My European Adventure: Month 2 Recap

Month 2 saw me in fewer countries and moving a little more slowly, although I did manage to hit 20 countries visited in my life! I’m aiming for 30 I somehow feel more relaxed and more frantic – and still trying to settle into au pairing. We’ll see how that goes, but for now here is month 2!

Where I’ve Been

Countries: 3
New countries: 2
Country count: 20

3 nights Marrakech
8 nights Essaouira
2 nights Rabat
2 nights Casablanca
3 nights Marrakech
1 night Milan
3 nights Munich
3 nights Rome
1 day Florence
5 nights Pavia

Highlights

Marrakech. I just tried to pick something to write about my time in Marrakech and too many things came to mind at once. That’s interesting, because Marrakech was one of my least favorite places in Morocco! All the great times I had there, however, are about the people I was with and not the place itself. We had one wild night out at a casino (I have no idea what it was called or where it was) where I flirted with the bouncer to avoid an exorbitant $20 cover charge, and we continued to barhop to some of the weirdest bars I’ve ever been in. We went to a hammam (aka naked spa) that turned out to be coed, and I had to get comfortable with my body really quickly. And we spent long lazy afternoons on our rooftop, laughing and flirting and tanning.

The aforementioned flirting taking place as I snapped this photo.


 

Pretending to live in Essaouira. Almost everything about my week working at a hostel in Essaouira was wonderful. I spent maaaybe $3 a day, all of that on crepes, and just did some minor cleaning and laundry at the hostel each morning. I’d spend my afternoons wandering the town, reading on the beach, chatting with storeowners. This was also where the four guys I was travelling with left me, and it was the perfect adjustment to being alone. Watching sunsets from the city walls was a magical experience every single day.

The sunset was this magical every single night.


 

Avicii. Three years of travel later and this is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I went to a free Avicii concert in Rabat with a group of random Moroccans, and we danced all night. It was absolutely incredible and such a cool cultural experience to chat with the girls in the group.


A shopping mall. Yes, in Casablanca, I spent an entire day in a mall. I was burnt out from my first real experience of dirt-cheap backpacking in a less developed country. So when I got to Casablanca, I went to Starbucks, I went to American Eagle and bought a romper, I saw a movie (dubbed in French), I ate Thai Express and I finally bought a new English book. The air conditioning almost brought me to tears and I have never been so happy to be in a nondescript mall. Sometimes ya just need it!

I also went to the mosque!


In Munich I was super infatuated with one of the guys I was staying with, aka one of the guys I travelled with in Morocco. He was over 6 feet tall and had an adorable German accent, what can I say? Anyway, my last night in Munich with him was something out of a YA novel – we rode his bike around the city and I sat on the handlebars screaming internally about how precious it was. We went to a few clubs and danced, then as the sun was rising we grabbed pretzels and beer from a corner store and hung out on a rooftop, watching Munich wake up. It was adorable and memorable.

The streets of Munich with my other German host.


Neuschwanstein Castle. I’m going to write about this day in detail (update – here it is) but visiting this fairytale castle with my German friends was something out of a fairytale.


Our neighborhood in Rome. I don’t think this was the last time I’ll be in the Eternal City this summer, but it was so magical to stay with my parents in a gorgeous apartment in Trastavere. It’s a touristy neighborhood, yes, but it doesn’t feel as touristy as the areas around the Colosseum and Roman Forum: the quiet streets exude Italian magic. Despite how hungover I was on my first day here (see above about watching the sunrise in Munich – I proceeded to immediately get on a flight), it was a glorious trip.

Steps away from our apartment!


Lowlights

Touristification in Marrakech. Is that a word? I don’t think so. Anyway, even though Marrakech was a highlight above, like I said – it was probably my least favourite place in Morocco. It had so many more tourists than anywhere else we visited, and the touts were much more aggressive. Also, there were snake charmers in the main square and I am TERRIFIED of snakes.

Look how busy! Ick.


Sleeping in the Milan airport. For some reason, I always think that staying in an airport overnight to save money will be worth it. IT NEVER IS. I had the worst rest of my entire life – there was construction everywhere, I was freezing cold and the lights never turned off. The worst part was that every time I went to the bathroom I had to drag all my crap with me – solo travel problems. I would like to say never again, but realistically I’m going to do this again.

What’s next?

Well, I wasn’t sure whether to put the start of au pairing into the highlights or lowlights, because I feel a lot of feelings. So I decided I’ll just wait and write about it next month when I’ve had a little more time to contemplate. Stay tuned!

The start of au pairing…and the first of my weekend trips in Rome! Cinque Terre is on the docket, and I’m thinking Lake Como as well.

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