Europe and the Unparalleled Joy of Solo Travel

What a wild wonderful summer I had this year. So much so that I completely dropped the ball in terms of keeping my blog up to date. Turns out, blogging on an iPhone while trekking across Europe is harder than i had anticipated. Whenever I found any free time I could have used to blog I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep. But I’ve decided better late than never, because I don’t want to leave a huge chunk of my life unaccounted for.
Late June, I said goodbye to beautiful, wonderful, magical Exeter and flew to Berlin to begin a short but nevertheless daunting adventure: Solo Travel.
I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. Actually, scratch that, I was verging on terrified. Getting of the plane in Berlin felt like I was entering some sort of twilight zone. I was alone, in a strange city, and I could do whatever I wanted. Nobody knew me, nobody was expecting me, I had no obligations, and an entire city to explore on my own terms. What an incredible feeling.
I’m not completely sure how to tackle talking about the 5 cities I hit in 2.5 weeks, so I guess I’ll start at the beginning and pick out some highlights for each.

First up: Berlin

I don’t think any amount of preparation or planning can truly prepare you for what you feel the first night on your own in a strange city. Especially when you arrive sleep-deprived at 8pm and have to sleep in a 16 bed dorm room. I remember dropping my 65 litre backpack onto my bed and thinking “oh my god, what was I thinking? I can’t travel alone, why did I think this was a good idea?”
Luckily for me, that feeling didn’t last long, and as soon as I began chatting to people staying in the hostel and exploring the city I began to feel like I had made the right decision. I’m glad I started with Berlin, I had an amazing time which set the tone for the rest of my trip. I stayed at Comebackpackers, located in trendy Kreuzberg, and would recommend it to anyone travelling through Berlin. It was small enough that it was very easy to meet people, and I absolutely loved the view of the city from the outdoor patio.

If I had to pick one highlight from Berlin it would definitely be the World Cup. Germany goes crazy over football, and I got to experience watching the U.S. v Germany game outside on massive screens with thousands of other people. It was pouring rain but we drank our beer and cheered Germany to victory anyways. I’ve never been a huge football fan, but something about being surrounded by people who care SO MUCH made me insanely invested in the outcome.
People power is a pretty incredible thing, no matter what the occasion is, and that feeling of being one of a crowd, all united in a singular emotional desire is something that still gives me chills when I think about it.

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The crowd watching the game

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Brandenburg Gate

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – Definitely one of the most interesting war memorials I have ever seen

Read about the rest of my solo trek around Europe

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