Sleep Is for the Weak

Well for me, it’s more like sleep is for the week. But I’ve also learned a valuable lesson that sleep is for the sane.

The next time someone asks you about the best way to travel to three different cities in three consecutive weekends there is a simple answer: don’t. Okay. Maybe I’m a little cynical because I myself just traveled to three cities in three consecutive weekends while simultaneously trying to be a full-time student with moderately good mental health. I do not think I have ever felt more gratitude in my life than when I returned home from my last trip for several reasons. Firstly, because it was three in the morning and my bed looked like the most beautiful haven I’ve ever seen. Secondly, because being home meant I got to take a real shower and let me tell you I needed it. And thirdly (to suppress the angry mob tired of me sounding like a spoiled brat) I just saw three of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

This is, of course, a subjective fact, and one that could very well change by the end of the semester, but as of right now Paris, Edinburgh, and Barcelona are the most spectacularly beautiful cities in Europe. Let me help to paint the pictures for you.



The city of lights. The city of pain au chocolat. The city I lost my heart to.

You wake up early, but excited, and stroll along the Seine. You climb l’Arc de Triomphe and question the meaning of beauty. You get lost in the Louvre surrounded by priceless paintings. You picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower feeling like an ant in its presence. You eat like you’ve never eaten before, like every food is somehow new. You bask in the sun on the steps of Sacre Coeur overlooking the city you love. You shed a single tear standing on a bridge over the Seine more dazzled than you’ve ever been before as the city turns its lights on.

And that’s not even the half of it. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Paris, even if it is only for a day, please take it. For me.


My preexisting knowledge of Scotland consisted of the Pixar movie Brave and the musical Brigadoon. I was unprepared for the wonders I saw.

When was the last time you climbed to the top of a volcano? For me, it was last Friday. We may have seen our lives flash before our eyes several times in the process of doing so, but the view from Arthur’s Seat took my breath away more than any uphill climb ever could. And the city doesn’t just have one dormant volcano, oh no, they have two! And do you know what they did with the second one? They built a castle on it. That’s right, Hogwarts is real, and it’s basking in all its glory right in the heart of Edinburgh.

When was the last time you fangirled so hard you yelled magical spells at a crosswalk? For me, it was last Saturday. Last Saturday I walked through the city following a girl wearing a Hogwarts cape learning about all the magical things that inspired J.K. Rowling while she was writing Harry Potter. If that wasn’t enough, I ate a piece of cake in The Elephant House café, the very same café where the first few books were written. Yeah, it was a good day.


I didn’t have to pretend to dance through the streets while listening to Ed Sheeran any longer! In fact, I did more than dance; I strutted like I meant it, and it indeed freed my mind.

Antoni Gaudí is a visionary. He can do more with color than a seven-year-old with a 100 color box of crayons. Park Güell is a jungle of wonder, La Sagrada Familia is a forest of light encased in the sandcastle of your childhood dreams, Casa Batlló is an emporium of color and wonder, La Pedrera is a proud sculpture encasing the apartments of the extraordinarily fortunate.  This city belongs to him.

Much reflection is needed to really take in the beauty of the Barcelona architecture. I recommend doing so over a large liter of sangria, a large plate of a variety of tapas, and an extra large plate of churros. Bonus points if you swing by La Boqueria and bring these items to the beach.


I am tired. I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired, or my nose wasn’t running, or my back wasn’t sore from carrying bags. But I am grateful. I am so grateful.