There really aren’t any words to describe how great my 4 months in Europe were. I’ve seen so many amazing sites, seen almost all of the major cities in Western Europe and, more importantly, met so many amazing people from all over the world. Since I’ve been back, the first thing everyone asks me is – what was your favorite city? What I’ve come to realize over my trip is that you can see all the cathedrals, museums, and monuments you want, but what really determines whether you like a city or not are the people you meet there. Whether you like a city or not is usually based on your experiences in that city, and the best experiences come when you’re hanging out with interesting fun people, sharing stories, and just enjoying their company. It also helps that you meet so many like-minded people as you, many who have gotten sick of the same-old boring 40-hour workweek (or what is now more commonly the 60 or 70-hour workweek), quit their jobs, and decided to travel the world for a while. After hearing people’s stories of all these amazing places they’ve seen, it makes me want to become a professional traveler. Too bad there isn’t too much income associated with traveling.
Another thing I’ve realized is that traveling is infectious. Once you start seeing different places, it only makes you want to see more. You have your entire life to work and sit in a cubicle, so why be in such a hurry now? I know I’m definitely not. There are way too many people in America that are too job-focused. It feels like people live to work instead of working to live, which is where there is a major cultural difference between the U.S. and Europe. I recently saw a statistic that boggled my mind. 80% of Americans don’t have passports!! Now I know that there are a lot of places to see in this country, but there’s so much more as well. I traveled around Europe for 4 months and barely scratched the surface. There is a guy who, by the age of 30, has visited 100 countries. I think that’s a pretty reasonable goal, considering I’m at 14 after this trip.
I’ll be honest. Living out of a backpack for 4 months is great, but it also gets a little tiring after a while, wearing the same clothes all the time, sleeping in rather uncomfortable hostel beds, and eating spaghetti and sandwiches for almost every meal to save money. Even though being a backpacker is a very different lifestyle to get used to, the pros far outweigh the cons and I can’t wait to start planning my next trip!!!
From Malaga I flew into London to fly home, but I made sure I timed it so that I would be able to go see at least one day of Wimbledon. I went on the first day of the 2 week tournament and even then it was crazy! How it works is that after they have the general lottery for tickets, they have a certain number of tickets available to buy the day of. I think there was somewhere around 6,000 grounds passes available, which give you access to courts 3 through 18 or however many courts there are. Then there’s about 200 each for Center Court, Court 1, & Court 2. So I got up really early (probably the earliest of my whole trip) and caught the tube down to Wimbledon! The trains were packed as expected, and I got talking to a old man who had been to every Wimbledon for the past 60 years and used to be aa chair umpire for the tournament.
They even had the tube stop decorated like a tennis court!
Just to show how crazy it was there, I arrived a little after 8am and this is what it looked like already…
To get tickets for the 3 main courts, you pretty much have to camp out overnight. It’s a good thing is was the end of June and it was nice out. I did meet some cool people in line, though. I finally got in around 1:00 in the afternoon right around when they were kicking off for the day.
How it works with the grounds pass is that you can just walk up to any court (minus the 3 main ones) and wait for a seat to open up or just stand and watch. I saw a lot of good tennis on the first day even though I really didn’t get to see any of the top players, but I did get some good action shots of the players I did watch. I can’t remember who these players were though.
Nearing the end of my European Adventure, I caught a bus from Cadiz to Malaga, even though I didn’t really want to leave. I had to go to Malaga to catch a flight up to London, so I basically had a day to spend in the city. What do you do when you only have a day to spend in the city? Well it’s a beach town and also the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. First, you start out by going to the awesome Picasso Museum and walking around the center of the city.
Then of course, you go to the beach, which was conveniently located across the street from my hostel.
Then once you’ve had your fill of sun, sand, and sangria, you pack up and try to catch a bus to the airport so you don’t miss your flight. This was by far the toughest part of my day. My flight left around midnight that night and I just barely made it. I was relieved to make it on my flight, arrived at London Stansted around 2am, and fell asleep in a 24-hour coffee shop in the airport.
Pretty much my whole time spent in Spain can be summed up in these 4 words: tapas, beach, siesta, party. That was my experience in Spain in a nutshell, and Cadiz was no exception to that. Cadiz is a small beach town on a peninsula in the southwest corner of Spain. They have some of the nicest beaches I’ve been to, and one of my favorite hostels I stayed at was here. It was called Casa Caracol, and it was awesome! They had hammocks on the roof for a nice afternoon siesta, beach less than 5 minutes away, and I met a lot of cool people here. I guess this is why before coming to Cadiz I had only planned to stay a day or two and chill on the beach, but I ended up spending almost a week here! Here’s a couple pictures of the hostel. This first one is a doll in the hostel and everytime they have a costume party (about once a month) a article of clothing gets added to it. It’s pretty funny!
And the hammocks…good for a little siesta after a long afternoon at the beach.
Here’s the beach where I spent a most of time in Cadiz.
One afternoon when I got tired of laying on the beach (just kidding!) I walked around the city for a couple hours and took a few pictures here and there.