Today is Europe Day! Living in the UK, it can sometimes feel like we’re a bit separated from Europe, mostly because there’s the Channel between us and the mainland continent. There’s also a lot of tension at the moment surrounding our role in Europe due to the looming Stay/Leave Referendum in June. Europe contains so many cultures and traditions, which is one reason why I love travelling around the region. I’m quite lucky to have been able to travel, so I’m sharing some of my favourites for Day 9 of Blog Every Day in May.
Visited: Most counties in England; many counties in Scotland; Cardiff, Tenby and Bangor in Wales
Favourite Place: Edinburgh, Scotland, especially during the Edinburgh Festival and The Fringe
Photo: Edinburgh Castle
I love Edinburgh because you can walk around most of the city easily, the people are really friendly, and there are lots of lovely places right in the centre. The Castle and Arthur’s Seat are definitely places to go.
Visited: Upper and lower Normandy; Calais; Dunkirk; Lille; Pays de la Loire; Loire Valley; Dijon; Lyon; Strasbourg; Colmar; Besancon; Dole; La Belle Plagne; Paris; First World War Battle Fields- I’ve probably missed some!
Favourite Place: Besancon, Franche-Comte
Photo: Pont Battant
I loved this city. It had old and new. You could really feel the character. My favourite thing to do was to walk down by the river. It has lots of history to it, and is surrounded by forts on the hills which offered different views of the city. The Citadelle and a walk around the ‘Boucle’ of the river are things you should definitely do. In Winter, there is a Christmas Market in Place de Granville (below).
Photo: Place de Granville
Visited: Ypres; Ghent; Bruges; Ostend; Zebrugge
Favourite Place: Bruges
I actually went there so long ago that I don’t have any digital photos! Bruges was great because of the quirky streets and canals.
Country: The Netherlands
Visited: Amsterdam and Eindhoven
Favourite Place: Amsterdam
Amsterdam is crazy, in a good way. We went for New Year’s Eve and there were fireworks everywhere- you’re allowed to set them off in the street. My favourite place we visited was the Anne Frank House. There was a really long queue to get in, so you have to get there early, but it was so interesting.
Places Visited: Berlin; Rheinland; Freiburg
Favourite Place: Berlin
Again, I don’t have any digital photos! Berlin was really interesting. It was freezing while we were there, and I got flu, but from the bits I remember, Checkpoint Charlie, Sachsenhausen and the Berlin Wall were fascinating places to visit if you like history. Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate are also worth visiting.
Places Visited: Geneva and Lausanne
Favourite Place: Lausanne
Lausanne is beautiful. It’s also on Lake Geneva, but it’s a completely different city. There are traditional old Swiss buildings and more modern areas. The best way to get around is by tram or by foot- there are some quite steep hills though! The Olympic Museum and the Bell Tower at the Cathedral are worth visiting.
Visited: Rome, The Vatican, Florence, Milan, Bergamo and Venice
Favourite Place: Florence
I didn’t really ‘connect’ with any of the cities in Italy. It was great visiting all of them, but I dislike the ‘tourist trap’ aspects. Florence was probably my favourite because it was a bit more calm and peaceful, so we saw a different side to Italy. The Coliseum, Forum, The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, The Pantheon were all worth visiting in Rome. Climbing the towers in Florence and Venice gave us brilliant views. Visiting the Uffizi museum in Florence was great to do, even though I’m not a fan of art! We also got a boat to one of the islands which makes glass, Murano, in Venice.
Places Visited: Barcelona and Madrid
Favourite Place: Barcelona
The palace in Madrid and the Museo Nacional del Prado were really interesting places to go, I’d recommend seeing those. We also went to a Bull Fighting Arena for a tour, which was interesting but I don’t think I’m brave enough to see an actual fight! Barcelona was my favourite because I love all of the Gaudi Architecture. I also like the different parts of the cities- Las Ramblas for its side streets and hidden parts; the bay and the beach; the views from Parc Guell. Gaudi’s house and the Sagrada Familia are also must see places.
Photo: Parc Guell
Photo: Sagrada Familia
Visited: Valetta and Mdina
Favourite Place: Mdina
Malta is a pretty small island and has a mix of cultures. Mdina is a walled city and with lots of Moroccan influences. The streets inside are narrow with plenty of hidden passageways- it was great to explore.
I quite enjoyed writing this blog, it gave me an excuse to look back at old pictures and remind myself of the places that I’d forgotten I visited!
All photos are my own.