Tag Archives: ireland

Travel Bug-Where mine came from and a look back on Western Europe

25 May

When I was in college, I studied abroad in one of the most amazing cities on this planet… London.  I don’t know where it came from but I’ve always just had that get up and go in me, no holding back.   When the opportunity to get to go to London for six months came up in 2007, you could say it would take a world of people to hold me back from going.  Right before I left I was studying graphic design in college and was really at a turning point.  I wasn’t sure that was the right choice of career for me so this was the perfect time for me to skip town and re-evaluate what I wanted to do post college.  Needless to say, this journey definitely led me to photography, film, and media.  Here are some of my first travel photos:

The Louvre court yard.

Arches in Paris.


My first trip out of London was to Paris… I mean isn’t it everyone’s dream to see this amazing Tower?!  This photo was taken from a boat on the river.
It was just as incredible as I could have ever imagined.    I also could have died over the chocolate crepes…!  The Louvre was beautiful as well of course and the Notre Dame.  The tourist sites are worth the while when in Paris, they will blow your mind.

The next out of London experience I had was visiting Cardiff, Wales.  The city of Cardiff was so amazing but the language there is so hard to understand let alone comprehend learning!  We caught a bus up to Caerphilly Castle which was so interesting because some of the walls were literally splitting.  Here was the magnificent entrance (above).


The unique entrances and crevices all over the castle were very interesting.  Not your average cut outs.


A view of part of the mote that surrounded the castle.  I remember this day being very cold but still wanting to stay outside and see all around this castle.

After the trip to Wales,  we hung around London town for awhile.  I don’t have many touristy photos from London surprisingly.  We were living in the west end and could walk to anything and everything tourist based which we did.  Walking to the palace or Trafalgar Square were easy.  Here are two of the only London photos that I have in my files (below):

Above is the Imperial War Museum.

It was travel overload living in London but in the best way possible.  Every time we wanted to go somewhere, we did.  Every time we came back to London, it felt like we were traveling some where else just because you can get comfortable in six months but there is always something else exciting to see.  We saw a lot of famous people where we lived in London as well.  We saw Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce, Kelly Osborne, and more.

We were there to be “studying” and we did but our courses were in history, going to the amazing museums and humanities going to the rotating plays.  We had more courses but all of them were really centered on really becoming a part of the British culture.  Although we did have a regimen schedule, there was always room for more out of country adventures.  When we were allotted a Spring Break you can bet we were prepared to take full advantage of western Europe.  My flatmate and I decided we were going to hit Italy and Spain for 9 amazing days of travel and food.

We flew into Rome to start our travels.  I can say truly, I have never had such amazing Pizza in my life as I did in Rome.  The flat bread crust is beyond to die for.  I didn’t think it could be possible for me to order a large pizza and eat it all by myself but I did!  The people we found in Rome were also very friendly.

Another tourist site in Rome I loved was the “wedding cake.”  They called this site the Wedding Cake because it clearly looks so perfect and symmetrical, just like a wedding cake.

The Spanish Steps was another great site.  You’d think going to see stairs would be very boring but there was something very exquisite about this area of Rome.  It felt very safe and preserved.  At the top was a beautiful cathedral which I don’t have pictures of because I wanted to be respectful of the natural art and religion that takes place there.

Ahhh, the Trevi Fountain… You see it in movies and I personally always hoped that someday I’d be able to throw my penny with a wish.  Nothing is ever exactly how you expect it to be and I think the reason why I have this crazy travel bug in me is because everything is always a million times BETTER to me in person.  This fountain was a million times more beautiful to me in person.  I probably visited this fountain four or five times in the few days I spent in Rome.  Although, I only made one wish and I should have been throwing pennies in there every time I went =)

Trevi at night… This was a gelato night by the fountain.  It’s so strange the details you can remember back on when you are having such life changing experiences.

You can never spend enough time in one place when traveling and with our time frame we decided to move on to Venice.  Another dream of mine to go peruse the markets and little cobble stone streets.

This was the very first photo I took in Venice and it became one of my favorites of my Spring Break.  This sums up Venice to me, sparkling water and old beautiful arches everywhere.

Classic Venice.

I had to ride a gondola, it was the one and only time I’ve been to Venice in my life (so far!).  This picture was taken of my friends in another gondola from the gondola I was in.

After a few days of strolling the streets of Venice and eating more amazing pizza, we decided to head to Spain to catch some sun and Flamenco dancing!

This market off of La Rambla had every possible type of food you could want!  Not to mention every kind of home made Spanish candy there was.  I had to be careful though because it’s so crowded and I actually caught someone trying to go into my empty backpack.  Hold your valuables closely if you ever make it to this market.  We also got to see the coliseums and fantastic cathedrals.  Unfortunately at that time they were all under construction and the exteriors were covered up.  They were still incredible to see.

This was me at the Arc de Triumph, happy as a clam.

We got to go to the Barcelona zoo, see the beaches, and walk through history and amazing architecture.   We also indulged in tapas, sangria, and a flamenco show.  All of these memories are branded in my life forever.

After Barcelona, my flat-mate and I headed home for some much needed rest.  Within the following weeks, I was lucky enough to have my dad and step mom come visit me!  We really toured England together in the week they spent in London.  They stayed right next door to where my flat was and we had such a great time exploring together.  It just so happened to that during the week they were in London was the only day in the entire year that Stonehenge allows ONE group to go in and touch the stones.  OF COURSE we had to do this.  Stonehenge is normally roped off and you can look from a distance.  The special excursion we got was only available at sunrise too and I don’t know if the blogging world is even aware of my obsession with beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and any beautiful natural lighting but I am absolutely in love with those things.

Here they are in all of their glory at sunrise.  It was truly magnificent.  I was so happy we could all share this experience together in another country.  I have to give some of the credit for my travel bug to my dad and step-mom Vicki because they took me on same great adventures when they were in Europe.

Not that there was anything great about the texture of these rocks specifically but the story behind them was just incredible.  That a group of people had carried this HUGE slabs that weighed tons for miles before the wheel was even invented!  So cool.  I’m definitely a big history dork so stories like this blow my mind.

After Stonehenge, we carried on to the Roman Baths.  The water was so warm and in such a beautiful setting.  You don’t get to go bathing in the water but I can only imagine the days where that was the norm.  How great to come down to the town’s center and take a warm dip in the middle of this beautifully columned structure.  We spent the day engulfed in adventures but they didn’t stop there.

The next adventure we carried onto was to see the Hampton Court Gardens.  Every garden area on the Hampton Court property was manicured perfectly.  These trees were just so incredible the way they perfectly shaded each positioned bench but left just enough room for the sun to poke through.

A corridor of trellises.  In photography, I absolutely love and am drawn to symmetry like this.  You can probably tell from all of my photos on my blog how drawn I am to interesting shapes, architecture, lighting, and such.   After a week of exploring together, sadly my dad and Vicki had to return back to the states.  I’m so lucky and thankful to have family that likes to go on these special adventures.  They aren’t the only two in my family who share this bond with me…

There was some in between time before my next visitors came though.  So after spending some down time in London, we were off jet setting again.  This time to Ireland!  Just a weekend away but enough time to check out Dublin the week before St. Patrick’s day.  I wish we could have had more time to really go out to the country side and see the farms and hills.  I’ll have to do that on my next trip 🙂

Here’s the first authentic Irish castle I ever set my eyes on.

The official Bank of Ireland.  I love all of the pillars and columns in Europe.  They are so grand looking.

After returning from Ireland, I really wanted to soak in London and just get a few more weeks of culture in me before I knew I’d be leaving for a long time.  I took the chance to wander aimlessly and shoot a few photos.  I went to a few new museums and just took in every deep breath of London I could.  It’s a place that any time anyone says the name, my heart smiles.  It truly holds such a piece of my heart for everything it opened me up to, photography, independent travel, and different cultures to name a few.  My last day in London was heartbreaking, I couldn’t believe how fast time had flown by.  I was so thankful though for finding photography and realizing I could have these memories for forever.  It also helped having to leave such an amazing place that my mom and step dad, Darrin, came and met me for a few more adventures before I’d say goodbye to Europe for a while.  They came in on my last week of the London life and we took off on a jet plane.  Where to next…

AUSTRIA!!

This is one of my favorite photos because I would have never comprehended that a place this beautiful existed in real life.  The country side in Austria was mind blowing.  We flew into Vienna and spent some time there.  This photo was taken when the bus we were on to Salzburg, pulled over for a bathroom brake for some of the other passengers…. If this was a bathroom break stop, I hoped a lot more people were going to need to stop!

Part of one of downtown Vienna’s buildings.  I really like the Gothic architecture of it, so detailed and intricate.

Vienna is a place I need to go back to, I didn’t get enough.  My mom, Darrin, and I also went to Budapest, Hungary in our time in Europe together.  Unfortunately, I lost all of those photos with my last computer crash.  I’ll have the memories forever though and I’ll have this travel bug forever.  I’ve realized it must have come from both sets of my parents who I am very thankful for.  They have never held me back from getting out and really exploring the world.  I’m just lucky enough that I could share some of these experiences with them.


By the way, all of these photos were taken with a little Canon camera that was a very inexpensive camera.  I didn’t know how into photography I would get but wish I would have had my DSLR back then 🙂