Thursday, April 26, 2018

The greater the number of experiences, the better the definition of life

1017 October 28, 2015

This whole trip that I am about to tell you started in a boat in Ohrid lake, having a beer with some friends and talking about different cities and the possibility to travel to those cities, and like always as the topic goes, talking about how much it costs to travel around and how time consuming is to get a visa. When a friend mentioned about this possibility to go to Europe, I asked him like a million questions, and as soon as I returned to Pristina i applied, which happened to be the last open day of application, and I was very ecstatic when I got the call that I had been accepted to visit Europe. For the next two weeks, from the day I got that call till the departure date I think I became the most annoying person because all I talked about that this trip. Those two weeks went great because during that time we got to know each other and we planned some parts of the trip.
As we took of from Pristina to Berlin, making a small stop in Istanbul, everyone of us was very excited. When we arrived in Berlin, there was a bus driver waiting for us, who as a joke we decided to call Lavdim, and he took us straight to Center for Art and Urban Studies, where we met all the other participants from Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Albania and Montenegro that were there, and we way we got to know each other was through very interactive games, making it very informal and interesting. The next day we went to Branderburg Academy of Science, where we got to meet Doris Pack, the chair of the EU Committee on Culture and Education and had the opportunity to discuss first handedly about the general situation in Balkan, and about the things that worry us. Later we got separated into small groups and visited different places of Berlin with hosts. The host of the group that I was in was Andrea, a very kind person and easy to talk to, who took us to Moabid, a small neighborhood where we talked with people who work in different projects there, and where we ate a very tasty vegetarian dinner. On the third day, we checked out of the hostel, and as this was a free day, we went to visit the Berlin Wall, which turned out to be huger that I imagined, and all the graffiti on in was truly stunning. We walked all day, visiting almost every attraction in the city. During the night the whole eurotrip adventure, because that night we took off by train to Harderwijk, which turned out to be the wrong train. We stopped on Koln, and since we lost our train, visiting the Cologne Cathedral at 7am and drinking hot chocolate afterwards seemed like a great idea. When arrived at out bungalow park which we had reserved upfront, we were stunned because it was so beautiful, and the fact that we could bike in that gorgeous nature, that we had a private pool and cheap beer made it even better. The next day we went to Amsterdam, a city with amazing architecture and full of spirit, where we took a boat to the canals, and walked all around the flower market. From the awesome comfortable bungalow park on Harderwijk we went to visit Bruges, where we spend two nights walking the lovely small streets of Bruges, and slept on our sleeping bags on the train stations. From there we continued to Paris, which was one of favourite places to visit, and it was as glorious as I thought it would be. Visiting the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral and seeing the work of Le Corbusier for a student of architect is as good as it gets. In Paris I split up from the rest of the group, and I went off to Brussels. Atomium and the nightlife were two of my favourite about Brussels. Two days after, I went to Ljubljana, an awesome place to eat ice cream and to drink black beer, and to swim in the Bled Lake, a place in the suburbs of Slovenia. After four days of exploring the city by bike, I left Ljubljana to go to Prague, making a small stop in Vienna. I instantaneously fell in love with Prague, and couldn’t get enough of it. Everything in Prague, from the view that you get when you visit the architecture masterpiece that is Dancing House, to the small coffee places, to the free-spirit nightlife, was near perfection. I left Prague in a rainy day to go to Bratislava, feeling that I wasn’t taking enough memories of this magnificent city. I stayed in Bratislava for only a night, where I took a tour of the city by day, learned about some weird traditions of the city, and then by night I pub crawled with locals. I left Bratislava in the morning, and i continued my journey to Budapest.
I found Budapest to be extraordinary, where i tried the goulash and langos, took different tours about Jewish architecture and the communist era of the city, walked by side of Danube and I went pub crawling with a bunch of unknown awesome people from all over the world. I left Budapest to go to Salzburg, the last place on my list, where I had the chance to finally visit Hangar-7, the aircraft Red Bull museum. From Salzburg I came back to Pristina, tired, a little bit smelly and full of awesome memories that probably are gonna be with me for the rest of my life.
For me, traveling is the realization of an idea that only a relentless mind can have, and personally I think that that is the best way to learn something new, to get to know different people from all over the world, and to explore and discover something more that daily life, especially if it means sleeping most of the time in a train or camping outside and spending all day trying new stuff. Even though it sounds kind of a cliché, I like to be able to travel because I truly believe that our life is defined by the number of experiences that we have. The greater the number of experiences, the better that definition of life becomes. To travel is to comfort yourself in an environment that you are an unknown, just another face and for me to get that adrenaline rush from all that liberation that you feel is priceless. To able to enjoy all those natural landscapes like the mountains of Salzburg while traveling by train or drinking cheap beer in front of the Eiffel Tower with wonderful people around you was definitely some of the things that now I can check on my bucket list.
This awesome trip for me meant a dream come true, as I had the opportunity to visit all the places in Europe that I had planned, and the fact that for a month we didn’t have to worry about borders, visas and bus ticket prices was the ultimate freedom.

Gentrit Krasniqi.

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