Let's start with how it was even possible to go on this trip.
Matt Benyo and I met a man by the name of Larry Bruner. After talking to Larry about our hopes and dreams and how we wished we could go to Europe, Larry told us to make friends with someone that works for the airlines. Larry left and we thought that was the last we'd see of him, but he came back a little bit later and told us we'd be seeing him again because he was sending us to Paris because HE worked for the airlines! I literally cried. My mom always said if it's too good to be true, it usually is, but Larry pulled through and a week before we took off, we bought our plane tickets to Paris. As a gift to Larry for his kindness, Matt and I worked relentlessly on a Smorgasboard for him which we presented in a frame. As a result of getting this opportunity, we also got to fly FIRST CLASS both to AND from Paris. That's a $6,000 ticket one way. I was literally in shock for the duration of this trip.
This was both of our first times out of the country and a trip that most people spend half a year preparing for, we did in a matter of weeks. Nothing was certain until it happened. I was the lunatic (big shock) and I had a lot of doubts, but somehow, it all came together. Let me tell you, I could not have done this without Matt Benyo. He was the navigator of the trip and navigate us he did. Not to mention I would've been completely useless in Paris if it wasn't for him because his French is phenomenal and he was able to order and all sorts of other things. #lifesaver.
This trip wouldn't have worked without all of the help we received while abroad. Cloe, you made us feel so at ease and made us feel at home. Thank you again. Also thanks to Zoe and Elena for making England truly unforgettable (hi Paul & Amy!) and Kory Kalnasy ('s family) for letting us stay.
Europe is awesome. If you haven't been, you need to go. France is great. England is incredible (and is the only place that we felt completely robbed on time). Italy is meh. I did eat Pizza everyday in Italy though which ruled AND Venice is absolutely breathtaking, but everywhere else is the pits (especially ROME. Rome sucks).
So, top moments of the trip had to be as follows in no particular order:
- Flying FIRST CLASS.
- River dancing in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
- Successfully surprising Kory Kalnasy in Naples, Italy because you know there's nothing quite like 2 of your friends from where you live back home showing up on your doorstep 5,000 miles away.
- Laying underneath the Eiffel Tower at night as it sparkled while eating macarons and laying next to 2 incredible people. This was actually THE best moment.
- Finally staying awake for all of The Dark Knight Rises in Nice, France.
- Attending a nude model drawing in Paris, France and sketching.
- Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea with Matt Benyo and throwing messages in bottles into the sea
- The Party House with Matt Benyo & Kory Kalnasy.
- The mask shops in Venice.
- Drinking Pimm's and Pimmin' in the garden in England with Matt, Zoe, and Elena.
- Frightening all of the pigeons.
- Attending the Harry Potter studio in England.
- Seeing my 1st show on West End (Phantom of the Opera) which left me elated.
- Being on the Metro and listening to a sing along of Bob Marley's Redemption Song with this awesome guitarist, a man that chimed in and joined him in singing, this Andrew Garfield look alike, a nice man and lady, and Matt Benyo.
- Going to Harrod's.
- Matt Benyo's wardrobe from TopMan and seeing him become Louis Tomlinson right before my eyes.
- Running across 5 lanes of traffic (and 12 streets that converge) at the Arc de Triomphe!
- Attaching a lock at the lock bridge.
-Seeing the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Toulouse-Lautrec, & many more!
- Laying on the ground to admire the Sistine Chapel WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT!
- Hearing our life anthem in a laundromat while being tattered and torn.
- Drinking Tea in England!
There's so much more that I could add. It was truly incredible. I also splashed myself in fountains I came across in Rome, touched all the stray cats, became obsessed with peaches and peach flavored syrup (thanks Cloe) and violet flavored everything, and got a rad outfit. I wish we had gone longer, but next summer we are going above and beyond. I made YOLO lists for each country as well. We spent our last day in Paris. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and that night, sat in the field and watched it sparkle for 2 hours. Here is an in order montage:
I wish I could do it all over again. It was a once in a lifetime experience and we both did it together. Matt said several times how excited he was that we were able to pull this endeavor off on our own without any help and it felt good. One good thing about coming home was that I got to finally meet my Nephew, Dalton Cole. I'm an Aunt!