After completing my degree in the North of England, close to home, I wanted a bit of time to myself before entering the “real world” of job applications, interviews and nine-to-five schedules. I knew that I wanted to travel, but I wasn’t quite sure where to go or how to go about planning it. My family had given me some money after graduation, and my requirements were simple: that I could travel between great cities, arrange where I was staying in advance, and have amazing activities to look forward to at each destination. I essentially wanted a backpacking trip that was organised, structured and with some security behind it.
After some research I came across Tripobox, an online platform that lets you book hotels, restaurants and activities all at once on the same website. After seeing that Tripobox had offers in a range of European destinations, I decided that this could really work for me. Yes, I’m European, but I hadn’t really seen much of Europe apart from the occasional school trip and university weekend away. There was so much more for me to see in Europe, and I knew that a trip around the continent was the perfect opportunity for me to see a bit of the world before settling into a full-time graduate job.
My first stop was London, a city that I’d hurriedly travelled through before but never truly appreciated. I stayed in a really modest, comfortable hotel for three nights, and during the day I explored both the city’s hidden spots and major landmarks. Camera in hand, I played the tourist as I saw London from boat, bus and foot, and I visited some of the museums and galleries that the city was so famous for. After a few days in London, I felt that I could truly appreciate my country’s capital.
Next, I took a budget flight to Paris, where I was soon enjoying all the great food and wine that the city could offer me. I spent ten days here, and after a few days I really got into the swing of Parisian life. I had managed to find a reasonably priced 3* hotel that didn’t break the bank, and the staff on reception were soon greeting me each morning and asking about my plans for the day. Already I could appreciate the great range of new people and cultures that travel can introduce you to, even without leaving my home continent. However, soon I had to pack my backs and say au revoir, leaving for my next city: Berlin.
Staying in a hostel that satisfied even the smallest of budgets, I spent a fortnight appreciating landmarks such as The Berlin Wall and the Gemaldegalerie, alongside Berlin’s unique customs and traditions. Finally, I spent three weeks in Barcelona, added to my itinerary so I could practise the Spanish that I thought I had long ago left at school. Basic phrases and greetings soon came back to me; something that was undoubtedly helped by my time spent in tiny tapas bars filled with friendly locals. My camera was filled with incredible photos of Gaudi’s iconic work, the sublime scenery of the nearby Montserrat mountains, and my time on the beach with newfound friends.
I headed back to England exhausted, but I was truly happy knowing that I had seen the European cities and cultures that I had so wanted to explore. Also, it was great to know that I hadn’t spent a ridiculous amount of money doing so! I finally felt ready to enter the world of work, and I had so much to tell people about.
Contributed by Jennifer Heath
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