My First Solo Trip to EuropePublished on February 01, 2017
I travel every summer to a new country, but this trip was the closest to my heart. It is my first trip where I travel totally alone to 3 countries! I was so anxious before I started my trip as I kept daydreaming about all the bad stuff that can happen to me while I am alone abroad, this feeling disappeared the minute my plane landed to my first destination, Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
Do you remember the castles we used to see when we read stories when we were kids, well that is exactly how Prague looks, like a picture out of a storybook. My hostel was in Mustek, nearby the famous Astronomical Clock. Mustek is the center of Prague, composed of 3 main huge streets full of stores and international brands; as a shopaholic, I was pretty satisfied.
I spent 5 days in Prague where I went shopping, ate amazing Czech food and wandered around in bars and met new people. I didn’t do much the first day, I rested, and then I met a friend of mine who showed me the Old Town. We then had a cup of coffee in the warm weather then I went back to the hostel. At night, we went to a pub crawl and it was really fun. Apparently, pub crawls in Prague are well-known and very competitive with each other, each doing their best to make you happy.
I went shopping for the whole second day and while I was walking around, I found this amazing restaurant from 1912 called Triton, where it is decorated like a cave and serves mouthwatering steak. As a fancy restaurant, I could not go in unless I had a reservation, so I booked for the next day; it was an unforgettable experience and an amazing journey to the 20th Century experience.
As for the third day, I went to a communist walking tour; I am a big fan of history so walking around Prague while the tour guide explained how communism took place was just great!
Shopping conquered the fourth day as well. I went to Mustek Street, along with a visit to the Palladium, a prominent mall in Prague 1; Prague is divided into several districts Prague 1, Prague 2, Prague 3 and so on and so forth. I partied at night because why not? Czech people party every day. In fact, I thought it was just a myth but beer is actually cheaper than water!
I finished my trip by visiting the famous landmarks in Prague including the Prague Castle which has a stunning view all over the city. I also walked by the Charles Bridge and bought many souvenirs for my family.
The 5 days flew fast and my heart ached once I felt that I am saying goodbye to such a beautiful city, however, I was excited that I will go to visit an old friend in Cologne in Germany. At night, I took the bus to Cologne with a heavy heart. As soon as I arrived, I kept an eye on my two huge suitcases (full of new clothes) and waited for my friend Mariam, whom I hadn’t seen for almost 3 years, to pick me up. It wasn’t long until suddenly I found someone running and jumping into my arms and hugged me so tight; here was my half German/half Moroccan friend giving me a really warm welcome.
After meeting Mariam, we went to her apartment where she prepared an amazing breakfast for me. We then met with her friends and went shopping. Afterwards, we went to see the Cologne Cathedral, which was HUGE! The cathedral was so beautiful that I just stood still for about 5 minutes, mesmerized from how stunning and huge it is. Her friends left us after the visit to the cathedral and Mariam and I continued walking and finally got home and ordered pizza. We continued gossiping the whole night about everything that happened in our lives the past 3 years.
The second day, Mariam and I went to savor a Turkish breakfast and then we headed to the Lindt Chocolate Museum where we enjoyed the history of Lindt and bought unlimited amount of chocolates. We called it a day after having a Turkish dinner and ate Kebab which was mouthwatering. As always, good times fly fast and it was almost time to say goodbye to Cologne.
I hate goodbyes and I wanted to spend more days with her. I was pretty sad to leave Mariam but I had a journey to continue; Amsterdam was next!
After hopping into my bus to Ams, I started searching for hostels to stay in but I wasn’t so lucky because it was the weekend and everything was fully booked. Eventually, I found a hostel next to the Red Light District. It came as a surprise to me that the hostel was horrible and all I thought about was that the day is going to waste. I had that feeling that if I leave my bags in this hostel and go sightseeing, I'd probably go back and not find my bags. Therefore, I wasted this whole afternoon sitting beside my bags and searching for another decent hostel. Again, all of them were full but I kept refreshing the page until I found a bed in one hostel. YAY! That was a happy moment. I then took a taxi to the new hostel and I arrived peacefully; that is when I started to feel that I am catching a cold.
Resisting my feeling of tiredness and the initial symptoms of the flu, I treated myself with a happy meal in Hard Rock Café. What is beautiful about Amsterdam is that it is all on the river and the view is breathtaking. It is a city where bicycles outnumber the population and it just gives you the vibes!
After a delicious warm meal, I went back to the hostel to sleep. I woke up the next day not feeling my body, the flu has officially announced its presence, but I was prepared! I took the medicines I brought from Egypt, packed my handbag, planned the sights I'll visit and went on my way. After all, I only had one day to see Amsterdam. I started with the Van Gogh Museum, followed by a visit to the Heineken Experience, which was so fun and entertaining.
I then took a river cruise and I ended my day in one of the places on my bucket’s list: The Anne Frank House. I’ve read her diary long time ago and she has always remained as my idol and I really wanted to see the house she lived in.
By the end of the trip, I was so sick that I don’t even know how I got home. I don’t know how I took the bus from Amsterdam to Paris and from Paris to Egypt because my flight home was from Paris. I am so glad I went on this trip. Nothing is more worthy than traveling alone; living the bad and the good, meeting new people and making new friends, feeling alive again and breaking the routine. When I travel, I feel a different sense of freedom. The freedom of a new life, everywhere around you, the freedom of how beautiful the world is, if you let it be. At the beginning, I was afraid to travel alone and I wouldn’t have guessed that I would enjoy my own company that much!