Almost Home (The Bittersweet Feeling)

Hmm. Not sure how I’ll feel once I’m boarding my flight back home. It’s bittersweet. And although I’m saying goodbye to Europe, I’ve comes to terms with it. I’m ready to go back home.

The word bittersweet has two parts to it. But in context for me, the breakdown of bitter and sweet is simple. It’s all about people.

It’s bitter because I’m saying goodbye to the people I’ve become friends with here, both Europeans and Americans alike. It’s hard to get close to people in the short time I have here and then abruptly have to say goodbye.

On the other hand, it’s sweet. I get to return to the family and friends that have helped shape me for all of my 21 years. I’m excited about that because there’s no place I’d rather be than with those people.

I’m going to have two extreme sides of emotion from when I depart London at Heathrow and arrive in New Jersey at Newark. Hopefully the low point of leaving this side of the Atlantic is overcome shortly by the euphoria of being back home. If it doesn’t, it might be a long 7 hour flight home.

Now for some quick updates since I’ve been traveling Europe for over a week now.

Berlin: The first stop of my trip. The history of this city is unbelievable. From its history as the center of the Germanic State of Prussia to the capital of present day Germany, this place has a long story to tell. The visit was both humbling and surreal as I was able to visit the Holocaust Memorial and Berlin Wall. I’m glad to have soaked in some of the German culture as well as some well above average fried potatoes, sausage, and beer.

Prague: So if you don’t know, this place is gorgeous. Castles, intricate architecture, and red tile roofs define this place, and I’m sure happy about the cost of stay as well. Everything is cheap here and don’t be afraid of a 200 CZ entree. 200 CZ is around $5. Back to the beauty, here’s the castle at sunset. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

Budapest: So I didn’t know much about this place. My assumption was that it was a small Hungarian city and that everything was cheap. Only the latter was correct. This place is large. The city is seperated into Buda and Pest, both of which are complimented by beautiful architecture. Pest seems like a normal city but holds some great sights. Ruin bars are scattered trough out the city’s old Jewish District, Hungarian style restaurants are spread throughout, and the most stunning Parliament building (my opinion) stands on this side. Across the river is Buda, the wealthier and hillier side. From top to bottom, houses are plotted on the hills. I’d say it was one of the nicest neighborhoods I’ve seen in Europe thusfar. My stay here was wonderful and I wish I could’ve been there for longer. On the other hand, the only scare of the stay was taking out 15,000 HUF for a little over a day. No worries though because that is only around $65.

*** Special shoutout to Lindsey Schapiro who I randomly ran into here. It was one of the best surprises during my time in Europe. ***

Athens: What a great city. I’m going to say this is my second favorite city so far behind London. The people are unbelievably friendly, the food is amazing, and the sights are even better. To be able to walk atop the Acropolis and see some other the antient ruins of Greece; wow. I think I spent more time trying to convince myself that I was actually in Athens than accepting that fact. So on that note, I hope to be back because my stay was fantastic and the one day I was there was no where near enough.

Santorini: Hello paradise. It’s the one place on my itinerary that I would not consider a city. The island itself is a Greek Island in the Meditterranean Sea created by a volcano that lies in the center of the seperated islands. I swam in the Mediterranean, relaxed in a hot spring, soaked in some sun on multiple beaches, and rode a four-wheeler across the island. And did I say every meal I ate had a picturesque view of the water? It was the time of my life. But with all that, you might be surprised to hear me say that the people here were the best part. I’m surprised too because I’ve never had better hospitality than from the people of Santorini. A special thanks goes out to all the people that made me feel like family there.

So flash forward to today as I’m traveling back to Athens and then to Rome. Up ahead is four days in Italy before I return to London and home.

Luckily, I get to end this experience properly. Trips to Rome, Florence, and Venice, surely a dream come true for me. Then it’s back to say goodbye one more time to my favorite place here from Day 1: London.

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