Travel

9 Things I Learned While Traveling In Europe

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Traveling in Europe has the habit of teaching a person a lot about themselves and the world.

Traveling in Europe for the first time can humble a person too.

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I was a 26-year-old man visiting England, France, Switzerland and Italy for the first time.

Together with my wife we set off for Europe shortly after getting married in 2002. Neither of us had crossed the pond before that trip but after flights, TGV trains, an impromptu metro line education, and stick-shift vehicles, we were changed for the better and changed forever.

Things learned traveling in Europe

We have been in love with traveling in Europe ever since.

Here are 9 things I learned while traveling in Europe:

  1. American Cheese isn’t cheese, and isn’t an actual thing that is made, sold or eaten in Europe. Edam cheese, on the other hand, is an actual thing and is so very magnificent.
  2. Breakfast cereal is not as prevalent in grocery stores or on kitchen tables as in America. Also, I probably was consuming too much breakfast cereal back then. Yeah, I definitely was.
  3. Milk, water and many other beverages aren’t served ice cold or with ice in Europe. This was jarring when I did finally find a small box of cereal during our holiday at a bed & breakfast in the south of France. Let’s just say that wasn’t the best bowl of cereal I’ve ever eaten.
  4. The 2nd floor is actually the 3rd floor and when it’s a 2nd floor walk-up apartment you’ve rented, that means a lot of steps to walk up and down with luggage and babies and toddlers and backpacks in tow. #OtisElevatorFan4Ever
  5. French people are not rude, but American tourists can certainly be ignorant assholes.
  6. Carousels — often ornate, double-decker, with original Wurlitzer organ, wooden horse, brass-ring-catching century-old merry-go-rounds — are still a part of childhood life in Europe, as they should be everywhere.
  7. Roundabouts are brilliant for traffic flow…providing drivers understand how to get into and out of them, and, specifically, providing a certain chubby 26-year-old American driver can figure out how to not stall out approaching said roundabouts in a manual transmission car.
  8. Ham and cheese sandwiches taste better when bought in grand open air train stations and eaten on high speed trains while zipping around Europe. Also, ham and cheese sandwiches taste best when called baguette et fromage en jambon.
  9. If you don’t ask for the check after your meal, you will never receive it. Also, eat slower, eat outside at a table on the sidewalk (with all chairs facing the street, not each other), watch the world pass by in front of you, relax, sip your drinks slowly, and after a few hours have passed, then ask for your bill.

Things learned traveling in Europe

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