1. European lifts (or elevators) use 0 as the ground floor, anything above is a positive number, anything below is a negative number…makes more sense than G and B, really.
2. Coffee Shops in Amsterdam do not sell coffee…
3. In Germany, particularly Munich, when ordering a beer, 1 liter is a normal serving.
4. …Where you should also never order a Radler (a shandy), unless you want to be made fun of, especially you men, sorry.
5. The word pickpocket is the same in every language. Wallets in front pockets, hands on your purses!
6. Tequila is much better with cinnamon and an orange slice, as opposed to salt and a lime.
7. Always have your hotel address written down to show a taxi driver.
8. Sometimes…you must pay to use the public toilet.
9. Sometimes…there are Italian men outside the restroom taking money for you to use the toilet when it should actually be a free toilet experience…beware of these tricky people.
10. Austrian Schnapps are not like the Schnapps in the States…they’re stronger.
11. White Water Rafting is an amazing experience, even if there is a torrential downpour.
12. Think of yourself as a traveler, not a tourist.
13. If you need a masquerade mask, go to Venice.
14. Learn to say “Thank you,” “Please,” “Cheers” and other basic phrases in the local language…especially, “Do you speak English?”
15. There are lots of people who sell fake bags, glasses, and other products randomly on the street.
16. A coach is more than just a bus.
17. There are Australians…everywhere.
18. Bread, slices of assorted meats and cheeses…classic breakfast.
19. Italian rap karaoke is super entertaining.
20. The game “every time you see someone riding a bike, take a drink” in Amsterdam, is a death sentence.
21. Service stops in Europe are much more elaborate that the ones in the U.S.
22. You want leather? Florence is your answer.
23. On occasion, a seagull will attack and kill a pigeon in Rome…or maybe that was just a one time thing…
24. There are gypsies…there will always be gypsies.
25. Europeans listen to a wide variety of American music.
26. You will stay up late and you will get up early because you only have so much time in each place!
27. Validate your subway ticket to avoid falling up a down escalator.
29. Don’t think too much, experience and embrace every taste, smell, sound, touch and sight!
30. 12 days is not enough time in Europe!
Have you ever heard a song on the radio and within seconds you remember a time in your life; because consciously or unconsciously you have associated that song with a particular moment, event, or person? This can be a powerful experience, why do you think people come up with engagement songs, wedding songs, class songs, etc. …because now whenever you hear that song you are reminded of the day you got married, the people you graduated with or the great memories you have from that time in your life!
It really is a brilliant idea, especially if you are a very music inspired person like myself. Say you have a project you’re working on or a 30 day challenge or maybe a week of vacation, why not pick a song to start your day with? Relate that song to what you’re doing some how or at least make it a song you like and after that period of time is up, every time you hear that song, it will remind you the success you had, the memories you made or the people you met.
I am lucky enough to have a song that will always remind me of my 12 days on a European Discovery! On my trip with Contiki Holidays, my awesome Tour Manager chose a song for our group of 49 travelers to associate with our incredible trip. She called it our “Day Song.” Each day, even if it was 7:00am, the first song we listened to on the coach was “The Walker” by Fits and the Tantrums. Which really was perfect for us because not many could keep up with our rhythm during those 12 days! As days passed we began to memorize the words, sing loudly along and even dance along. There were nights we would be out dancing at a club or at a bar and the song would come on, all of us would just go crazy! Every time we hear that song a variety of memories will rush through our brain…
Our adventure through the Red Light District, during a power outage in Amsterdam
The Beer Steins and Cuckoo clocks of St. Goar
Mike’s Bike Tour of Munich with Matt and Chris
White Water Rafting through the mountains in Austria
The Gondola’s of Venice
Exploring the ruins of Rome
Dancing the night away at the Space Electronic Disco in Florence
Travelling to the top of Mount Stanserhorn in Switzerland
Drinking wine and gazing at the beautiful lights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
and the list goes on!
At first it was just a song, but by the end of the trip it was a part of us. It was, and will now always be, a series of unforgettable memories and moments with a group of incredibly unique and amazing people.
This past Summer I had the pleasure of having an internship in the wonderful city of Boston. This city is full of history! Whether you’re talking about the history of our country, the history of art, the history of architecture, the history of the 80s sitcom Cheers…or perhaps the history of Mark Wahlberg. It’s all there! Boston has been the scene of several key events in our country’s history including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunkerhill. Boston is also the home of the United States’ first public school (1635) and the first subway system(1897). And, though I am a Detroit Tigers fan, how can we forget the year the Curse of the Bambino was broken, when the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series! All of these events of history have played a part in our lives, whether it was in joy or pain.
One year ago today Boston experienced it’s most recent pain, the Boston Marathon bombing. At 2:49 pm EDT, on April 15, 2013 Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets broke out in fear alerting others of the tragedy. Three people were killed and an estimated 264 others were injured that day. The bombs exploded about 12 seconds and 210 yards (190 m) apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street in downtown Boston.
Arriving in Boston in June of 2013, I found that the pain and fear had turned into courage and faith, with a community of support and remembrance. A beautiful memorial was created where the incident occurred. There were fences, trees, benches, posters, and more decorated with everything from flags, hats, shoes and clothing to stuffed animals, books, ribbons and notes. Though an unfortunate and an awful happening, it was amazing to experience the togetherness of a city. Everywhere you looked someone was wearing or selling a “Boston Strong” t-shirt. Companies, organizations and individuals all over the city were displaying the blue and yellow ribbons of their Boston Strong support.
A breathtaking photo series was released last week where “Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing send messages of hope…” Please check it out, it’s truly inspiring. It’s events like these that remind us to be thankful for everything we have, everyday, even if we don’t think it’s much! We are lucky to have our health, our family, our friends and the opportunities that we do!
My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all of the those affected by this tragedy. Stay Strong, Boston Strong!