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THE VATICAN IS EVERYWHERE. Every time I saw it I got that feeling like when you’re in D.C. and the Capitol keeps popping up everywhere and you realize, “Holy crud, that’s the most important place in our country.” Except this is for an entire religion. Oh, they have a decent museum too, with a couple cool things I guess. Whatever.

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The first in my last photos of Harry in the Homeland. Rome. It’s a museum spread over an entire city. Thousand-year-old ruins await around every corner. The sprawl is as beautiful as the first photo from an apartment’s balcony at the sunset. The Trevi Fountain is intimidating when it’s empty of tourists in the morning and social and romantic when they all come at night. Hundreds of years ago, someone thought that face in the third photo was a good idea to put on a fountain outside of the Pantheon. The sun can make the fourth photo happen in the middle of a cloudy, stormy day. I didn’t want to be obnoxious taking photos of my food, but suffice it to say that I could eat like an Italian for every meal of every day.

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It’s been awhile since I brought my camera with me anywhere, but I think I picked a good week to remember it. First I ran into the Lord Mayor of London’s carriage as part of the parade for my 21st birthday (I assume that’s what they were celebrating). So much gold. A little too flashy for me, so I let the Mayor keep it. Then I went to Oxford to visit one of my nerdier friends, and while the included photo represents the prettiest part of my trip, there were definitely crazier parts, including a drink made of six shots of various alcohols watered down with a little Sprite. And it was served inside one of the colleges. Finally, there’s the highlight of it all: fourth row, mid field for Chelsea v. Liverpool. Great game, so different from watching on TV and crazy fans.

Quote

"I hate dancing more than I can possibly explain. I hate doing it myself, which I can’t anyway, but I loathe and resent the necessity to try. I hate watching other people do it. I hate the way it breaks up conversation. I hate the slovenly mixture of sexual exhibitionism, strutting contempt and repellent narcissism that it involves. I hate it when it is formless, meaningless bopping and I hate it (if anything even more) when it is formal and choreographed into genres like ballroom or schooled disco. Those cavortings are so embarrassing and dreadful as to force my hand to my mouth."

- Stephen Fry, who I recently discovered is the greatest person who ever lived.
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First two are from Dachau Concentration Camp. The main gate (not pictured) bears the inscription, “Work Brings Freedom.” Second is a shot across the role-call yard of the barracks. I couldn’t bring myself to get my camera out to take photos of the crematorium. The third photo is of one of Munich’s subtle tributes to those who resisted the Nazis. The gold cobblestones mark the path people would walk to avoid having to give the hail to a plaque praising Nazis as heroes, despite the fact that they would be interrogated for avoiding the main street.

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MUNICH. This is where I belong. Such a cohesive city. They know their modern history is shameful, so they try to make up for it with touching, subtle memorials scattered throughout the city. They know they’re a bunch of alcoholics, so they give themselves fantastic beer halls and huge glasses to drink from. They also know that their famous glockenspeil (which I refuse to spell correctly) is super lame, so they mock tourists for falling for it’s fame.

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Praha (I like Prague’s native name better). So ridiculously beautiful, I can’t believe it’s on the same continent as Berlin. Everything is right there, including the absurd exchange rate. Nah, we don’t like the Euro, we’ll just keep our Czech Krona. No you can’t use it anywhere else but this tiny country. What fun would that be?

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Berlin: let’s try to make everything we do in some way terrifying. Beer garden? Ok, that’s cool. A classic greek-style gateway? Well, obviously we have to put a sinister charioteer of Victory on it. Oh, and we don’t have enough dark old buildings in Europe by the 1900s, so let’s build the Berlin Dome to look Baroque, and make sure it’s insanely imposing to the point where the viewer loses all hope of enjoying life. At least someone brightened up one of the hundreds of kilometers of ominous death-wall with some really amazing paintings. Thank you East Side Gallery for being happy.

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Ahhh Amsterdam. So much immorality in this city, it’s ridiculous. I’ve said it before, but I don’t understand how someone could become a mature adult in this city. It just doesn’t work. First is our hostel lit up at night. Welcome to HEL. Then there’s the view down one of the canals that make Amsterdam the Northern version of Venice and then the obligatory I am sterdam sign, although I never did find out who sterdam is. Finally, the view down a pedestrian shopping street late at night lit entirely by hanging chandeliers. It was trippy, to say the least.

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Some of the highlights of our short (read: 4 hour) stay in Brussels before our train to Amsterdam. The first is some old building. Then you have some old fountain. And then some sort of tree thing. And, finally, graffiti. This would become a theme of the trip: beautiful, anonymous buildings and graffiti. Thank you, Europe, for not having plaques on everything.