*pauses to catch breath*
Wow it’s been a crazy few weeks.
If you’re my parents, my grandparents, or my girl Sam, you may be wondering why I haven’t blogged recently. Otherwise you probably hadn’t thought about it. But here I am!
I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since my last post, where I reminisced on days alone. Since then, I’ve visited seven cities with a girl who’s had to put up with me for 18 years straight, my lil sis.
When my parents agreed to let Anna come visit me in Europe, it was clear that they were pretty dang nervous about the whole thing. There was a hot contest between being the cool, adventure-encouraging parents they are and the basic instinct to protect their child.
Admittedly I think that one of the scariest things about sending Anna over was knowing who’d be waiting for her at Arrivals, yours truly.
Yes, I’m a little bit wild. Under my introverted exterior (sounds oxymoronic, huh?) is a girl who will push all boundaries. If you only knew the stories that were censored from this blog for the sake of my future employment…
Yet there I was in the Madrid airport with arms wide open when Anna walked out of the terminal.
If you don’t have a sister, you probably won’t understand this post. I’ve been blessed to have two, and cursed to be the middle child. This post mainly references Anna because Blair has a big girl job and thus could not join us on this excursion. But of course we think of her every day.
Less than 24 hours after Anna flew into Madrid, we promptly made our way to my favorite party city in Europe: Barcelona. After five nearly perfect days, I’m psyched to say that she loved it just as much as I do.
Next we flew to a city that I’ve visited three times but didn’t manage to hit earlier this semester: Roma, Italia.
Despite being overrun with tourists (myself included) Rome is incredible. Our eyes took in lots of ancient ruins while our mouths feasted on tons of pasta, pizza, and for your caffeine-obsessed writer, lots of ristretto.
The next part of our journey gets a little choppy, and will likely make you think “wow Megan is not cut out to be a travel agent” which is correct.
To start, here’s a timeline:
22:30- flight from Rome to Athens
00:30- Arrive in Athens
6:15- flight from Athens to Chania
8:00 Arrive in Chania
21:30- Boat from Chania to Athens
6:00- Arrive in Athens
6:15- Flight from Athens to Brussels
After spending the night in the airport, we arrived hazily at the Chania airport on the island of Crete and immediately hit the beach. Along the way we met a delightful pair of canines that stayed with us for the majority of the day.
At lunch we discovered just how cheap Greece is thanks to the recession. I could go into a Eurozone rant right here but I’ll refrain.
After a nice beach nap (one that got me thoroughly sunburned) we walked to our overnight boat from Crete to Athens.
This was for sure the worst night of the entire trip (so far). Anna spent most of it wrapped up in a cheap tapestry while I curled up like a dog on a towel. I’m convinced the boat cabin was 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This photo was the only real highlight.
On Friday morning we arrived in Athens at 6:00am, before the sun was out. Without any Wi-Fi, we were forced to simply follow a gang of locals until we found a train station that took us to the Acropolis.
At this point we had gone two nights without a bed, yet we were about to experience the best moment of our trip.
Sitting on top of a hill by the Acropolis we changed clothes, brushed our teeth, and did our makeup with handheld mirrors.
All while watching the sun rise over the Acropolis #lifegoals
Our day in Athens was surprisingly pleasant given that we were two Sheets girls on no sleep (scary).
It was a blessing to check into a hostel where we’d be able to lay on an actual bed…until 3:30 on Saturday morning when we had to head to the airport for our 6:15 flight.
At this point I’m positive Anna hated me. Not only had she been stuck with me for two weeks, but I hadn’t let her really sleep for far too long and I was dragging her to Belgium.
But nothing could ruin my reunion with Brussels. We arrived at 9:00 on Saturday and I instantly felt relieved, like I was home. Unfortunately old apartment is gone, but we were lucky enough to be welcomed into the home of one of my SWIFT coworkers.
Anna spent that Saturday in bed fighting a fever while I went to my favorite spot in BXL, Flagey.
Thought BXL was a pause? Nah. On Sunday afternoon we jumped on a Megabus to Paris.
Anna took French for two years in middle school but somehow managed to say “bonjouR” to the waiter in our first Parisian eating establishment. I was embarrassed but also recognized that French people really are rude…
The weather during our time in Paris was classic Northern Europe, so we were consistently cold and wet.
On Tuesday night I managed to get Anna on a train back to Brussels. Once again, I was home.
Wednesday and Thursday were spent showing Anna my temporary home while letting her get a glimpse into my work life by meeting a couple of my former coworkers. And of course we hit up happy hour at Place Lux.
Haha you thought I’d be stuck in BXL? Nope, on Friday morning we jumped on a bus to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam was special because for the first time in weeks, we’d be around people our own age: my friends from Mizzou.
Nearly three years ago, the University of Missouri placed me in the College Avenue residence hall. I knew my roommate’s name, I knew I would be living with other journalism majors, and I knew I was terrified.
To this day, though, those CA friends are some of the best I have. And this weekend, I was able to take on Amsterdam with three of my old floormates.
I think the hardest part of going abroad was knowing that life would continue without me in Columbia. What can I say, I suffer from FOMO on a regular basis. As I sit one week away from leaving Europe, I’m so glad that I had a weekend with these crazy Tigers to remind me of why I’m ready to head home.
At this very moment I’m sitting in Flagey once again, trying to ignore the fact that I have a mere 24 hours left in Belgium and five days left in Europe. Too little time, too much nostalgia.
Good luck getting me to leave this place!