The Great European Adventure


The Great European Adventure!

This is the trip that prompted the birth of this blog. It will be my first solo trip abroad, and I can’t wait. My itinerary is below, but let me stress that it is tentative. It outlines the plan for where I will go if I meet no one interesting who asks me to go elsewhere. This is where I’ll be if I never fall in love with a city and need to stay longer, and if I never hate a city and have to get out early—all of which seems very unlikely given what I’ve read on other travel blogs (see: China is what happens while you’re busy making other plans).

That being said, it seems silly not to have any idea of where I would like to go, so here is how I currently imagine the adventure:


It begins with a week long trip to Iceland with a friend of mine from high school.

After Iceland, she’ll head home (or to LA to become a famous actress) and I’ll fly on to London. I’ve visited London once before, but only for a few days, and I’m eager to go back. I want to visit the Tate Modern again, wander along the Thames, and drink an alarming amount of tea.

Following London, I’ve been telling people I plan to “tool around the UK,” which for me means head up to Scotland and get in touch with my heritage in Edinburgh. I also want to head to the coast because I just can’t ever get enough of the ocean. Any suggestions for beaches or seaside towns in the UK?

Following the UK, I hope to head to Copenhagen because my general plan is to visit the places that get coldest first.


This is where the plan starts to devolve into a list of cities I want to visit.

In Amsterdam, I hope to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in four years. In Prague, I plan to admire the architecture. In Budapest, I plan to intersperse the architecture admiring with lounging in the Turkish baths.

Krakow, Poland appears next on the itinerary, and likely comes as a surprise to those not up on trends in backpacking. Even though Nomadic Matt called the city overrated, I was ecstatic to hear that there was a city in Poland, which backpackers were taking the time to rate. My mother’s family is Polish, and I’ve always been proud of that part of my heritage, but when my uncle, cousin, and elderly grandfather visited Poland in the early 2000s, they were sorely disappointed to find the tourist infrastructure lacking. My grandfather simply couldn’t speak Polish the way he used to, and they ended up eating at McDonald’s for fear of ordering something they would find inedible. My grandfather, 93 now, remembers this trip fondly, and although my uncle and cousin say they would never go back, I’m eager to visit.

Rounding out October is Berlin, the one German city that captivates my imagination, at least for now. I am definitely open to suggestions.


November opens with Istanbul, where I plan to set foot on Asian soil for the first time in my life. Croatia follows Istanbul, although I need to do some more research as to where exactly I want to go in this country aside for Plitvice Lakes National Park.

After these stops I’m heading to Paris. My mother has dreamed of visiting Paris all her life, so she’ll be meeting me there and we plan to spend a week at the Lourve. Who knows if we’ll actually spend every day there, but it sure does sound dreamy, doesn’t it?

Finally, I plan to head to Madrid and visit El Prado because all the art museums ever. I’m also excited to return to Spain and see what’s left of my Spanish language skills. Also tapas.


The tapas adventures continue into December, when I’ll visit Andalusia: Sevilla, Granada, and Córdoba are the cities on my list for the time being.

And when I’ve had my fill of sunny southern Spain, I plan to ride the Renfe (the Spanish national train system) up to my beloved Barcelona, which at that point I will not have seen in two years. In many ways, I am saving the best for last, but I’ll write about my love of Barcelona and Catalan culture in a later post.

The adventure concludes with me coming home for Christmas… at least, assuming my plans don’t change.

So, what do you think? Am I trying to do too much in four months? Too little? Which cities would you put on your European Adventure?

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


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