Feelings of different European cities while traveling

I started my half-month journey since Dec.24. In my plan I’m going to visit Berlin, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vatican, Milan, Luzern, Sachseln, Interlaken, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Gent, Antwerp, Brussels. Now I’m in Luxembourg and have completed my trip to most of the cities. It is the time to write down some feelings of this long trip.

Along the way, I took trains and buses, stayed in AirBnBs, and visited museums that cost almost nothing. What I saw is mainly the life of ordinary people. When I arrived in Berlin for the first time, my feeling was actually: Berlin deserves to be the capital of Germany! Berlin train station is decorated with glass and marble, which looks like a high-end shopping mall at first glance. There were crowds of people and the trains were busy rushing. Bremen’s train station really looks like an antique, while Berlin feels like it’s 2023. The next day, I visited the famous Berlin Wall. This is a sentence I saw in a history book 8 years ago, and now this short line of words became a reality before my eyes. I can easily jump back and forth on different sides of the wall.  I don’t know how to describe this magical feeling. As I walked along the wall, I gradually felt the loneliness and decay deep in the city. The square was very deserted, with almost no people except for a large flock of crows soaring in the sky. Abandoned shopping carts and bicycles lied on the roadside, and occasionally a pigeon or two flied down to carve out food scraps on the road. However, the area around the Brandenburg Gate was once again crowded with tourists. Berlin is a city with a long history, part busy but part deserted. Then I took the train all the way south to Munich. The area near the train station is almost entirely populated by Turks, and Turkish restaurants are everywhere. Unlike people in the north who feel a certain distance from each other, people in Munich like to get together to sing and play, and seem to prefer communicating with others. There are obviously more young people here, and the urban buildings are even newer.

Then I took an overnight train to Venice. As a famous tourist city, Venice is still crowded with people even though it is the off-season. „Beware of Thieves“ signs are everywhere. I had to keep an eye on my luggage at all times and keep all my valuables on me. But the food in Italy is delicious and cheap. Even with the table fee, the price is almost half of that in Germany. I bought a cup of Espresso and Gelato everyday. The funny thing is that Italian will be so confused if you ask for a cup of „Latte“, because it means only pure milk without any coffee in it. There are also many Chinese people in Italy, and people there can enjoy very authentic traditional Chinese food with a good price. Florence is a very old city with so many masterpieces. The houses are in old styles and there are almost no modern-style buildings. The roads are very narrow and in many sections only one person can walk  through at a time. People sang and held parties on the streets in the middle of the night, leaving broken glass bottles, beer cans, and garbage everywhere. But also there, you can see artists at every corner. And I had the best thin crust pizza ever in my life. Rome is very different, the roads are more open and cleaner than in Florence. The whole city is well planned. No wonder it is said that “all roads lead to Rome”. Rome is almost a city built on history. The whole city is filled with various cultural relics, which is dazzling. The Vatican is very small, and its museum take up a large part of it. Here you can admire various treasures, sculptures, and exquisite paintings from ancient Egypt to ancient Greece and Rome, and masterpieces from the Renaissance,  especially Michelangelo’s „Genesis“. Rome’s leather goods are particularly rich and affordable, same for the artworks. However, where there are many tourists, there are also many scammers. My friend bought several printed watercolor paintings at a very high price. Things like this happened all the time. In Milan, someone put a handful of corn in her hand. After the pigeons flew over, we were surrounded by a group of black people and had to give them all the cash we had. Overall, Italy is great, but not a great place to travel alone. Its fascinating history and culture are contradictory to its somewhat speechless theft rate.

My next station is Switzerland.  It was the most surprising of my whole trip because I didn’t want to go to this expensive place at first. Switzerland’s infrastructure is very modern, all the roads are clean and tidy, and importantly, cashless and cardless payments are available everywhere. The landscapes are as enchanting as wallpaper and the air is so fresh there. The railway system is very punctual and every train arrives and departs on time. Sitting on the panoramic train, you can have a panoramic view of the lakes and mountains along the way. Every day, I feel intense happiness. In Interlaken, we took a cruise to visit Lake Thun and climbed to the pure white First Peak. Many German parents brought their children to ski and play. Tourists from all over the world gathered together to celebrate successful skiing with lucky wine. Switzerland is so safe that if you put your phone on the table and leave it for a while, no one will take it away. My landlady never even locked the door. The only drawback of Switzerland is that good prices are too high. We paid a very high price for a cheese pot meal that was not tasty. There are no perfect choices in life. To live in such a paradise-like place, you have to endure loneliness and high prices. In a word, Switzerland is a great place for a vacation, and its beautiful scenery can wash away all your worries.

Then I came to France. The Christmas atmosphere in Strasbourg has not completely dissipated, but there were already far fewer tourists. This is perhaps the best place to balance secularity with beautiful surroundings. People there speak French and German, or even fluent English. French food is also very cheap and the portions are plentiful, I even did’nt finish it. Everyone’s face is filled with a satisfied smile. The landlady I met had a big dog and a cat, and lived alone in an apartment as warm as an oil painting. She is a music MV director and has her own studio, so she can control her time relatively freely. “Don’t go to Paris. It’s so dirty and unsafe! We French don’t like it either, hahaha.” She laughed away. „Where are you going tomorrow?“ „There is nothing interesting in Luxembourg. A boring place!“ She added.

A three-hour bus ride later, we arrived in Luxembourg. I must admit, Luxembourg is really boring and small. But Luxembourg’s happiness level is very high. All buses here are free, which is incredible. Except in Switzerland and Luxembourg, I see beggars on the streets all the time. Luxembourg is like a boring and small version of Switzerland. Walk a little further and you’ll reach the suburbs. It is sparsely populated and has a serious architectural style, as if it were in an industrial development zone.

The trip is coming to an end soon, and I have to return to Bremen, where the sun cannot be seen. And I have to face the railway strike again. Luckily, this will probably be my longest trip in a long time in the future. Whenever I feel that life is in trouble again, I can imagine the scenery along the way and the busy lives of different people, and I will definitely gain the courage to face it positively. When I see the world from a different perspective, many worries are no longer worries. Reading, learning, traveling and working. Living in this world run by people, no need to worry about food and clothing (which can be easily obtained with money), but pursue your goals and dreams. This is a magical and incredible thing in itself.


  1. Sammer says:

    Ich leben schon mein ganzes Leben in Deutschland bzw. Europa und trotzdem hatte ich nie die Chance Europa mal zu bereisen.
    Meine Abschluss Reise damals in der Schule sollte nach Italien gehen, aber diese wurde wegen Corona abgesagt 💀
    Da beneide ich dich schon ein wenig. Den Reisebericht fand ich echt gut. Wie du versuchst hast den Vibe zu beschreiben und das was man dort vorfindet, fand ich sehr schön zu lesen. Ich persönlich war von den genannten Orten nur in Berlin einige Male und jedes Mal hab ich mir echt gedacht, dass ich diese Stadt hasse. Ich finde sie einfach hässlich und zu voll. Aber trotzdem freu ich mich, dass es dir so gefallen hat 😊

  2. Elisa says:

    How cool that you visited so many cities and also countries in a row! I have been in some of the cities you visited too, and it was really interesting to hear your opinion on them. I love that you found it so inspiring! I always feel like its such a hard question to answer, but did you have a favourite city?

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