30 Moments From Europe That Stayed With Me

A little while ago I wrote this post where I listed 10 moments from my trip to Austria that stayed with me. Well today is a year since I left for my first trip to Europe – a month long trip with my family, first doing a two week Trafalgar tour of mainland Europe and then doing two weeks in Britain, starting with 5 days in London and then driving up through York to Scotland and then down through Oxford to Poole, Dorset.

As I said before, memories and reflections are a funny thing. They change over time and what stands out to me a year on are a strange collection of moments and impressions. So, in no particular order, here is 30 moments from my first trip to Europe that I remember vividly.

  1. Walking out of a concert hall in Vienna to find it has started raining, getting the bus back to the hotel and viewing the city through rain-streaked windows that made everything beautiful.
  2. Landing at Heathrow Airport and my sister exclaiming ‘I can’t believe this is where they filmed Love Actually!’
  3. Getting the train alone to Hampton Court, and spending the whole day walking around, looking at and touching this old red bricked Tudor palace, unable to believe I was really there.
  4. Being exhausted in Rome and finding a comfortable looking rock in the Colosseum to sit on.
  5. Sitting in a boat, going down the main canal of Venice, worrying that my hat would blow off or I would drop my phone in the water.
  6. Driving over the border into Scotland and not being able to believe the sky was so big.
  7. Seeing a man buy two gelato cones in Rome, and then watching him feed one to his dog.
  8. Being too sick when we got to Paris to do the Seine river cruise – Dad and I found a bakery, and I ate a sesame seed roll with lettuce and Camembert cheese and then went to bed and slept for 12 hours.
  9. Driving through the Black Forest in Germany and totally believing that fairytale characters could appear at any moment.
  10. Walking around Florence on a 40 degree day and going to every church we saw because they were the coolest (temperature-wise) buildings.
  11. Meeting a dog named Chaz in a pub in Stow-On-The-Wold in England and missing my own Leo dog.
  12. Getting overwhelmed in the Vatican because there were so many people. 
  13. Getting the tube from Westminster to the Tower of London – it was sunny when we went underground, and then when we emerged it was pouring rain. We dashed to a nearby pub to take shelter (and eat lunch).
  14. Sailing down the Rhine River and seeing my first castle – the first castle I ever saw in real life. Then wondering how on earth you access it when it’s up so high on a cliff.
  15. Seeing the house Dad lived in and the primary school he went to in Glasgow (he lived there for a year when he was ten years old).
  16. Walking along the old city walls in Lucerne, Switzerland, and picking out which castle I would retire to/run away from the world to.
  17. Walking out of our dinner location to see the sun setting behind the Colosseum.
  18. Buying a colouring book at a rest stop in Austria and then using it as entertainment for the many, many hours on the tour bus.
  19. Realizing that the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace was happening in ten minutes, walking really fast to get there, and then realizing we were walking alongside the barracks they leave from.
  20. Driving from Glasgow to Creetown and getting lost. We ended up driving through almost deserted Scottish countryside on a tiny track. At one point we stopped the car, got out and just walked around, admiring the view. The hills stretched on forever, the sky was like a huge open dome and it was so silent.
  21. Attending a prayerbook service in the Royal Chapel at Hampton Court.
  22. Walking around a 17th Century graveyard next to the ruins of a 12th Century church – which were both in the backyard of our bnb in Bathgate. Also meeting the bnb’s two cats.
  23. Realizing the ducks in St James’ Park are HUGE.
  24. Sitting in the Eagle and Child in Oxford (the pub where the Inklings met) and drinking Pimms and lemonade and hiding from the sun.
  25. Meeting my Aunt and Uncle’s giant furry dog, and then walking him all around Poole and Dorset for three days.
  26. Standing in Westminster Abbey and just saying to myself ‘I’m in Westminster Abbey. I’m really here.’
  27. Driving from Germany, through the Bavarian alps towards Innsbruck, through the Austrian alps, and being overwhelmed that the world was so beautiful.
  28. Realizing that in Europe, a flat white is called an ‘Australian flat white.’
  29. Visiting Creetown, and the Creetown historical museum. Seeing objects like the town’s school enrollment book and letters from both World Wars.
  30. Walking down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh castle, listening to blues music (the Blues and Jazz festival was in town) and never wanting to leave.

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