11 Things I Miss About Europe
You will leave with more memories, pictures, and friends than you ever expected to have.
The History & Architecture
Walking through Thessaloniki, you’ll be surrounded by modern buildings, sculptures, the honk of ridiculous traffic. Next thing you know, you turn a corner and see a church that was built in the 1400’s to your left and in front of you a crumbling arc that is still standing from sometime B.C. It is quite breathtaking to find yourself in the presence of something that is 2500 years old.
Learning About ‘Merica
When you go abroad, you not only learn about the country you are in, but you learn a lot about your own country too. It wasn’t until I went abroad that I learned it was American custom to wait until everyone got their food until you started eating. Since it was how I was raised, I just assumed it was something the whole world did. I was also going home on the Tube in London when I learned from some slightly intoxicated gentlemen that Americans where known for “Good teeth and bad shoes….”
Planes, trains, buses, subways….there is not just one way to travel over Europe, but it is usually a very cheap way to travel. You can find flights through companies like Ryanair for $15!! I personally traveled from Greece to Cyprus for under $20. That is like half a tank of gas here. If you travel in groups you can usually find better deals through companies like Groupon. It also only took me 2 days to figure out the bus system in Greece and the Tube in London. Mind the Gap please!
Wine. Wine everywhere! It is very common to have a beer or glass of wine with lunch or after work. Once in Italy, I had to pay for the water and got FREE wine. [Side note: when ordering water, make sure to ask for tap water. They are all about sparkling water and you might end up with that if you aren’t specific.] The red wine in Europe is outstanding. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir….take your pick! For the wine below we only paid 13 Euros for the whole bottle, and it was top notch.
I’m not sure if the bread we are used to exists in Europe. You know, the kind you get pre-sliced with tons of preservatives. I’m sure this exists in Europe, but trust me, you won’t be looking for it. On every street corner (maybe every other) is a bakery with fresh bread. What kind of bread? Any kind you want! Baguettes, sweet breads, soda breads, flat breads….Europeans buy their bread fresh from these every day.
Let’s not get hung up on just the bakeries though. There are so many yummy things in Europe! The food is AMAZING! Lasagna in Rome, gyros in Athens, Crepes in Paris, gelato everywhere! Nom nom nom. There is also the element of surprise you get when you order food in another country. When I first traveled to Greece, I ordered a gyro and expected lamb meat to be put on it, because that is what I was used to in America. The gyro I received had pork, tzatziki sauce, and french fries.
One of my favorite hobbies abroad…..go to a café bar. Go there and just sit. Take a book, take a friend, order coffee, and just sit there for hours. A couple of friends and I found our favorite one in Greece. The ocean was to one side, a soothing lily pad covered pond and waterfall to the other. We talked and talked about the future, the past, and just truly enjoyed the moment.
It speaks for itself. In most countries, tipping is not a thing. Servers are paid well without the need for tips. You aren’t rushed while eating because a waitress isn’t depending on a certain number of tables to get a decent night’s pay.
British, French, Italian, Irish….Gotta love them. I also realized the similarities within different languages. Even though I did not go to Spain, I got the chance to practice my Spanish in Italy because the languages were so closely related.
When I travel, I usually end up getting the cheapest phone plan possible. Which means no data. I love it. Taking a break from my phone is good. Instead of checking Instagram while I’m walking, I get to take in my surroundings and see things I would have otherwise missed.
There is nothing like Europe. You will leave with more memories, pictures, and friends than you ever expected to have. And you will never forget. Impromptu quests are the norm and even the little moments are an experience. Every day is a new, spontaneous adventure.