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Looking for the Emptiness
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[0호] 승인 2006.06.07  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글
Kim Min-soo
Sophomore, Faculty of Law
only1true@hanmail.net


Last summer vacation, I went to Europe. Traveling through over ten European countries was a very good experience for me. I wanted to learn as much as I could so most of my travel choices directly related to my major. Europe is very different from Korea, for example, their facial features, languages, life styles, and natural environments.

Western Europe was especially beautiful with hot sunrays and wonderful wine. I saw such beautiful scenery going by train, that it seemed like heaven to me. Traveling through sixteen cities in ten different countries was very stressful. The difficulty began at the airport. Losing airport tickets, almost missing my plane, etc.

Fortunately, it all worked out but the tension lasted throughout my trip. When I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, every thing was new and strange. I was so confused that I could not remember the French I learned in Korea. I felt Paris was the exhibition of races.

Wherever I went, I saw such a diversity of races. Asians, African Americans, Europeans, such a mixture of people! So I wondered whether it was really Paris or not. However, the scenery of the river Seine was very romantic and the chanson coming out of an excursion ship was so exotic.

The Louvre Palace and Museum were really impressive. The collections were real and actually caused me to feel the power of history. I visited the palais de Versailles but unfortunately could not see inside. Seeing the delicate gardens, I forgot to see the rooms.

Oh, how provoking~~. Later, I went to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe was the center of sightseeing inside Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral in La cite, and Centre Georges Pompidou, the Louvre Palace and Museum, and Orsay Museum were among the many I visited.

These were all located very near to one another so it was easy to take in many beautiful sights at one time. However I was a little depressed seeing so many famous places. The most impressive thing in Paris was talking with a Sorbonne student in front of Sorbonne University.

He was majoring in literature but he spoke English very well. He was very interested in Korea so it was comfortable for both of us. He said he might come to Korea. I wanted to share my country with him, too. The next place was Spain. It took 10 hours to get to Barcelona and I could not sleep because of snatchers.

When I reached Barcelona, we could not find anyplace to stay. I originally departed having no plans and wanted to solve the problem myself. While in Spain, I went to a bullring and saw a bullfight. Bullfighting is a speciality in Spain and it is a good tool to understand the Spanish culture.

The appearance of cruelty can be lessened when you think a bullfight is not a simple slaughtering but rather, a religious ceremony. In reality, the Spanish think that cows are killed in honor after receiving very good treatment.

After a while, a native Korean guided me to see flamenco dancing. The traditional custom was fantastic and the rhythm of flamenco made me excited. I could not forget the strong sparkle in the dancer’s eyes. At the end, I went upstairs and all danced together.

Although I spent a relatively short time in Spain, I will really miss it. My third destination was Italy. I arrived at Milano Central Station. Milano is called the city of fashion and there were many shops around. The passengers seemed to be more fashionable than other city citizens.

The churches and statues around ¡®Duomo’ were very delicate. I took the night train to save costs but were very tired. I could feel the liberty of the Italians. Despite the disorder of traffic lights, there was something magical about that city. Napoli was similar to Busan.

I ate delicious food, however, I had to pay a high price for it. My experience in Pompeii was completely different. Although it is very famous, I had no special feeling there. Pompeii was only ruins to me. From there, I traveled to Rome.

Everything in Rome is of historic interest. St. Peter’ Church was really big and grand. The splendor of this building overwhelmed me and I felt like a very tiny creature.

Rome is also famous for their delicious ice cream and I preferred it to most of my regular meals! The Fontana di Trevi was more beautiful at night.

Legend says that you will find your lover soon when you throw 2 coins into the fountain. It made me wonder who my girlfriend might be. From Rome, I traveled to Interlaken in Switzerland, to Mount Jungfrau. There were mountain trains up to 3454 meters so it was hard to breathe due to lack of air.

I was happy to visit a post office which was located at the highest. It was a clear day at the top of the mountain but after coming down the hill, the thunder rolled and rumbled.

I recognized the power of Mother Nature once again. Next stop was England. When you travel by ‘Euro Star’, you need to know when to travel. The cost of Euro star on weekends was 1.5 times more expensive than weekdays.

I had no choice because of my itinerary but when you travel, check it first. I took the express train, ¡®TGV’, to London. It was so fast that I got to London within 3 hours. The heart of sightseeing in London is Trafalgar Square.

There were many famous buildings. For example, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace around Trafalgar Square. Many Koreans watched musicals such as ¡®Les Miserables’ and ¡®Miss Saigon’ but I wanted to watch movies. I think, in modern society, movies have great influence in many things.

I went to the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Cambridge is a garden city with broad lawns.

It was a model of a historic and dignified campus. I think Korean universities could learn from this example. Oxford was similar to Cambridge.

The old buildings looked so beautiful and comfortable. When I thought over our environments-all the same square buildings, I was sad and I did not want to come back to Korea. I admired so many exotic sceneries that a month flew by. I was exhausted.

I wanted to come back home but I was so sorry to leave England. Flying home, I looked back on this past month. I felt pride inside that there is nothing I can’t do. Without the support of my university, I might have never gone to Europe.

Besides everything I learned, making friends with many students at Internet cafe was a big present for me. I thank my school, and want to plan another trip. Translated by Koo Sun-mo
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