Travel Blog: Why Europe? A Look Back At My First Euro-Adventure

As I mentioned in my previous blog that this summer I will be traveling again to Europe. Well, I actually just came back  from that trip and I can’t wait to share my experiences and things that I have seen. It was pretty epic for a short trip. I don’t want it to stop (as most of you will surely feel) but now I am back in Dubai to work and start to dream again of where to go next.

paris travel blog arch de triumph travel blogger

I thought before starting to share my awesome trip, I would like to blog a short story of my first Europe trip. let’s call it a Travel Tuesday flashback.

Two years ago, embarking on my first solo trip in Europe was just a dream. I never thought I will be able to do it. Asians (Southeast Asian in particular) are pretty much not the travel westward kinds. We love to travel but because of all visa applications needed we became confined with our little region (which is really beautiful). So, to travel to famous European spots was a dream come true for a guy like me.

My plan was to go to Paris then travel by train to the South of France (Montpelier and Saint Andre de Sangonis), stayed a few days in Barcelona then fly to Italy to visit Florence, Venice and Rome. It was a good plan and a feasible one I must say.

After getting my visa approved (it was surprisingly easy —-but it took a month) I started thoroughly researching about the places I will be visiting. It was a dreadful period. I was so stressed but my motto was “ginusto mo yan kaya panindigan mo” (you wanted this, so live with it). To cut the story short, although I complained a lot with booking trains, planes and hostels (and all connections), I was able to sort everything out and I was ready to hop on the plane and start my first European journey.

eiffel tower travel blog blogger paris trip europe

My first destination was Paris and I was warned that “people there are cold and really a snob, everything is very pricey, be careful of pick pockets and also people doesn’t speak English so I need to learn basic French.”

To my surprise, not only the French were very warm, most of the people I met spoke clear English, good enough for us to create a conversation. I also met a Filipina who is an aunt of my friend in Dubai and I lived in a Pastor’s office/flat (a friend from London hooked me up with this Pastor, he was so accommodating).

versailles paris france travel blog blogger paris trip europe

I was stunned with how this city is very beautiful, big but it feels just right. A lot of tourists though cause it was summer when I arrived there, but who am I to complain (right?). At the heart of the city, you can see old European buildings, although altered and mixed with modern shops, you can still feel the nostalgia that every alley conveys.

I fell in love with this city immediately. I don’t know why some of my friends don’t like Paris. I met my very first travel family who adopted me for the day. We became close friends and until now we still talk (love this part of traveling, I will tell more about this in my next blog).

Saint Andres de Sangonis France South of France travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Food South of France travel blog blogger paris trip europe

After Paris, I went to Saint Andre de Sangonis  and Montpelier where I saw the beauty of the French country side. I live with our French intern and his girlfriend and we really had a great time. I remember buying a French baguette at a local boulangerie and my first taste of pastis. I must say, I was really living the life of a local which was pretty amazing. Who ever said again that French people are cold? I had a chance as well to watch a bull fight and a bull run, it was scary but interesting and at times I felt bad for the bulls.

Montpellier france south of france travel blog blogger paris trip europe

montpollier south of france bull run travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Even though I didn’t want to leave, but my time in France was over. I did a cross country carpool to reach Barcelona. It was very warm when I was there. The city is very beautiful. You can feel immediately that arts thrive in this city, with the work of Gaudi being celebrated everywhere.

I haven’t had a chance to really meet anyone in Barcelona even though I stayed in a hostel that is why it became one of my least favorite city (for sure I will come back and stay longer to experience it more)…but removing that aspect, it is very beautiful (the place, the people and the FOOD).

Barcelona Spain travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Flying from Barcelona to Italy. I first arrived in Florence and I saw a lot of Filipinos in the city. It was nice to speak Filipino after quite some time of speaking English and a bad French, Italian and Spanish. Florence during summer is really a very touristy place but still, even with this much congestion you can still enjoy the sight and sound of the city. It is a city thriving with its love for the arts and at the same time boasting its very traditional Italian cuisines. Amongst all cities in Italy, I think, I ate the most here.

Duomo Florence Firenze Italy travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Food Italy travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Other cities/towns I visited was Pisa, Venice and Rome.  It is so amazing how much different landscapes you can find in a country and the amount of history that it displays.

I was so happy to be able to ride a gondola, post awkwardly near the Tower of Pisa and even marveled at the Roman Colosseum.

Pisa Leaning Tower Italy travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Colloseum Rome Italy travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Gondola Venice Italy travel blog blogger paris trip europe

Gondola Venice Italy travel blog blogger paris trip europe

All in all my first experience in Europe was very amazing. It opened my eyes on how much history and beauty are out there. Surprisingly, a lot of  things I learned from all the museums I saw I only heard  for the first time during this trip (I googled most of them after and watched documentaries).

I think as a backpacker, exploring Europe should be one of the top list (even if you are European), I fell in love with this region and while planning for my 2014 summer trip, I can’t help but remember all the good things I saw and experienced.

What is your best European memory and what is your favorite/dream destination?

Dubai Travel BLogger Kenneth Surat Europe


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14 Responses

  1. Chris

    Not to be rude but I suggest you don’t do this alone as in all hotsney you sound too naive. I mean you think you need a passport for each country? You need a passport from YOUR country, not other countries. Go with someone else or wait until you’re in your mid 20 s. I did it in my mid 20 s but by then I was very street wise even so it’s very daunting to go to places where you don’t speak the language where you get lost as it’s a new city, etc. Again your naivety shows re not knowing that certain European countries are dangerous to travel to alone. You would be hassled by men alot in countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal Greece, hassling could range from following you in a flirtatious manner to actually attacking you as these cultures are different they may think you are promiscuous or something to be travelling alone. That’s why I avoided those countries when I went. I researched my trip thoroughly, the Lonely Planet guidebooks are the best ones they have warnings in them about dangers annoyances also warnings for female travellers. Even some places I went to that I thought would be safe, actually weren’t so you need to be able to handle that get yourself out of some bad situations. For instance I found Germany easy to travel around in but I had major problems in Berlin in broad daylight. Like being followed by creepy old men, a dangerous looking homeless man, being abused by a neo nazi who didn’t like non German people in his country, having an old Turkish man try get his young grandchild to open the zip of my backpack on the train rob me, etc, he tried this 3 times even though he knew I knew what he was up to. I also had a nasty incident in an innocent German town, which is a popular tourist spot, where a local teenager pushed me into a shop window really violently as evidently he hated tourists. You just never know what can happen. If you are too innocent sensitive then you won’t cope. The other thing about these incidents is that in Germany the public won’t come to help you, they just look after themselves. Other than that my trip was great but I’m just trying to illustrate to you that I don’t think you’re the right age I don’t think you have enough life experience to cope.When I was travelling I stayed in youth hostels as it was cheap every now then I’d come across another female travelling alone but she wasn’t the type to be able to handle it. They’d be all desperate clingy looking for me to tell them what to do mother them. There is nothing more annoying than that. It’s fun to meet other travellers, but not ones like that! I wasn’t going to have my travelling ruined by having to hold some silly girl by the hand every step of the way. One of them was actually following me around Europe as I had made the mistake of telling her of my itinerary. I don’t get why she chose to travel alone when clearly she couldn’t cope. In the end I lied told her I’d changed my itinerary again so that she’d head off to all the wrong countries. Lol, I had to get rid of he somehow, she was kind of nuts really annoying.People do look for lone travellers to rob, etc as a teenage female on your own you are much more vulnerable. How about doing an organised tour instead? But research those carefully as the Contiki ones some others are often full of young people just getting drunk sleeping around with one another that seems like a waste of a trip to Europe to me, not to mention a pretty trashy poor character thing to do as well, I mean they can just stay at home do that anyway!I’m surprised your parents are letting you go alone too. Another way you can test how you feel is to travel far away somewhere in your own country or to a neighbouring country on your own see how you feel on your own. But bear in mind that will be easy if you are American only going to Canada, which is similar in culture also English speaking. Still, it’s a trial run of sorts.Also alot of people get lonely on their own don’t find it fun. You could also advertise for a travelling companion go with another girl from where you live, but meet her first of course find out if what she wants to do on the trip is the same as what you want to do. I think there are even websites where you can seek travelling companions, just be careful to meet with them in a public place, etc.Frequent traveller

  2. I’m glad that you’ve been to Barcelona. Beautiful, right? I’ve been to this catalan city too, but wasn’t able to explore it that much. Maybe, next year, I’ll visit it again. Kudos to your blog.

  3. John Williams

    Nice blog. This is a very good blog. I would like to thank you for all the information you give. Its really important to choose the best travel guide to know the different place in earth. So thenks for the information you give.

  4. Mela

    Hi Kenneth! Nice blog. Do you mind if you share your itinerary with me? I’m planning to travel solo also going to Europe and I’m also currently working here in Dubai.

  5. Krisha Debulgado

    Hi Kenneth! My boyfriend and I are also planning to go to Europe early next year. We are planning to go to Paris, and then Italy (Rome and Florence), and lastly Amsterdam. And maybe, just maybe, Switzerland. We’re also based in Abu Dhabi. Can you please share your itinerary and travel expense as well? Thank you very much. 🙂

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