My First European Trip

I first thought an international trip would take months and months of planning and saving. I booked my first trip to Europe exactly 49 days before I went. My sister was studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain and the opportunity was too strong to deny. We convinced my older sister and, one night in October, we bought our airline tickets.

Not only would this be my first time in Europe, it also stood as my longest flight and my first time flying international alone. Anxiety was definitely a factor, but the anticipation and excitement drowned out my worries. The moment I set foot on the Parisian streets, my love affair with Europe began, but, even more, I found a passion for planning routes and scouting destinations. And with European travel, the possibilities are seemingly endless. This trip was a rather simple route since it was only 11 days. In future posts I will discuss my two longer trips that were both over 19 days.

Our three journeys began quite differently: my older sister in LA, my younger sister in San Sebastian, and me in Vegas. Instead of flying to meet my sister in Spain we decided that it would be special to meet elsewhere. We decided on a place that is now very near to my heart: Paris. For three days we wandered the avenues of the City of Lights, ate chocolate croissants, and drank far too many café au lait. From Paris we flew to a little town in France called Biarritz and immediately boarded a bus to San Sebastian. For the next three days my sister assumed the role of tour guide and we followed her around the charming Basque city. We followed a logical progression from France to the Basque Country and then from the Basque Country to Spain, taking a bus to Madrid. Here we stayed in the city center and enjoyed Thanksgiving Day dining in the oldest restaurant in the world. Madrid was a quick two-day trip that led on into Barcelona, where we spent our final three days.

the red is our flights, the blue is by bus

This trip taught me a lot about traveling, what you can squeeze into such a short amount of time, and how easy it is to get around. While I don’t think talking about routes, timelines, and transportation is the most exciting topic, I find it to be the backbone of a good vacation. While in future posts I will go into my favorite things about my trips and the cities I was able to visit, I will also discuss the logistical side of it all. While not as glamorous, that is what can make or break the perfect trip.

Thanks for reading and I encourage you to follow my twitter (@elizabethnubel) to see what I am up to.   This week I am headed to Jamaica for a wedding– future post to follow!