the Colosseum! Don't take pictures with the gladiators. You'll be out 50 Euros.
Do take a tour inside of the Colosseum. It is worth every penny! Don't forget to take a tour of the Roman Ruins/Forum. Uh-Mazing!
  Do eat gelato every day while in Italy. Don't get the same flavor. Mix it up each time. They're all so good!
Do stay in hostels with breakfast. It makes it easy to pack lunches (for free) ;) Don't expect to find cheap food and don't spend a lot on food. You're backpacking! Spend your time (and money) on making memories :)
Do make wishes in the Trevi Fountain. Don't be offended by all the people making out around it.
Do get lost a few times. It's worth getting off the beaten path. Don't forget to take a journal to write about your adventures. I'll never give up this treasure of mine.
Do sit out at night, under the Colosseum. It's breathtaking. Don't sit on the Spanish Steps at night. They try to sell you "cheap" roses. All 150 of those creepy Italian men.
Do take a tour of the Vatican City. Don't be late for that tour, or you'll take pictures like this...
Do take pictures inside the Sistine Chapel. Don't get caught.
Do go to Florence and be amazed by Tuscany, Italy. Don't get lost in their huge street market. You'll wonder where all your money went.
Do stop in Pisa, if only to take this picture. It's worth it. 
Don't wait for the area to open. Hop the fence early in the morning ;)
DO go to Cinque Terra, Italy! Please, promise me you will! It is beauty like none other. Then, don't forget to breathe.
When the paths between the 5 villages are closed due to landslides, DO hike them anyway. Don't die. And then treat yourself to gelato afterwards.
Do make a stop in the South of France. Don't forget to treat yourself to some beautiful beach time. And crepes.
Do visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Don't forget that the Picasso Museum is closed on Mondays :(
Do eat weird foods in Spain. Don't be afraid to try new things.
Do visit Dublin, Ireland! Don't forget to do it on St. Patrick's Day :)
Do go to London. Don't forget to see The Phantom of the Opera in the original theater with the original props (Her Majesty's Theater)
Do see Windsor Castle, the Queen's favorite home. It's amazing! Don't forget to take pictures like this while you're there...
Do go and contemplate the mystery of Stonehenge. Don't forget that it really is in the middle of nowhere, so don't step in cow poop.
Do go visit Oxford. Don't forget to find all the Harry Potter buildings :)
Do visit Buckingham Palace. It's fit for royalty. Don't get in the way when they're changing the guard.
Do visit the Towers of London. Don't touch the Crown Jewels. Seriously. You'll go to jail.
Do walk Tower Bridge at night. Don't mistake this bridge for the London Bridge. People will laugh at you.
When meeting up with your family & taking an overnight train to Paris, DO get a sleeper car. Don't mistake their 6 person sleeper car for actually being "large."
Do visit the Louvre. Don't try and see it all at once. You could seriously spend all day in there.
Do visit Versailles. It's magical. Don't get lost. Seriously. It's bigger than the Louvre -- Over 700 rooms to be exact.
Do show your friends & family all the sights you love in grand ol' Pair-ee. Don't forget to spend most of the time at the top of the Eiffel Tower. No matter how windy ;)
Do eat Nutella crepes under the Eiffel Tower at night. Don't forget to stay and watch it sparkle.
Well that's all I have, friends.
The point is to just go! And make memories!
Just travel the world for yourself. Find what's beautiful and never forget it.
Laugh at your mistakes and the language barriers. 
Fight through lines and break the rules sometimes.
I promise, it is all worth it.
Thanks for stopping by and reading today!
I'd love to meet you & hear about your own adventures.
So hop on over and visit sometime! :)

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9 comments:

  1. So jealous of all of your Euro adventures! That's something I wish I had done in school!

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  2. Holy cow this makes me so stinking jealous! I want to go do this so badly. Looks like I desperately need to figure out a way to squeeze this into my life sometime... :)
    --Halie

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  3. Wow! I want to go badder then ever now!

    =)


    Brooke

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  4. wow. that's amazing! you are one lucky lady! (:

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  5. OMG...so many pictures but I can't believe she saw soooooo much! SO jealous. I absolutely love Europe and it's history and that there is so much to explore.

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  6. this is such and amazing post!!! i am having an american adventure at the moment with a european one lined up after that and after having read this i seriously cannot wait!!!

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  7. Thanks for introducing us to Leanne, she is adorable with a wonderful spirit :)

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  8. Wow ~ This is so much fun to check out! These pictures are great and as a girl (can I say that at this age?) that has never traveled outside of the US I can kind of live vicariously through this post. Thanks for sharing! I stopped by from the Followers to Friends Blog Party and am now happy to be following your blog from Poemify Me

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  9. Hi,
    I am feeling envious seeing your picture..it was very very nice..every people who see this post will feel like me..love it..thanks for sharing...

    Europe buzz

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Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! Your comments make my day! :)

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