A Step Outside Ireland: European Sites

For fall break, my roommates and I look advantage of the cheap European flights and decided to travel around Paris, Rome and Amsterdam for the week. While I can wholeheartedly say that week was one of the best weeks of my life that made me grow more into a more independent person, it was also exhausting.

After being mesmerized by the Eiffel Tower, we took a little visit into the Louvre art museum and if you know how huge the Louvre is you would know how sarcastic that was. After walking around in awe of all the magnificent art for about four hours we realized we haven’t even seen half of what the museum had to offer. But, do not fear! We saw, in all her glory behind a thick plastic barrier, the women herself, Mona Lisa. After pushing our way through the big crowd to see the famous painting, I was…

Rome was my favorite place we visited. Not only was the weather fantastic, but being surrounded by that much pizza, pasta, wine and gelato made me question if I died and went to heaven. We didn’t attend a formal food tour, but we created one of our own. We stopped in four places, one for a quick appetizer, another for cheap but amazing pizza, a third for pasta and finished it off with a tasty gelato. By the end, we were so full we thought someone was going to have to roll us to our hostel.

Each city had its own “look”, but Rome stood out the most because along with apartments and restaurants, seeing the ancient ruins were just part of everyday life! Can you imagine walking by the Trevi Fountain on your way to work? Or thinking nothing of the Colosseum because you see it all the time? Rome was so rich with history that just by walking down the street, I feels as if you are going back in time. Especially since we learn about ancient Rome in some of our Core Veritas classes, it was so surreal to see things in our textbooks really come to life!

When I tell people I went to Amsterdam, the first thing they think of is the Red-Light District (for those who do not know, it is an area in the city that prostitution is legal); I do not blame them, that was the first thing I thought about too. It is a part of their history and we even went to a museum that talks about the women who work there and do a great job clearing up some misconceptions. However, once you visit Amsterdam you realize it is so much more than that. The combination of Dutch architecture and the canals that go all throughout the city, it was so picturesque and made you feel at home.

We took a three-hour walking tour that took us all around the city. Our tour guide, who was an American, put an emphasis on not only the fascinating history (like how Amsterdam held the first worldwide trade center), but on the overall accepting vibe the city gives off. They do not tolerate any kind of stereotype or really judge people unless they are harming another person. That was one of the reasons she moved there about five years ago and let me tell you, I am about to do the same thing! I miss that city so much already, the other day I was looking up real estate there! Unfortunately, apartments along the canals are expensive, so keep a look out for a GoFundMe once I graduate.

I had the most amazing time in each of these unique cities, but am relieved to be back in the familiarity of Dublin. I did not realize how tiring it could get having to triple check a map every time you wanted to go somewhere until I walked mindlessly back to the apartment from the bus station in Dublin. A feeling came over me of being back home, and after being here for a few months, I absolutely consider Dublin to be my home away from home.

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