As my study abroad experience comes to a close I’m quickly taking in all that’s left of my adventures. I feel like now is a good time to reflect on some of my favorite and least favorite destinations in Europe. Berlin was probably my favorite location in regard to its history, cleanliness, and food. I took a walking tour of the city (which was free by the way) that had the most informative and entertaining tour guide ever. While Germany is country with a lot of negative history and stereotypes, I loved the way they addressed things head on and focused on the future. Much of the city was damaged or destroyed during the war and they are constantly rebuilding, so pretty much everything looks clean and new. If you ever get a chance to go I highly recommend trying Bürgermeister, an extremely small burger joint located in the middle of the street underneath a metro-rail. The only thing I didn’t favor was the high concentration of techno/EDM music, but hey that’s just me.
Budapest, Hungary, which was a beautiful city split in half by the Danube River took me by surprise. I went there having done little research beforehand and with little expectations. While there I learned that the flat half of the city was actually called Pest while the hillier side was called Buda and the two cities eventually merged into one. If you’re looking for more of a city vibe with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars Pest is the half for you. “Ruin bars” are a popular tourist destination in Budapest. They’re typically run down, pre-war buildings transformed into eclectic bars. Or if you’re into a calmer scene and hiking, go to Buda. The top of one of the hills features a magnificent view of hilly Buda with rows of cherry blossom trees and park benches on either side of a winding cobblestone path. I found this was a great place to sit, read a book, and observe all the people walking about.
For my final destination I ventured off to Athens and Santorini, Greece. By far the best part about Athens was the Acropolis and the second was the gyros. Unlike Berlin, most of the Athens I saw was covered with marble stone structures thousands of years old. At some point I ended up getting attacked by a bird trying to steal my pita bread, but I guess that’s all part of the experience. Safe to say after that I was ready to say goodbye to Athens. Santorini was a beautiful little island perfect for watching the sun rise and fall. I went on a boat tour of the island, jumped in the freezing Mediterranean Sea, and watched the sunset as the salt water sprayed across my face. A perfect end to the crazy fun and exhausting jet setting I’ve been doing these past few months.