Rick Steves’ Europe, but it’s Janak

Janak Krishnan, Editor-In-Chief, Sports Writer

Before anything is said, I am grateful and thankful to have the ability to visit and explore other countries around the world. Due to popular demand, I will be ranking my experiences in the countries I have visited in my junior year from fall of 2022 to spring of 2023. Please note that this is my personal experience in only a specific part of said country, and cannot possibly explore the entire country to formulate a full fledged opinion and critique on it. 


Let Us Begin 


5 – Argentina

In my stay in Argentina, I was only in the capital, Buenos Argentina, for 24 hours and missed out on the other views the nation had to offer. I found the city to be rather boring and mundane compared to the others on this list. The architecture of the city was simple, along with a history that was outclassed by Europe, Asia, and America. The food was quite good along with the best part about Argentina and even Brazil, is its people. South Americans have a long lineage of different bloodlines and races. In both Argentina and Brazil, almost everybody has blood from at least five different countries. Even our tour guide was seven percent Indian! This makes the Argentine people very welcoming with immaculate hospitality and a low occurrence of racism in the country. 


4 – Belgium

The exact opposite of Argentina is my experience in Brussels, Belgium. Filled with great architecture, art, and history, my experience was clouded with the lack of friendliness and peacefulness from the city. Belgium had amazing food with a vast amount of sights to see, enjoy, and learn. Ranging from the Grand Square to massive works of art to honor Hergé and Peyo’s contribution to comics, Brussels was beautiful. To make the day better, the city had immaculate weather with its cool breeze and sunny overcast. The chocolate was second to none and as you walk down the stone roads from the 1600’s, you can feel the history beneath your feet. It was overall a pleasant experience in Belgium despite the rude people (which was a very small minority).


3 – Brazil

Similar, but different to Argentina in many ways, was the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Filled with exotic food, wildlife, and extravagant people, it was far from boring in this colorful, lush, city. Quite literally built in a rainforest, the weather was perfect with consistent sun, cool temperatures, and surprisingly not humid, despite being built right next to the atlantic ocean. The people were very accepting of all cultures due to them being influenced by a wide variety of different nations for the last three hundred years, due to trade and migration. The sights were spectacular, ranging from man made to nature, like from Christ the Redeemer to Sugarloaf Mountain. The city was extremely colorful with plenty of green spaces and recreational centers. I one hundred percent recommend visiting this city or country at least once, but just take caution on the high crime, poverty rates, and traffic.


2 – Spain

The first place I visited in my junior year was the grand city of Barcelona, Spain. Known for being one of the most architecturally pleasing and the best planned cities in the world, I can assure you, it definitely lives up to its name. The entire city is to fit 1.5 million people in just 40 square miles, and not once in my three day visit did I experience traffic. Fitted right into the mediterranean, it has arguably some of the best weather on the planet, and combined with its healthy and delicious diet, it makes the country an excellent place to not only vacation, but reside. Heavily influenced by catholicism the city has many churches with the most noticeable one being the Sagrada Familia. The city also has pristine beaches with shops of the highest quality selling chocolate, coffee, and other various snacks for a very affordable price. My favorite part of Barcelona was experiencing the opera house. The Gran Teatre del Liceu, just like the Sagrada Familia was built by Antoni Gaudí, Spain’s most famous and ingenious architect. When in the main room of the opera house, you are enveloped in a majestic awe of the ceramic tiles, art on the walls, and best yet, the stained glass. It carries meaning, depicting angels and even tells a metaphorical story as in the glass itself, “flowed” down the ceiling like water due to the way it was built. I absolutely loved Barcelona, and I cannot wait to go to Spain again to visit Madrid. 


1 – Netherlands

Simply put in one sentence- I love Holland. Words cannot describe how much I enjoy the landscape, culture, food, architecture, and overall feel of the nation. What makes me like the Netherlands so much, is that no matter what “city experience” you are chasing, the country provides it. The Netherlands, despite being small, has a variety of urban landscapes. It ranges from the tulip filled countryside, to the old aura of Amsterdam, and the modern touch of Rotterdam. Additionally, on a more cultural level, the country is so efficient, advanced, and modernized that it feels like it is a decade ahead in technology and social structure. The atmosphere of Holland is spectacular, and just being a tourist for a couple days, does not make you want to leave.


(All photos are taken by Janak Krishnan)