This summer I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to spend 3 and half weeks of my summer in Europe. My dad was asked to teach at the University of Innsbruck in Innsbruck, Austria again and my whole family went with him.
After two flights, one being seven hours long, my family arrived in Munich, Germany. I was jet lagged and queasy from the long flight and all I wanted to do was sleep. However, I was thrilled to be in Europe.
The next morning, we picked up Justice Thomas and his wife from the airport and headed off to Innsbruck. The rest of the week was spent getting used to our new home and exploring. I learned that I loved German food, especially apple strudel.
Every time I ate, I went all out. After each meal, I was so full I could barely walk. I felt like I was Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, except I was only eating. One of my favorite things was gelato. Gelato is Italian ice cream but ten times better than regular ice cream. It’s one of those things that you can’t go to Europe without trying.
The first weekend we were in Austria, my family and the Thomas’s took a day trip to Salzburg, Austria, where many scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed. We visited the Mirabelle gardens where Mary Poppins and the children sing “Do-Re-Mi”.
The next weekend we went to Rome. My dad took us to see the Trevi Fountain. Legends say that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain then you are destined to return to the Eternal City. So there I was at the Trevi Fountain throwing a coin in, having a total Lizzy McGuire moment (you know, right before she meets Paolo!). The Colosseum in Rome
I also visited the Colosseum, toured the Vatican, and went inside the Pantheon. During dinner on our last night in Rome, I made plans to return someday and to learn Italian. I can honestly say that the food in Rome was the best food I have ever eaten. The pasta and tiramisu were what the Italians would say, perfecto! However, after eating pasta all weekend, I was unable to think about it without wanting to throw up.
When we returned to Innsbruck after our weekend in Rome, it was time to say goodbye. I was sad to say goodbye to the place that had become home for me. I would miss being able to see the Alps during my morning runs through the Austrian countryside. I would especially miss the old city in Innsbruck where we spent many afternoons at Magic Pizza listening to Justice Thomas and his booming laugh.
Several days later we returned to the Munich airport only to hop our plane to Barcelona.
Barcelona was beautiful. I fell in love immediately. One thing that makes Barcelona unique is that every restaurant serves tapas. Tapas are little dishes similar to appetizers but instead of getting a meal many people will order a couple tapas.
The biggest surprise of all happened when we went to one of Barcelona’s various beaches by the Mediterranean Sea. Of course I have heard of places in Europe where women go topless but I thought that was more of a French thing. Nope. They do it in Spain too. So here we are, the fully clothed American family walking through half naked women. I found it quite funny, although my eight year old sister was mortified.The Mediterranean Sea
When it was time to go home, I was ready. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Europe, but I was starting to miss everyone in Lawrence and American food. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to experience a little more of the world. I became much closer with my family and I realized that there is more to life than texting, Twitter, and whether or not I went to so and so’s party.