Ah, Europe. So strange, so beautiful and so mysterious but also jovial, friendly and welcoming. The first time I went, my imagination decided to run away with me when it came to thinking about how the locals would treat us. Would they stare because we were covering our hair and modestly dressed? Would they be inconvenienced when constantly asked if the food is halal? Would I end up having my possessions robbed from me at a busy train station or in a crowded bus? Well.. Aside from my sister's Kindle getting stolen, I'd say the answer to most of those questions is 'No'.
The people were surprisingly friendly, they restaurant owners and merchants greeted us with the occasional 'Asalamu-Alaikum!' or 'Hey! How are you!?'. It was strange but refreshing. It was so strange to be able to walk around where you please, interact with people and just be free. -As free as one can get when tethered to family-
When in Rome, I got to see the Vatican this time around from the inside. I never understood before why people cried when they saw art but as soon as I stepped through those church doors, I was overwhelmed by everything. I was overwhelmed by the strong sense of spirituality of the place, overwhelmed by the beautiful sculptures and magnificent works of art and just simply overwhelmed. I was moved close to tears. I don't know if it was a mixture of excitement and sheer joy of being here, or just being surrounded by the magnitude of this place.
When in Athens, we went to Acropolis, the Temple of the Gods. It was a beautiful day with a gentle breeze steeling away the heat of the sun. At the top of the mountain, your breath is stolen by this beautiful and amazing view while surrounded by grand pieces of architecture from long forgotten times. It was beautiful and breathtaking.
What can I say about Paris? No amount of words would truly be enough. Even after seeing the Eiffel Tower for the second time, I'm still taken by its grandeur and magnificence. My favorite site would have to be, however, is Notre Dame. I don't think it's beautifully eerie architecture, the gargoyles poised on its ceiling like sentinels forever watching over their patrons. The day we visited was a Sunday so the bells were ringing. It was enchanting and soul shaking. It made my skin tremor with light goosebumps.
There's so much I could say about this trip. Memories of laughter and silliness and ones of tension and turmoil but I guess what matters most is that I enjoyed myself despite my hesitation and nervousness. I hope you enjoy the pictures; I certainly enjoyed taking them.
Due to technical difficult and horrible internet, this post is technically a month late. Still, I do hope you enjoy it regardless!