Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Final Day in the U.K.

It has been nearly two months since I arrived in Europe. 54 days ago, at this very moment, I had just arrived in Bristol, England. I had no idea what was in-store for me over the next 8 weeks... but I was fairly certain that this trip would be an experience that I'd always remember. 

Looking back on my European expedition, I am proud to say that I have no regrets whatsoever. The places I visited, the people I met, and the experiences I had were all supposed to happen at this point in my life. I am returning to Massachusetts a changed person. I consider myself much more enlightened, self-assured, and clear-minded than when I departed for Europe 8 weeks ago. I've had the time to think and self-reflect, and this has taught me a lot about myself and about other cultures. Most importantly, I now realize what I must do over the next few years to become the person that I want to be; professionally, personally, and spiritually.

Thank you to everyone who has come into my life over the past 8 weeks. You have all changed my life in some way or another and without you, I would not be the same person that I am today.


Now for the fun part. Giving out awards to the cities, hostels, experiences, etc. that were most influential on my journey. In my 8 weeks abroad, I visited 8 countries and 16 cities. 

(England: Pensford, Bristol, Bath, London), (Belgium: Brugge), (Netherlands: Amsterdam), (Germany: Berlin, Munich), (Czech Republic: Prague, Kutna Hora, Ceske Krumlov), (Spain: Seville, Barcelona), (Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra), (France: Paris)

1.) Favorite city(s):

This is not an easy question to answer. I have multiple cities in mind that I both enjoyed and would return to on another occasion. In no particular order, my 3 favorite cities were:

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Paris, France
2.) The city I want to return most to:

Berlin, Germany without a doubt. I only spent two full days in Berlin yet I could have easily spent two weeks in the city (and I still would not have seen it all).

3.) Best Hostel:

For those who have been committed to reading my blog, you already know the answer to this question. It is The-Tent, located in Munich, Germany.

4.) Best experience(s):

  • Euro-cup finals in Munich, Germany. Walking 5 kilometers to Olympic Stadium and standing in a crowd full of screaming Germans. I played a game of futbol with a few Germans prior to the start of the match.
  • Climbing Mt. Klet in Ceske, Krumlov. This was one of the most rewarding experiences both mentally and physically. I hiked 18 kilometers all by myself that morning, which felt amazing (after I was done, of course). 
  • Couchsurfing in Paris, France. I met some of the greatest people in Paris. Thank you Patrice for hosting myself and the other couchsurfers I met. Noam and Yonathan are GREAT, and seeing them perform outside of the Sacre Coeur (and under the Eiffel Tower on my final night) were some my favorite experiences all trip.
5) Most difficult time all trip:

Ceske Krumlov without a doubt. Leaving The-Tent was hard enough. Traveling east in Europe (where less people speak English, therefore making it more difficult to find your way), and doing it alone, was definitely the hardest part of my trip. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but it was something that I felt I had to do. Looking back, I felt more lonely in Ceske Krumlov than anywhere else on my trip. I also felt extremely proud of myself for getting through those four difficult days, climbing that mountain, and finding my way in and out of Czech Republic without a single problem.


I could continue with more awards such as my happiest moment all trip (arriving in Paris), my scariest moment (waking up at the last second on my night train to Seville), and my most pathetic moment (faking sick for three hours in a train bathroom, in order to arrive in Paris on-time!). However, it is getting late and I have a long day of travel tomorrow before returning home to The States.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my blog, and definitely check back in the next few days as I will be putting up a slide show of my favorite pictures that I took in Europe. It will be worth looking at them, I promise!

There are plenty more things I could write, but I will wait to do the explaining in-person when you all see me next :) I have been somewhat slacking on the last few blog entries only because I am saving some of my stories for when I get home. So call me and lets get-together for lunch or a coffee anytime after August 5. I will have my phone re-activated then. 

See you all soon and keep an eye out for some more pictures in the coming days.

Ryan Harb
Senior European-Traveler