I traveled to Europe this holiday season. I visited Paris, Milan and Rome with my cousin. We left the day after Christmas and came back to the states two weeks later.
This trip was very interesting to me. I traveled to Europe five years ago after graduating college. I visited with another cousin and two of our friends. We did one of those rite-of-passage backpacking trips, staying in hostels and visiting European cities two or three days at a time. I had very minimal travel experience at the time, so it was quite interesting to visit Europe again after my numerous trips around the world. These two European adventures had many things in common, but I was more interested to experience the differences.
First off, I remember being quite exhausted visiting Paris the first time. On my 2007 trip, Paris was one of the last cities, and after almost four weeks of walking and seeing art, I recalled feeling "over" our trip. I saw very few things in Paris the first time. This time around I had a lot of energy (well, relatively... work had drained me of energy). When I went in 2007 I also remember feeling like I was constantly on the defensive against strangers and pickpocketers. Now that I've traveled a ton, I understand the way I move and travel, so I felt quite confident I wouldn't get "attacked". So you could say I felt quite at ease. This time around I also dressed more like a "local". Now that I travel, long gone are the "tourist clothes". As I travel more and grow up, I tend to dress more "sophisticated" and pulled-together. So you'll rarely see me in touristy clothes or with a touristy bag. I've learned it's safer for me to carry a purse that I'm familiar with instead of one of those bags that all the tourists wear.
Like my first trip, I remembered how romantic Europe was. In a way I longed to experience these cities with a man I loved. As my cousin and I traveled through the city, I remembered writing home to my college boyfriend about the things I knew he would appreciate or that reminded me of him. It was very interesting to experience this trip single (very single). Honestly, it felt strange to be on a trip without a man waiting for me at home. One of these days, I'll drag a man friend along with me.
Paris, Milan and Rome did not feel new to me. I was a bit disappointed with that. I did not see it with the wonder or curiosity I hope I would. Although I saw new things europe on this trip seemed kind of ordinary. It could be because of my company. (My cousin was great company.) But for the most part a lot of my big trips have been with artistic people who long to see the world in the same wonder I desire, and so oftentimes we feed off each other's excitement. Photographers are the best travel companions.
All in all... I had a lovely time. I'll be sharing more once I'm all caught up on my work!
For now, enjoy this picture of the Paris Metro at the "Nation" stop. And I should note that I got a hoot that our apartment was on Rue Alexandre Dumas. I was surprised I actually knew who the guy was. woot. Thank you, English class.