ELSE­WHERE…

Scout Magazine - - Welcome... - Words: Anas­ta­sia White

THERE ARE A MIL­LION AND ONE WAYS TO DO EUROPE – YOU CAN LIVE LARGE OR PINCH YOUR PEN­NIES. YOU CAN GO FOR A FEW WEEKS OR A FEW MONTHS AT A TIME. YOU CAN JOIN A TOUR OR GO ROGUE. FOR SCOUT MAGAZINE’S VERY BRAVE ANAS­TA­SIA WHITE, IT WAS FIVE COUN­TRIES IN SIX DAYS ON A ROAD TRIP… It all started in Paris…

Ar­riv­ing a few days into 2018, the boyfriend and I hit the ground run­ning, de­ter­mined to do any­thing and ev­ery­thing in the five days we had in Paris. Of course, jet­lag had other plans, which brings me to my first ‘Euro Trip Tip’. When it comes to that 4pm urge to head back to the ho­tel af­ter a big day of ex­plor­ing, do. not. give. in. No mat­ter how com­mit­ted you are to hav­ing a ‘quick rest’ then go­ing back out for din­ner, you will ab­so­lutely fall asleep and wake up again at mid­night. It’s much safer to stay more than 500m from your bed un­til at least 7pm.

Paris was a whirl­wind of mu­se­ums, shop­ping and so… much… walk­ing… We climbed to the top of the SacréCoeur Basil­ica, rented bi­cy­cles and de­scended hun­dreds of me­tres be­low the city to see the cat­a­combs, where the bones of more than six mil­lion Parisians have been ar­ranged to line walk­ways and form pat­terns.

EURO TRIP TIP:

Book tick­ets on­line, not in line. Even if it’s the morn­ing of, it’s so much eas­ier to se­cure your place for any ex­pe­ri­ence you’d like to try ahead of time.

Barcelona, baby…

From Paris, we caught the train south to meet up with the rest of my fam­ily at a lit­tle house in the Dor­dogne. We grabbed a rental car from Avis Car Hire on the way, which

FIVE COUN­TRIES IN SIX DAYS ON A ROAD TRIP…

quickly be­came our life­line to the rest of the con­ti­nent. The next day, our three-car con­voy had crossed the French-span­ish bor­der and we’d ar­rived in Barcelona. For two nights, we strut­ted up and down La Ram­bla (stop­ping to sit for some ter­ri­ble car­i­ca­tures), ate our body weight in paella and saw Gaudi’s great­est de­signs, from the Sagrada Fa­milia to Park Güell. Then, hav­ing only just picked up a few Span­ish phrases, we were back to France and the boyfriend and I were get­ting set to em­bark on the fi­nal and most ex­haust­ing part of our trip – the road trip.

Be­fore we left, we were told by just about ev­ery­one that vis­it­ing five coun­tries in six days was ab­so­lute lu­nacy. They were right – but it was also a lot of fun.

The French Riviera…

Who says you can’t hit the coast in win­ter? Awash with cerulean blues, crisp whites and pas­tel pinks, the French Riviera (Cannes, Nice and Men­ton specif­i­cally) is some­thing from a dream – or a Slim Aarons cof­fee ta­ble book. We hit all three towns in one day, stop­ping at each for a meal and a walk around. Men­ton was the cheap­est of the three for ac­com­mo­da­tion (one night in a de­cent ho­tel cost just $70AUD) and had the ad­van­tage of shar­ing a bor­der with the tiny prin­ci­pal­ity of Monaco, so we hit up Monaco’s main (read: only) city of Monte Carlo for din­ner and an un­suc­cess­ful whirl of roulette.

Into Italia…

I had my heart set on get­ting to Mu­nich and it just so hap­pened that the best way there was to pass straight through Mi­lan – what a bum­mer. We checked into our ho­tel, jumped on the metro and headed straight to the city cen­tre, re-emerg­ing un­der the shadow of the gi­nor­mous Duomo Cathe­dral and right next to the stun­ning Gal­le­ria Vit­to­rio Emanuele. Af­ter a bit of sight­see­ing, there was only one thing on my mind – pizza. We man­aged to fit two in be­fore bed­time, along with a wan­der around the lesser known canals of Mi­lan. The next morn­ing, we awoke to find that our car had been bro­ken into – noth­ing vi­tal was stolen, but it still kind of sucked. It also hap­pened to be the morn­ing that we em­barked on an eight-hour drive through a bl­iz­zard, which would have sucked a lot less if we had all of our win­dows in­tact. C’est la vie. EURO TRIP TIP: un­der­cover park­ing trumps street park­ing, ev­ery time.

Mu­nich and Zurich…

A har­row­ing day wind­ing up and down snowy moun­tains was made much bet­ter by a night in beau­ti­ful Mu­nich. We drank beer and house cock­tails in a cozy tra­di­tional restau­rant, saw the glock­en­spiel come alive on the hour at the Mu­nich Rathaus, and tried our hand at ice-skat­ing un­der fall­ing snow. The next morn­ing, we were off to Dachau to visit the Memo­rial Con­cen­tra­tion Camp, which was as con­fronting as you would ex­pect, but also pretty in­cred­i­ble.

From there, we headed to Zurich which, I’ll ad­mit, didn’t blow my mind. With that be­ing said, the scenery was to­tally stun­ning – the city is split by a crys­tal-clear river that flows straight down from the sur­round­ing moun­tains – and we did spend less than a day there. EURO TRIP TIP: Im­merse your­self in the cul­ture and his­tory, both good and bad – you will come away with a much bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the coun­try you’ve vis­ited.

Lyon and the last leg…

We fi­nally headed back to France, spend­ing our last night in Lyon – which pretty much felt like home by this point. Al­though we ended the trip on a com­plete­lyf­reak­ing-freez­ing note (rain and sub-5-de­gree tem­per­a­tures makes for two very mis­er­able Aus­tralians) we man­aged to sol­dier on for some more shop­ping and yet another pizza. By the time we had re­turned the car, caught the train back to Paris and boarded our 24-hour flight back home the next day, we were equal parts ex­hil­a­rated and ex­hausted. I’ve never slept so well.

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