I love Europe. From the people to the weather, to the food, Europe is absolutely amazing. One of the things that I love about Europe the most is how you can travel almost anywhere by train or taking a quick flight.
I had the opportunity to Visit Cannes, France not too long ago. My friend from school lives over there and invited me over to show me around. It was a quick train ride from Juan Les Pins, no more than 15 minutes, and I had a great time. The first place that we visited was Palais Des Festivals Cannes. Palais Des Festivals is famous for holding an annual film festival and has hosted it for more than 60 years. When we arrived, it seemed like something was going on so we stuck around for a little bit. My friend has seen a plethora of stars in the past such as Emma Watson and Kanye West. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anybody that we recognized that day. Oh well.
The next stop was Centre d’art La Malmaison. Centre d’art La Malmaison is a building that is dedicated to having exhibitions portraying works of art from 20th and 21st centuries. The current exhibition is Pablo Picasso’s Nudity Set Free collection of 120 paintings. It was exploring the recurrence of nudity in his works. Marina Picasso, Picasso’s granddaughter, opened up her private collection sharing about 90 paintings and the rest came from around the world. The interesting thing about this collection is that most of these paintings have never been on public display.
Since I have family in London that I haven’t seen in a while, I knew it was one of the places that I definitely had to visit while in Europe. A quick 2-hour flight landed me in the city of double-decker busses and fish and chips.
I’ve never had fish and chips before. That was the first meal that I had after landing and I must say it was amazing. A little bit after we ate, my uncle took me on a night tour of London. I was able to see a lot of things that I’ve only seen in textbooks and on television my whole life. It was surreal. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Westminister Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Shard were just a few of the many places that we visited.
Being on top of the premier league at the time, the Arsenal stadium was a must-visit location as well. My uncle and I went to the stadium and walked around the entire thing. I was even able to buy a jersey at the Arsenal store.
As I said before, everything is so close; I took a train to Italy. I say that lightly because I went to Ventimiglia, which is a city near the France-Italy border. But it WAS Italy.
The train ride from Antibes was only about an hour and my friends and I all caught to 8:30 train that left that morning. I was anxious to go to Italy though; I kept asking my friend who has already been there, “Are we in Italy yet?” As we were having a conversation about our weekend plans, mid-sentence, she looked at me and said we’re in Italy. No countdown or warning, and just like that, I’m in an entire different country. I looked around and everybody was doing their same train-like duties, reading the newspaper, listening to their music. I don’t know what I was expecting I guess, maybe a welcome to Italy billboard or announcement from the conductor, but no, no warning.
It is amazing to see how just a few miles can separate two entire different cultures and languages. Everybody spoke Italian, yes, another language that I do not speak but it is cool how everybody knows a little bit of English though. That’s how I’m getting by. The first stop that my friends and I made was to a huge marketplace that is held every Friday Morning. People come out and set up tents and stands with everything from clothes, to bags to bracelets and shoes, all authentic Italian goods. I picked up a few things then went on with my day.
The next stop was the beach. To my surprise it was a rock beach! I’ve never seen a rock beach before so I was ecstatic. Coming from the sandy beaches of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and now Juan, Les Pins, this rock beach in Ventimiglia was so different.
I had a great time in Ventimiglia. The next time I go to Italy, I hope to go to Venice or Rome. My journey in Europe so far has surpassed every expectation that I had. I am looking forward to my future European adventures.