It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything here! I’ve been home from Europe for two weeks now, although it seems like forever since I was there already. To say that it was an amazing summer wouldn’t even begin to explain all the wonderful places I visited, cultures I explored and friends I made.
My journey began in London, where I met 52 new friends. I was on a group tour for two weeks with Contiki. The tour itself was good, although it left me wishing we had more time in each city/country. The people I shared it with though, were great. It’s amazing how you can make friends and meet new people one night, and then start an adventure for two weeks together on a coach bus the next morning and already feel like a family. The whole group got along really well, and it was sad to have to say goodbye to everyone on the 16th day. Thankfully thanks to modern technology we can all stay in touch with social media networks. For anyone wanting to explore Europe alone, and make some friends from around the world I would really recommend you do a tour like Contiki. I did the ‘European Highlights’ tour, and while It was great and our tour group was amazing, the tour itself was a little rushed. We did see everything, but most of the people on the tour agreed that more time in each place would have been nice. I guess we never really factored in the long days we would be on the bus, not arriving to our destination until 7 pm at night. However, there are longer tours you can go on that are slower paced, if you have the time and money. I was lucky enough that I was going back to Italy for two weeks after the tour ended in Amsterdam.
I’ve mentioned on here before about my dad, that he was Italian. He was born in a small town in southern Italy called Sulmona. I’ll post more about that portion later, but it was amazing to go to the town where he was born, and see the house he lived in, and the hospital where he was born (that is now a museum). It was even more surreal that I was able to go with my Nonna (grandma), my dad’s mom. It really was a once in a lifetime experience to go back to Italy with her and see where my family was from. Next year will be nine years since his passing, even more surreal. So, I stayed with family for two weeks in Sulmona, and Grottaglie, Puglia. To say that I did not want to leave would be an understatement. I really could have gotten used to those beaches..
And the food. Oh, the food.
I’ll have to do an entire post on just the food I ate. I told Adam I was going to come home fat, because the first day I was with family I was sure I ate more in one meal than I would in an entire month back at home. However, much to my delight I returned home the same as I left, apparently even a little bit lighter? How that is possible, I’m not sure. But I’ll take the compliments! If I can go to Europe for a month, eat bottomless gelato, hundreds of bowls of pasta, pizza, and pastries and not gain weight, I’ll be going back for sure! Who wouldn’t want to live that life?? It is really an amazing adventure to discover history, see the sights, explore different cultures and gain an experience unlike any other. I think everyone should travel at some point in their life, even if it’s only just beyond your border. I am very thankful that my Mom was able to give me the gift of travel. Being a well seasoned traveler herself, she really wanted me to be able to visit Italy and see all of Europe, even some places she had never been herself. This trip was my graduation present from my mom. Even grad seems like it was forever ago. It was truly a trip that I will never forget.
And now, reality sets in. I begin school next week for my PDP for teaching. More school. One more year until I have my teaching degree. Adam and I have sold and moved out of our condo, well, he moved out the week after I left and we’re now living with his parents until our new house is ready in November. It was pretty funny coming home, and not really having a home, or knowing where anything was, but it will be great and I can’t wait until the new place is ready!
Oh, and I cooked last night for the first time in over a month. I made pizza dough – and then pizza’s. They were delicious, and fulfilled my desire to be back in Italy, eating pizza just out of the giant wood burning outdoor oven.
For now, here are some snapshots of Europe. I’ll post some more in-depth information soon!
– Home. Vancouver, Canada.