Five of my Favorite Things in Europe
The Tube, Metro, Underground (aka: the train) - having that dependable transportation that could get us almost anywhere in the main cities was amazing. Learning the system was difficult at first, but as soon as I understood it, I felt like I could go anywhere.
Something about me, I love people watching (in a not creepy way). On the train is one of the most fun places to do that. In London, there was this one Chinese lady who would walk up and down the train and sing her song to someone who would give her coins. It was adorable. And this other time, I sat across from two men, one looked like Liam Neeson, and the other was a short dude with a thick caterpillar mustache. They were speaking French and talking about the Count of Monte Cristo (one of my favorite books).
Being on the train, even if it happened to be while I was lost… It gave me a chance to sit back and watch the world and the culture around me instead of worrying about things. It was beautiful. The trains were seriously one of my favorite places to be in Europe.
Tips included in your meals - instead of worrying about calculating the tip, it was nice to have it already included in the cost of your meal. I found this nice, because what I chose to eat, and what I paid for, was already within my budget… instead of having to order my food and calculate how much tip I would need to pay, to find out that I spent more money than I planned on.
The downside to this, however was having the choice to give a tip. I could not calculate the value of their service, the atmosphere, the food, and give them a tip over, under, or the normal tippage (is that a word?) based on those things.
Fruit Gelato - I have been craving this stuff since I got back (about 2 months ago) and I have thought of it almost every day since. Once I hit Italy I ate it once, maybe even twice a day. I started out with the dark chocolate gelato (they said it had no dairy, and I LOVE dark chocolate) and it was delicious. But since I am not a huge sweet/chocolate fan, I easily got bored of it, and stopped caring about gelato (a sin, I know). But one place I stopped at, I decided to have a fruit gelato. Understand, I hate sherbert, or any fruity flavored ice-cream of any kind. But I tried it anyway. I got a pineapple and a mixed berry, and the pineapple tasted like blended up pineapple, and the mixed berry tasted like freezer jam. It was the. most. delicious. thing. I. had. ever. tasted. From that moment on, fruit gelato all the way.
Hostels - My experience of this may be different than other people's experiences, because I went with a school tour, and our professors rented out the entire rooms of the hostel to fill with other students from our same college. However, I really enjoyed staying in hostels. Sure, some beds were super sketchy, some sheets smelled, and sometimes there was only one plug in the room. But that was a big part of the fun. It gave me an opportunity to get out and do things, because, knowing me… I would’ve probably slept a ton if I had a nice hotel to stay in.
Some hostels though were super cool. One had a kitchen where we could make our own food, and right next to it was a grocery store. It was so helpful in allowing us to save money! There were others that had bars (I didn’t use it, but it was fun to walk through it and see all the fun that the people were having in there), some had big lounge rooms/movie theaters. It was always fun seeing what the next hostel had in store.
Museums - Museums were definitely the highlight of my trip. I barely even scratched the surface of the Louvre, and I will probably see a little bit every time I return and visit Paris. Neue and Alte Pinakothek were so beautiful, as well as the Orsay, the Borghese (BERNINI!!) and many, many, many others. I spent hours and hours inside each of these museums, absorbing each piece of art, and admiring the history and the beauty, but I still haven’t seen everything.
Now, go to Europe! These are just a few things of many that await you over there.