Here are the panoramic photos I took during my recent 2015 Europe trip to England, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, thus far unposted. To learn more about the places below, as well as the other cities I visited during this trip, check out the following recap:
As I entered Germany by train, it seemed like a year ago that I began this Europe trip in London when really it had only been two-and-a-half months. The constant moving and reshuffling of living quarters (not to mention flatmates) made it seem more like a series of many trips interconnected rather than a single journey. Each stop was a fresh start with a new city and a different way of life. My transition from my time in Switzerland to that of Alsfeld would be my last, save for the subsequent long voyage home.
The train from Milano Centrale into Switzerland was by far the most breathtaking voyage by rail I have ever embarked on. Lakes. Waterfalls. Roads elevated to the heights of grandiose mountains. Gasps of wonder were not uncommon from our train carriage. Also, it was burning hot in Milan when I left, and by then I was longing for the Swiss chill, the idea of being in the mountains sans burning skin and free from the hell spawn that is the mosquito.
Seven years ago in a lifetime far away, before I had ever been to Europe, when I still thought bruschetta was pronounced with a sh, the first native Italian came into my life. I decided to pick up the language, now having someone to practice with; I ditched French and embarked on a voyage into la bella lingua. She was from a small town near Milan, and, since then, I held a fascination for the bustling Italian metropolis. Seven years later, I finally saw the city for myself.
Bologna is a vibrant town, powered by a population of university students. Self-expression is everywhere, from the abundance of street art to the hairstyles I haven’t seen since the late 80s. Portici and graffiti, late nights spent on piazza pavements, the sound of music that never dies; within my first night in Bologna, I knew straightaway it would be unlike my quiet (yet profound) experience in Camaiore, Lucca and Cinque Terre.
If there’s anything writers are good at, it’s expressing themselves with words.
It is, after all, our one sole job. Still, I find it hard to describe my experience in Tuscany’s small town of Camaiore. After having visited Florence and Rome (with a brief stint in quiet Pisa), I had thought my visit to Camaiore would be a relaxing one. It was anything but; my time spent in this unassuming city turned out to be both physically and emotionally charged.
Whenever I would tell an Italian friend that I was heading over to Pisa, the response I most often got was incredulity with the question, “Ma perché Pisa?” Certainly, after having visited the cultural richness of Florence, little Pisa, known primarily to the world for a building malfunction, seemed an odd place to spend several days. My friend living there assured me that there was more to Pisa than its iconic tower; she was right.
Traveling from Rome to Florence isn’t just a commute; it’s a leap through time. While a visit to Rome is an adventure to the zenith of Antiquity — imposing structures and ruins that leave much to the imagination, pillars and slabs and arches of an immortal nature — visiting Florence offers a more modern, more dynamic experience.