I have always enjoyed travelling and visiting new places, but as most holidays tend to be in sunny and relaxing beach destinations, I wanted to try something new. As a result, in June I travelled around Europe for 30 days where I visited 10 cities across 8 countries; essentially stitching together a variety of long weekend city breaks into one amazing trip.
The first destination, which was also the one I was most looking forward to, was Paris. As there are so many things to see and do in Paris, the first few days of the trip were dedicated to navigating the best routes around the city to see as much as possible in a short time. Some of my favourite activities were seeing Notre Dame, visiting the Louvre and eating lunch in the Jardin des Tuilliares and by the Seine. Visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower was unforgettable, but the most memorable experience was watching the Eiffel Tower light show at night, sitting on the grass below, surrounded by both Parisians and tourists.
After leaving Paris, highlights from the rest of the trip included: cycling around Amsterdam and visiting the Vondelpark; learning about the history of Berlin on a walking tour of the city; watching free ballet performances in the old town square in Prague; walking through the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna; hiking up to the Citadel in Budapest and seeing the view of the city; watching traditional Croatian dancing in Zagreb; travelling through the mountains on the train in Austria; getting lost in the streets of Venice and trying delicious gelato in Florence.
As I stayed in hostels in each city, I met a variety of people from all over the world and the main theme that kept emerging was the benefits of travelling, particularly for young people before they start the next stage of education or training. Travelling after school or college can be a really good way for young people to gain independence and confidence through taking an international trip (possibly for the first time) without parents, navigating unknown areas and attempting to communicate in another language. Alongside this, it can be a valuable time for young people to learn more about themselves, which in turn may help them decide on the life they want to lead in the future and become more open to looking internationally in order to reach their goals.
– Emma Campbell – Aspire-international