by: Carmen Wellington
“I knew what I wanted, I wanted to see the world” – Andrea Mueller
On my birthday, I am remembering the times I have traveled to Europe. I thought traveling to Europe will only remain as a dream, and I am forever grateful of this blessing. That’s why I want to share with you the 14 countries I have visited for the past 7 years (in no particular order).
La Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena, Madrid
Spain is the first country in Europe I have visited. I have been to Madrid three times since 2010. On my first trip to Madrid, I realized that I am not compatible to all travelers. Just because they are fellow travelers doesn’t mean that we want the same itinerary and adventures. I learned that lesson fast! Now, I choose my companion very well or sometimes I will just go on my own. See what you can do in 12 Hours in Madrid.
Basílica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona
If I have to choose between Madrid and Barcelona, I would choose Barcelona. Barcelona is… Barcelona. It’s an experience of its own. I enjoyed my time walking and exploring the place. I have been to Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and many others.
I have always been fascinated by The Grand Canal and the Gondola in Venice. The first time I heard the song they’re singing during the Gondola ride, I have decided to use it as my bridal entrance background music. The title of the song is Con te Partiro. I also love the colorful masks they sell in Venice.
Colosseum or Coliseum or Flavian Amphitheatre, Rome
I have been to Rome twice, and both times Colosseum never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t go home without eating authentic Italian cuisine! See what tourist attractions you can see in Rome in 12 hours.
Doumo di Milano, Milan
The one and only time I celebrated a New Year’s Countdown was in Milan. I was with another Filipino female traveler, and we stayed there for hours just waiting for the New Year’s countdown. It was cold, but it’s exciting! It’s not the same as New York with a ball drop. But hey, who was I to complain?! It’s Milan!
3. Vatican City
Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican
Growing up in a Catholic country, visiting the Vatican City has always been on my bucket list. I felt so fulfilled when I saw this place. And I wish I can take my Mom, brother, and sister here someday.
This may seem ordinary to some; but coming from the Philippines, I will never forget the first time I saw snow and it was in Frankfurt. I felt it. I touched it. I smelled it (though I couldn’t remember the smell now). I looked for a spot with few people so it’s not awkward, and made a snow angel!!! First time in Germany! First White Christmas! First snow! Can you see the excitement on my face?
I visited Munich twice and celebrated Christmas there in 2011. It was cut short because my then-boyfriend-now-husband told me to come home as soon as possible. He had an ‘important question’ to ask me. That night, I answered ‘YES!’.
Brandenburger Tor, Berlin
Berlin is the second (and the last) country in Europe I traveled with Handel. He took me to historical places like the Checkpoint Charlie and its Museum, and the Brandenburger Tor. See Handel’s first trip to Berlin and the places to see in 12 hours.
I loved exploring and walking around Copenhagen. Again, I went out in a group and would have seen more if I went alone. It’s ok since I met new people.
Gamla Stan, Stockholm
I was truly amazed by the colorful houses and buildings in Stockholm. Since this was a short stopover, I didn’t have a lot of time to explore the place and just preferred to appreciate the beauty of Gamla Stan.
Grand Palace or Grote Markt (surrounded by Town Hall and the Breadhouse building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels), Brussels
When I visited this place, I didn’t know that this was a UNESCO World Heritage Site!. That time, I was still a newbie traveler and not familiar with Heritage sites. Now, I am getting better in researching the things to do.
Statue of Mozart in the Burggarten Garden, Vienna
I booked a hotel in the downtown, even though I always prefer an airport hotel. Everything was a walking distance from the hotel where I stayed at.
Kapitelplatz or Chapter Square (surrounded by the Cathedral, Cathedral provostry and archiepiscopal palace, St. Peter’s Monastery, and the Cathedral Chapter’s mills), Salzburg
This was not part of my itinerary. I originally wanted to enjoy Octoberfest and try out other restaurants in Munich. However, another Filipino female traveler convinced me to visit Salzburg and showed me cool places. I was game for it. We explored Salzburg in one day, and back to Munich that night. Knowing that this was a spur-of-the-moment thing was exhilarating. I would have missed this amazing place if I let fear ruled me.
Château de Chillon, an island castle located on Lake Geneva
This is the first and only castle I have ever visited. I wish to visit more castles in the future.
Fraumünster Church, Zurich
When I landed in Zurich, it was raining! I was actually a little bit discouraged. But then, I realized that I don’t know when will be the next time or if there will be a next time. “Don’t let small things stop you from accomplishing bigger and better things.”
Hungarian Parliament or Parliament of Budapest
Hungary is my second favorite country in Europe, second to Italy. This time, I was with a Thai female traveler, and she took some nice photos for me. We also went to the Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, and Buda Castle.
I also went to the Royal Palace and Oslo Cathdreal.
City Garden, Sofia
There are a lot of Free tours in Sofia, and Walking is the best way to see the city! Since I am not a fan of group tours, I explored the city on my own. I want to be able to go to wherever I want and whenever I want. Doing it on my own gives me the freedoom to cut the tour if I want to eat or feel tired or if I want to go home.
13. United Kingdom
Big Ben, London
To visit London has been one of my dreams, and its a dream come true! I hope to bring my son to Buckingham Palace because his name is ‘Charles William’.
Eiffel Tower, France
This was one of those moments where I said, “OMG! I’m really in Paris! This is real!’. I always see Eiffel Tower in books and tv. I thought I will never see it in person, so seeing it up close had been surreal. I was lucky to share this moment with Handel. This was the first country in Europe where we traveled together.
That’s it! I have traveled to 14 countries and 21 cities in 7 years. Let’s see how many more countries in Europe I can visit in the upcoming years. Ciao!
What’s your favorite destination in Europe? Can you still remember the first country you ever visited in Europe? Leave us a message in the comments below!
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