After 3 months and 6 countries (putting my total at 16 countries visited now), I’ve returned home to Canada! It feels like I blinked and the time was up, but I guess its true that time flies when you’re having fun.
I’m going to be honest, writing on the road was a lot harder than I expected. Hence, I didn’t blog nearly as much as I planned. In case you were wondering what I was up to that whole time, I thought I’d write a little recap on my overall experience…
Where I went
Germany (my home base)
I was lucky enough to be welcomed into the home of Sebastian (my boyfriend) and his family to use as my home base in between traveling! I have always known that I’m not a “backpacker” exactly. I like to have a familiar place to go home to in between little trips, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one than in Jettingen, Germany. Germany is STUNNING. Especially the area where I was staying, I could not believe the rolling hills of vibrant grass and flowers that I was seeing. Along with the views, I ended up falling in love with Radler and Cheese Spaetzle (the original Mac N’ Cheese)… photo proof below.
France (my spirit place)
I knew I had to go to France when we were planning this big trip- it was a given. Growing up through the French Immersion program, we learned plenty about French culture (mostly through sing-song aka my fave), but it almost felt like a distant fairy tale.
This was my second time going to France (although this time I went to Lyon instead of Paris) and even though my French is more than rusty, I loved being able to soak up the culture that I always learned about.
Hungary (kingdom of cool)
Budapest! I loved this city fiercely. The history is SO rich and fascinating, and the hipster artist vibe sealed the deal for me. From market wandering to discovering underground ruin bars, we had an amazing weekend here (not to mention its super affordable!).
Italy (A gelato a day keeps the doctor away)
How can you say no to Italy? Sebastian and I road-tripped through the German, Austrian, and Italian Alps to first arrive in the Lake Garda area. Although spring was still in rainy mode all over Europe when we went, it was still beautiful.
Next we drove on to Florence where we met up with my parents and family friends, and then finished off right above Venice to go cabin camping for a few nights. Props to Sebastian for driving on the same roads as the crazy Italian drivers. My heart rate only went up a little and I only displayed back seat driving tendencies a few times.
Portugal (land of dancers much better than I)
Next I met up with my friends Cindy and Erin in Portugal! We decided on this country mainly because none of us had been there, but it was SO worth the trip. Their history is emotional (look up Fado music), epic, and passionate.
We went to three areas pictured below in this order: Porto, Lagos, and Lisbon.
Bulgaria (final hurrah)
When we told people we were going to Bulgaria, many people didn’t understand why. What’s there to see in Bulgaria after all? When we were planning this trip, I decided in an attempt to step outside of my comfort zone that I wanted to go to two Eastern European places (Budapest was the other one). Through a process of elimination we decided upon Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
In what other country can you eat at an expensive restaurant for about 15 bucks each, go on a free walking, hiking, and food tour, and stumble upon ancient Roman ruins in a train station (Sofia has the third most Roman ruins in the world)? We were so impressed that even my Eastern Europe sceptical boyfriend ended up saying something along the lines of “SCREW the haters, let’s see it ALL now!”
After planning and dreaming about this trip for year’s now, I can’t say I’m not sad that its over. BUT, there’s always a silver lining: I’m back in the beautiful Cowichan Valley just in time for summer, I’ve returned to a job that I really love, and I will be reunited with my love (who I was staying with in Germany) in just a few short months.
Coming home to the Cowichan Valley feels right at this point in my life, and I’m super excited for the next chapter (its going to be awfully weird not going back to school in September for the first time EVER). Knowing that adventures can be had while you’re on the other side of the world, or while your experiencing new frontiers in your own back yard, I think my travel bug is quite satisfied…. for now at least 😉