Europe, to me, is the treasure house of the world, like an open air museum and rich with deep history. Every country has stunning natural beautiful and appears preserved forever Europe is like a jewel for everyone to enjoy!
Europe means many things to me. I was born here. I grew up here. I travelled a lot around Europe as a child and as an adult. I boarded the first flight in my life as a child from Cardiff, Wales to Barcelona, Spain. I crossed the English channel on a ferry from Dover, England to Calais, France. Many years later, I crossed the English Channel under the sea, leaving London and arriving in Paris. I fell in love with the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea. I love the green pastures and mountains of my home country Wales. I love exploring castles all over Europe. I love art and theatre. I love the different languages, cultures, styles and cuisines. I love that you can take a plane for one, two or three hours and can quickly be in totally different place. I love Europe.
On top of that, I am inspired in my adventures by the many great explorers that set off from Europe and discovered the world in the Age of Discovery. However, this is not in any political way, just simply the thrill of discovery and adventure. In a way, Europe is my base from where I travel, discover and know more of our amazing world.
At last count, I have visited 22 of the 50 (or so) countries in Europe. I want to visit all of the European countries though, and Russia and Iceland are currently top of my list.
There is so much I can write about Europe, but in today’s post I just want to give you a personal snapshot from a book I am writing about travel and how it has changed my life.
Adventures through Time
Here is the extract from my book below:
I love London. For me, it is one of the great capitals of the world with its vast park, palaces, museums, theatre, cosmopolitan and international lifestyle. I first went to London as a 10 year old boy with my Dad driving my Mum, sisters and I around the capital stopping to see all of the famous sights like Big Ben, Tower of London and Royal Observatory in Greenwich (the origin of GMT). I remember sitting on top of a huge statue of a lion in Trafalgar Square and Dad parking on the pavement outside Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. I asked Dad why he parked right outside and he said that he wanted his children to see everything. Dad was always brave and the policeman outside the two places just smiled and told us to move us, but not in a hurried way (this could not happen today!). Sometimes it’s the small things that we remember and what a great day it was, but it was more of an adventure seeing London with my Dad. (Thanks Dad).
And my Gran had great stories of working in London before the second world war time and I wanted some adventures for myself. My Gran’s adventures involved working as second housemaid to the Duke of Connaught in a house in Belgrave Square and peering over the banister at the back of him with the other Welsh maids when he went down to dinner just trying to catch a glimpse. After work, she would frequently go to Irish barn dances and loved shopping in Edgware Road.
My adventures in London, some eighty years later, involved living in a beautiful apartment in a converted large white stucco terraced house with a private garden square in Bayswater. I lived there for one year and loved it, and my Grandmother loved it too. But, my adventures were quite different to hers. There were no Irish barn dances, only nice restaurants with cuisine from all over the world, bars, pubs, art, theatre and occasional all-night clubbing. Like my Gran, I also enjoyed shopping in London in places like Oxford Street and I took my Gran to some great restaurants near Edgware Road. I was fortunate not to work and loved particularly hanging out in Hyde Park, Little Venice and Notting Hill. Even with one year in London, it was difficult to see all of the great offerings of this incredible city.
My great love of the beautiful blue sea
My other great love of Europe is the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and the lifestyle that goes with it. There is something magical about the Mediterranean Sea that I realised when I saw my Mother, some years back, just staring at the sea with a smile on her face on the first day of a holiday in Cannes in the south of France. And I realised that I do exactly the same thing. Now, that I live in front of the Mediterranean Sea in Spain, I walk almost daily along the beach and sit somewhere totally relaxed, enjoying the majesty of the beautiful blue sea.
Spain is a beautiful country and always full of life all year round. It is blessed with endless sunshine, great beaches, the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Balearic islands, incredible mountains, white washed villages, moorish castles, amazing cosmopolitan cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, amazing food such as tapas and paella, wine and sangria, parties, fiestas and well-needed siestas. For me, there is no other place quite like Spain right now. No wonder it is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Viva Espana! Viva Europa!
I hope you enjoyed my snapshot of Europe and these are some of the magic and more meaningful moments from my past. If ever you are in the Alicante or Valencia area of Spain and would like some information about the area, please send me a message or comment below.
To follow my journey with Culem, sign-up to our monthly email and follow us on Instagram @culemwatches.
Thank you for reading. M.