30 Random Things That 12 Days in Europe Taught Me

Venice, Italy  2014.

Venice, Italy 2014.

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.
28. Macaroons…Paris…delicious!
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!

Lists My Travels

Musical Monday: The Walker

Fitz and the Tantrums
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.

music Musical Monday My Travels

Musical Monday: Songs People Might Not Expect Me to Like

Ever since I was young I have had a wide music taste. I like all sorts of bands, singers and musicians. I can appreciate music on a variety of levels. Really all it comes down to is do you like it or not? Who cares what genre it is, listen to what you like!

I have to admit though, I am a rocker. I grew up listening to classic rock, rock and 80’s bands. My parents always had music playing! We would listen to BonJovi, Journey, Aerosmith, Metallica and many more. But I also have an older brother who, listens to a ton of music but, got me into a type of music I didn’t think I would ever like…metal (and sub-genres). He had scary posters of Slipknot and Mudvayne on his wall and he listened to these songs that just sounded like screaming (and then there was the whole pig squealing thing…I don’t know) but then I realized that it wasn’t all yelling. Some of these bands have unbelievable musicians and really powerful lyrics, with not only strong vocal chords for screaming but really good singing voices.  A lot of people find this music offensive or scary or depressing…for some, it probably is exactly that, but I’m here to tell you today that I like it….not all of it, but a considerable amount. I don’t enjoy a song of constant screaming, there are some songs like that and I don’t know how these singers still have a voices. A lot of these bands mix it up with some of what might sound like screaming and then some “regular” singing too. They provide great music particularly for when your working out, but maybe that’s a personal preference of mine.

The following five songs are by bands I appreciate for different reasons, some are on the tamer side of “metal” but all of them have been classified somewhere under genres or sub-genres including: progressive metal, progressive rock, metalcore, deathcore, screamo, post-hardcore, metal, alternative and punk….don’t let these scare you away, really, this doesn’t necessarily mean Satan worship or dark lyrics…I won’t lie sometimes it does (more so with goth metal, death metal, black metal, and blackened death metal…I know, it’s confusing), but the point I’m getting at is no matter what the subject matter and no matter what the genre says it is, there are good songs and really talented people out there.  These songs are in order, of what you might call intensity of sound, from lowest to highest. Subject matter varies, but all of them have some sort of message or story as well as interesting musical progression. Give ’em a shot if you would like!

City of Angels by Thirty Second to Mars

In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 by Coheed and Cambria

Can You Feel My Heart? by Bring Me the Horizon

 Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail by A Day to Remember

To Play Hide and Seek with Jealousy by Famous Last Words

music Musical Monday

There's Nothing Like a Dive Into Good Music

In honor of National Poetry Writing Month and my most recent study music, another poem based on songs titles.
A friend of mine recommended Lake Street Dive to me a few weeks ago, I can’t get enough. Lake street Dive is what you might call Indie Pop, Jazz or Soul. The band consists of Rachael Price (lead vocals), Mike Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums). Check our their music and much more here: http://www.lakestreetdive.com/. Below is a poem I wrote using the song titles of their 2011 album.
Don’t Make Me Hold Your Hand, Ellijah.
I Don’t Really See You Anymore.
I may be Miss Disregard,
but My Heart’s in the Right Place,
you’re My Speed like staying in the lines
but I never loved you, or Henriette.
It’s Funny Not to Care,
you and the Neighbor Song
Got Me Fooled.
Even though We All Love the Same Songs,
when you say Hello,
I’ll say Goodbye!
I highly recommend their most recent album Bad Self Portraits as well!

Enjoy a few of my favorites!

You Go Down Smooth

Rabid Animal

Neighbor Song

Rich Girl, Originally by Hall & Oates

Check out my last song title poem using Katy Perry’s album Teenage Dream here!

music Poetry

Song Title Inspired Poetry: Teenage Dream

A poem inspired by the song titles of Katy Perry’s album “Teenage Dream” released in 2010. I have found this is an interesting way to create a story, it could turn out in a number of ways depending on an artist’s style, genre, or album theme. This technique made me write and think in a whole new way! Enjoy!

Last Friday Night,
I had a Teenage Dream
about The One That Got Away.
There were California Girls
and an Extraterrestrial Peacock.
Baby, you’re a Firework, but
Who am I Living For?
I’m like a Pearl with a Hummingbird Heartbeat
as I Circle the Drain.
This is Not Like the Movies.

"Teenage Dream" Album Cover, 2010

“Teenage Dream” Album Cover, 2010

“Teenage Dream” Single Album Cover