Hop on the Metro, they said. It’ll be easy, they said. “My parents did it fine, you just get straight onto line B change to line D and you’ll be there no worries.” Shaz – Busabout guide
It wasn’t like Perth, not even one bit, and it was only vaguely in English. On our last night in Paris, we walked in a big fat circle before we found where we needed to go. And just five minutes before that we walked up and down five times, questioning where line b even was?! It was so darn frustrating at times but we made it. Each and every time, one of us was able to determine right from wrong, line too vs line fro and we made it. Understanding the lines was fine, like “yep, we need to go from station A to station D and change over to line C” but we were so far underground that the change overs were hard to find. You’d get off the train and look for line C but there was nothing. You’d turn corners upon corners, walk through alleys and then you’d finally see a sign. You’d follow the clues, then they’d be gone. Thankfully upon arriving to Amsterdam, all of that practice when out the door when I could cycle or walk everywhere. Metro be gone!
It’s so nice to be alone, but not completely alone. I met a lovely group of solo travellers and I wasn’t so solo anymore. I have a “travelling family”. It’s honestly like I’d never even left. The friends I’d made over here, we’re all from the same city anyway so it really didn’t feel like I was on holidays at all, except I didn’t have work – not working was bliss. I still had to set an alarm most days but it was pure and utter bliss not having to get ready and drive to work.
We’d seen some crazy things like seedy old men sitting next to us, asking the girl behind us if she’d like to “sleep with him, because he’d like to sleep with her.” Old men who “specialise in massage”, because they overheard us saying our backs are sore, taxi drivers who drive 80km/h through red lights at 3am in the morning because the Italian men told him to only charge us 20€ (when it was already 22€ when we arrived at our hostel & that’s going 80km/h! Imagine how much it would’ve been going to actual speed & waiting for the green lights?!) Men walking through fields with dogs and shotguns and the military walking & observing the streets with their rifles.
I laughed a lot, and had day naps, some days I drank too much, while others too little and of an evening, I ate my weeks worth in calories – food is amazing. Stairs! I’d never in my life climbed so many stairs, we all had really toned legs by the end. I had bruises upon bruises with a swollen ankle on my left foot and sore ligaments on my right but I wouldn’t change a thing.
My trip went a little like this:
Sailing around in the Split sun and iridescent blue waters, listening to the sea organ in Zadar, Gondola rides in Venice, getting yelled at on the bus in Rome for being too loud & riding in security buggies, starving hungry and drunk, feasting on the biggest 10€ Gelato’s in Florence, and midnight beach walks in Nice. Melting in the Monaco sun, juice markets and jamon in Barcelona, busking, street performers and gorgeous Italian men in Madrid; walking home at 5am. Picnics at sunset in San Sebastian, cycling around Paris in the day, riding the trains of a night, walking through the canals and dodging bikes in Amsterdam, what fun I’ve had. I have one more European stop left, a short stop over and finally Canada.
These last five weeks have been amazing, the best of my life by far. I’ve had too many gelato’s in Italy, too much Jamon in Spain, not enough Croatian sun but I’m leaving with a full heart and a lifetime full of memories. Oh, I never want this to end.