This will all make a little bit more sense if you're looking at a map.
I flew into Durham Tees Valley Airport in Britain, which is a very small airport in North Yorkshire county, where my uncle lives. I spent a week with him and my cousins, and saw three castles, two abbeys, and quite a lot of fog. I also washed a car, went to the library, went to a baptism, ate out, ate in, went to Church, rode a pony and generally loafed around the house with my cousins. It was a leisurely time and I was sad when it ended.
I spent half an hour in London, switching trains. All but one minute of that was underground. I took the Eurostar train across the Channel to France.
In Paris I met N and we started our tour: four countries and six cities in two weeks. It sounds like a death march but somehow, by sheer force of will, we managed to make it mostly just a two-week extended process of loafing around, with a few train rides thrown in. It helped that we had a lot of cool people to meet: we stayed in hostels half the time, and the other half we stayed with my cousins, my friends from BFTF, a friend of my brother's from when he served his mission in Germany.
Three days loafing around Paris, and then three in Belgium: an afternoon loafing around Brussels, a day where I loafed around Leuven with family (my cousins and their cousins) and N. went to Ghent. Then a night with family in Antwerp and a day loafing around Bruges. Another day loafing around Antwerp for N, and I went to Church and then caught a train to Darmstadt, Germany, where I caught up with a some friends from BFTF. N came in later that night, and we spent two days loafing around Darmstadt with Laura and Cristi before heading on to Berlin. Three fabulous days in Berlin, and then on to Prague, where we spent another three days loafing around.
N. flew back home from Prague, and I got on a train to Poland, where I met up with Kryzsiek and Martyna. We spent three days in Wroclaw before going to Warsaw, where we got on a plane to Bulgaria. We spent three days in Sofia, with more BFTF alumni showing up every day, before catching a bus to Blagoevgrad, the site of the BFTF reunion.
Blagoevgrad seems to have been carefully chosen for having absolutely no attractions other than American University in Bulgaria, where we stayed. So it was a week much more about people than about sights.
After Bulgaria I went with some Laura, Cristi, Isidora to Valbona's house in Skopje, Macedonia where we stayed for two days, and then on to Isidora's place in Zrenjanin, Serbia, where we stayed for a week. And then I flew home.
It really wasn't until I got home that I really had time to think about my trip at all, and within another week I was on my way to college, where there wasn't much room for the past either. And so I write here to try and keep alive a few things that I know are important, to try and tease the lessons out of this list of places that I traveled to.