Man on the Moon, JFK Jr. and Me

I’m a big sentimental mush ball.  I’m a girl who made “memory boxes” for each year growing up, with all sorts of scrapbooky stuff (this was before I even knew about scrapbooking) that just stayed in shoeboxes instead.  Dates and anniversaries are pretty important to me.  And I realized this morning that 10 years ago yesterday I took off on my month-long backpacking trip around Europe.  I did it alone.  Made lots of friends along the way, but I was alone.

Back then all I had was a couple of disposable cameras and I wasn’t really good about taking pics.  I started off in Paris, went down to Rome, Pisa, Naples, then headed over to Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Switzerland (mostly Lauterbrünnen), and finally Barcelona.

I look over my old pics now and laugh.  They’re pretty bad.  And I didn’t take one pic in Budapest? What was I thinking?

I backpacked Britain in 2004 and was much better by then, thank goodness.

So in honor of my little trip, in which I learned a whole lot about myself, here are a few of my very crappy pictures. 🙂

La Maison hostel

La Maison hostel

Aww, you can see my cheap purple backpack in this pic!

Located on Rue Dutot, I have no idea if this place still exists.  The website says so, but it’s under construction.  Anyway, it was my first experience with hosteling and I had two roommates whom I liked very much.  We would go get bottles of red wine and long baguettes (how cliche!) and drink in the stairwells.

Obligatory picture of Arc de Triomphe

Obligatory picture of Arc de Triomphe

I loved Paris, but hated being there alone.  I always swore I would go back with a significant other.  It was so full of romance to me.  And ze french boys were very nice. 😉

I enjoyed Rome, Pisa, and Naples very much, but I never got to Vatican city nor saw the Colosseum. 😦

Sunset over the Spanish Steps

Sunset over the Spanish Steps

I took a drinking tour one night, and made some great Canadian friends.

Rome-ing in the Dark Tour

Rome-ing in the Dark Tour

"Leaning" Tower of Pisa

"Leaning" Tower of Pisa

Here’s my infamous Pisa shot. I suck at taking pictures so badly I made the leaning tower look as if it’s standing straight up.  Can you believe when I was younger I wanted to be a photojournalist?


Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

I HATED Berlin.  I stayed in a pretty funky hostel, but it was located in the formerly Eastern part, which wasn’t very nice at the time.  I took a tour through the hostel and the guide was a snotty college kid who hated Americans.


Me at Checkpoint Charlie

Man, at the time I was having some weight issues, or so I thought. Now I’d give anything to be back there!

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

It’s been 10 years, but I’m pretty sure this is Schlloss Schönbrunn in Vienna.  Vienna is a city in which I could definitely live.  I loved the Panda Hostel, where I stayed, and the owners were really nice.  Made some good friends there too, who I traveled with afterwards.

Me and Kim

Me and Kim

But my favorite place was Lauterbrünnen in Switzerland. I loved it so much I told my future husband (we weren’t even dating at the time) to go there when he went backpacking with friends the following year. So now we’ve both been there, but separately. 🙂



I stayed in Valley Hostel, which was so quaint and run by the nicest elderly couple. It was the first time I’d ever seen a duvet too, and I had no idea how it was used, so I used it like a sleeping bag, lol!


Sigh…memories…the day I left was the day JFK Jr. and his wife died.

Have you ever traveled to Europe (backpacking or not?) What is your favorite memory?


3 Responses

  1. But of course! One of my favorite memories is when I realized that I had been pick pocketed in Barcelona. A friend and I were at the train station and were going to try to spend all our left over Pesetas since we would be waking up in Paris! Turns out a lovely guy had already relieved me of my Pesetas.

    Oh!!!! And I remember seeing lemon trees on the train from Rome to Nice. Blew.My.Mind.

    • Aww…

      A man decided to give me a “show” in the waiting room at the Florence train station. I was watching Dr. Quinn in Italian at the same time and I thought he needed a lesson on family values 🙂

  2. Hummmm, so many to choose from, makes me wish I was backpacking in Europe right now instead of working/chasing a toddler arround : ) I think the favorite memory would have to be, when my husband proposed to me in a french castle. Very romantic, and totally unplanned on his part. The next few days we were spent hanging out in Spain, drinking great Sangria and eating tapas and talking about our wedding. Now I’m turning into a big ball of mush!

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