Radiating Sunshine: Seven Thing I Learned In Europe

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Seven Thing I Learned In Europe

It has been over a year since I embarked on one of the best adventures I have been on to date! I have loved looking back at my TimeHops to see what I was doing at this time last year. It has been really nice to reflect on the trip and to feel nostalgic on all of those memories I made while in Europe. I can still recall how sad I was on the last night in Salzburg. There was a beautiful sunset and I kept looking up at the city skyline and the beautiful fortress and I just couldn't believe my time in the city was up. So, I have compiled seven things I learned when I was in Europe! Hopefully, if you get a chance to go to Europe one day, you'll learn the same things to.

(1) Travel smart and pack light
When I was preparing for my Europe adventure I read online that you should pack the essentials, but you don't really need to pack a lot of {not signature} pieces of your wardrobe. I really didn't understand that piece of advice. To me, I felt like everything I owned was a "signature" piece of my wardrobe... something I wore very regularly. But, when I was in Europe (during the Summer) I found that I didn't wear or use some things (like black heals) and then there were things I desperately wish I brought (sweaters and scarves). Obviously, depending on the region you go to, the climate can be quite different... but, if I could pack my suitcase again I would pack more books/wordsearches (all of those train rides), more dresses (black and solid colors), more scarfs to dress up the dresses, a few cute sweaters/wind breakers, and the cutest walking shoes that ever existed (still searching for those).  Which leads me to...
 (2) Enjoy walking everywhere & Public Transportation
My friends and I walked everywhere... one day Noelle and I decided that we would walk literally everywhere! We didn't use the bus pass we had or anything. We just did some old fashioned exploring and it was probably one of the best days of the entire trip. Enjoy all of the opportunities to walk around the old cities. Now, obviously you must be observant of your surroundings and only walk in safe areas (with friends & preferably in daylight). But, enjoy the opportunity to feel cobblestones under your shoes. Also, most cities in Europe have a fairly straightforward and easy to use Public Transportation... use it! It is a great resource and Europeans take pride in their transportation. Make sure your respectful and don't put you feet up on another seat (I know it will be appealing) but, it is considered rude and trust me one of the train employees will yell at you... and if you keep doing it you will get kicked off the train. Oh, and speaking of getting kicked off the train-- don't try to skip paying for the transportation. In most cases it is only a few euros at the most and that is a lot better than paying a 60 euro ticket! 

 (3) Take pictures of everything
Weird, but definitely something I learned. When I first got there I was very selective of what I took pictures of. I'm not really sure why? It's not like I didn't have unlimited space and or a laptop I could just upload all of the pictures on to. So, please take pictures of everything! Including cute little plates that were hand-painted for duchesses and dukes! (You can never have too many plate pics, right?)
 (4) Go to Beer & Wine Tastings
They really aren't too expensive! I went to a wine tasting in Italy and I think it was 5 euros for 2 hours and plenty of glasses of wine! Not to mention, you learn so much about wine in the process and about the harvest season. I also went to the Stiegl Brewery and took a tour/tasting there and I really enjoyed that as well. I learned a lot about the European culture on both of those occasions and would totally recommend it. 
 (5) Take touristy pictures
 And lots of them!! Who cares if you're pegged as tourist... enjoy it and get those pictures!!
 (6) Eat as much gelato as you can
Trust me, the gelati brand they sell in the States is great and delicious. But, I miss my rafealeo and fresh gelato on every street corner! If I had one regret about being in Europe it was not eating as much gelato as I possibly could. Trust me if you follow (2) you'll work it off no problem and your sweet tooth will always be satisfied. 
(7) And try new things
No explanation necessary for this one!

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