Last week was Spring Break and I decided to use it as an opportunity to explore Europe outside of Denmark. Along with three friends, I boarded a plane to Thessaloniki, Greece. Here are a two highlights from the trip.
Exploring in the Sun
Walking out of the airport, I felt the need to put my sunglasses on. It was a bright day with clear skies; around 70 degrees. After reaching the hotel and dropping off our bags, my friends and I hit the streets to explore and take advantage of the sun. We roamed the cobblestone roads, taking in the breath-taking architecture. We stopped at street vendors for Fredo cappuccinos- a cold, frothy & delicious Greek speciality.
Walking along the water, we stumbled across a pirate ship docked at the shore. Two people welcomed us on for a free sunset tour. We claimed the best seats at the front of the ship and took in the smell of salt and the feeling of the ocean breeze. We admired the mountains in he distance and the birds along the shore. The sun shone on our faces as we enjoyed this unexpected result of our exploration.
2. A Picnic in the Sand
On the second day of the trip we decided to head to the beach. However, before we hailed a taxi we made a quick stop at a lovely outdoor market. We picked out some fresh fruit, locally made cheese, crackers and juice. After packing up these treats, we made the quick journey to the seashore.
We laid out or blanket and towels and turned on some music. We relaxed, talked and munched on the delicious picnic we had put together. It was a rather uneventful outing, and that was just what we had hoped for. Laying in the sand, we simply relaxed.
Yesterday, I arrived home after a week spent with my communications class in Ireland. While each day was full of amazing happenings, I have chosen 3 magical moments to share.
On Monday, my class had the opportunity to visit Trinity College of Dublin. The first part of the campus I saw was the large square of grass that lay in between four buildings. Sprawled out all across this plaza, students sat reading, chatting and lying in the sun. Still tired from the travel the day before, I promptly joined in the crowd, lying in the grass. The sun warmed my face and I took some deep breaths. I listened to the many conversations taking place around me. For a few moments, I basked in the sun and appreciated the beautiful campus. However, there was more to see.
Next, I went into the library. Shelves of books towered above me, from floor to ceiling. It was truly breathtaking, which, I’ll admit, I hadn’t expected from a library. Along with the overwhelming amount of books, statues of prominent thinkers lined the room. The place felt absolutely magical.
On Wednesday, I took the train for about thirty minutes watching the city of Dublin fade away as I neared the village of Howth. The village of Howth lies on a peninsula, east of central Dublin.
Howth smelled of sea salt and sounded of crashing waves and the chatter of seagulls. The paths along the water were full of people walking their dogs and enjoying the sunny weather. All of the locals were eager to stop and chat with me, telling me about what made Howth so wonderful.
On the recommendation of a friendly resident, I made my way to the ruins of an old church, now a cemetery. Although I usually find cemeteries to be quiet. saddening, this one was both magnificent and peaceful. It was full of wildflowers and, from It, one could see the whole village below. The graves were all adored with fresh flowers. Rather than sadness, it felt like a place of love.
3. Cliffs of Moher
A trip to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs are so magnificent and immense that it is hard to describe them with words. They are the kind of thing which, when you see, you feel small. Not in a bad way, in a way that makes you appreciate the spectacular and awe-inspiring universe we live in. Unfortunately, pictures fail to truly capture the essence of the place. Nonetheless, I did my best to capture what I could of the splendor of it.
I have always been a believer that, in life, it is usually the small marked moments that stick with you. It is those seemingly insignificant occurrences that take up a special place in your memories. Last week, I had no classes and took the opportunity to journey to some other countries in Europe; Switzerland and Germany. I had a grand time and experienced some extraordinary things but, when a friend asked me to recount my favorite memory from the trip, a minor happening came to mind. That being; A bratwurst in the Swiss Alps.
I was with my travel companion, Miranda and a new friend, Toni. Miranda was a friend I had met in class early in the semester. Toni, was someone brand new in my life. She was an 18-year-old girl from Berlin, who occupied the same room as Miranda and me in our Zürich hostel. The three of us, upon meeting, quickly became partners in exploration during our stay in Switzerland. And, on a day we all seemed to need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, decided to take a trip to the Swiss Alps.
After a 40 minute train ride which took us far outside of the city, we found ourselves on a tram slowly making its way up an immense mountain. By a quick google search we had found the place and, although we were ill-prepared for the snow that came with being so high up, we decided to take a hike. The ride up was scenic. We watched as the landscape changed from sun-soaked grass to large pine trees, weighed down by snow.
Stepping off the tram near the top of the mountain, we began our hike. As we walked, we stopped frequently to take in the beauty around us. The view felt unreal. Truly, the vast landscape behind us looked like it had been painted onto the sky. As we walked, we couldn’t help but smile at the sheer magnificence around us. However, as I mentioned before, we were not adequately dressed for the cold or the snow, and we quickly became cold. After about a half an hour of walking, we could barley feel our toes. However, in the same instance in which the chill began to reach our bones, we spotted a small structure and heard the sound of cheerful German music.
As we approached we realized that the building was a small restaurant. Many weary but merry skiers and snowboarders sat on the wooden benches sipping hot drinks and enjoying slices of homemade pie and bratwursts. The owner of the establishment stood by the outdoor grill cooking brats as he welcomed us and pointed out an empty picnic bench in the sun.
Smelling the delicious brats on the grill, we made the effortless decision to order one. The owner, seeing that we were cold, offered us hot apple cider. In a matter of minutes, both were brought out to us, along with some free chocolates.
The brats and cider were an instant remedy for our chill. Quickly, they alleviated the cold that settled in our bodies. We were filled a feeling of warmth and coziness. We sat, enjoying the food and looked out onto the mountains. We didn’t talk much as we ate and drank. Instead, we simply appreciated the present moment. We tasted the sweet cider and savory brats. Our noses were met with smells of the fresh pies being baked inside and the distant aroma of pine trees. We felt the warmth of the sun as its rays touched our cold faces. The German music, the chatter of people, the sounds of glasses clanking together in cheers; all these sounds filled the air. All of these things, happened together and, noticing them, I was grounded in the present moment. I remember thinking this is life. So, although a bratwurst in the Swiss Alps doesn’t sound like much, it is this memory that, when asked about my favorite part of the trip, instantly fills my thoughts.