I will start off by saying that Derek and I had the most unbelievable time in Paris. I'm not saying that Paris is better than any of the other cities we visited, but for some reason or another we really enjoyed it, and are positive we will go back someday. Our first day there we wandered around kind of lost and confused for a few hours waiting for our CouchSurfers to get home. Later we found out we were walking in completely the wrong direction, towards the lower end of Paris. Our CouchSurfers, Olivier and Chloe, were this really cute couple from Normandy, that were studying in Paris. They had another couple staying with them at the same time, so we slept on a blowup mattress in the living room. We walked all around Paris for a couple days, and saw Notre Dame, The Louvre, Saint Chapelle, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles. There are so many amazing things to see, I'm surprised we saw what we did. It just so happens that my birthday occurred while we were there, so we had a really nice dinner, and sat in the park by the Eiffel Tower watching it sparkle. It was a very fabulous and romantic birthday. Possibly my favorite night in Paris was when we met Chloe, Olivier, and a bunch of their friends at the Sacré Coeur (Montmartre) for a picnic. After, we all walked around a different part of the city and saw Moulin Rouge. Paris was so full of life in every single way. Between the beautiful history on every corner, the delicious pastries, the night life, the gorgeous language, and the laid back sense of togetherness; we had decided that’s all we need in life. Needless to say, we did not want to leave Paris.
|With our CouchSurfers, Chloe & Olivier|
|We saw Chicago! With Christie Brinkley! My dad loves her.|
We took another long train to Paddington Station where we caught another to Oxford. By this point, it felt like all we were ever doing was taking trains and subways. Which is funny because we probably took more subways in London than we did in every other city combined. Oxford is such an adorable town. There is so much to see, and so much interesting history. The whole place is basically the University of Oxford. All of the colleges are spread throughout the city, and most are open to the public. The major tourist area was Corn Market Street, which didn't allow cars and was lined with shops and restaurants. Connected to Corn Market is the covered market, my favorite place! The rain is not allowed in the covered market.
For the 4th of July we went to London and met a bunch of Carl's American friends at probably the only Tex-Mex place in England. Carl gave us the grand tour which was basically the "Royal Wedding Tour". We started to notice that most of the famous sites were somehow related to the wedding, and surprisingly enough Carl knew all the information about it. This is not something he's proud of. Being in England for more than two weeks, we saw nearly every inch of Oxford and got to know London fairly well. We met a lot of Carl's friends, who were amazingly fun and intelligent people. It was sad to leave because we knew that this was a segment in our life ending. It is very possible we may never see these people again, or experience such an adventure.
We will always have Facebook though. Which, at least, lets us pretend to still be friends with lost segments of our lives.
Our European Adventure was a once in a lifetime experience that we will remember forever. We may have lost some of our savings, and I may have lost some positions at work but we have no regrets. It was all worth it.
One thing I want to take out of this experience is the reassurance of how possible travel is. Not just for the wealthy or the lucky but for everyone. College students like Derek and I. Save up for a year or so, plan it out the cheapest way possible, and do it! All it takes is motivation. CouchSurfing was one of the coolest parts of this trip, and everyone can do it. All it took was us deciding that seeing the world was a priority for us. Hopefully there will be many more adventures to come.