Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reflections on our trip to Central Europe

It's been four days since we got home from our trip to Central Europe. I'm over my jet lag; that means I am sleeping until 7:00 a.m. as usual, and going to bed at my regular time, and my energy level is back to normal.

Here are some of my learnings from our trip to Central Europe:
  • If you're visiting seven countries and have five currencies, this technique works pretty well: when you're done with a currency, you stop at a gas station market near the border and spend all the coins you can. Once you're across the border, you go to a bank and trade the currency bills from the prior country for bills from the current country. Ice cream bars, drinks, and cookies are good things to spend the coins on. 
  • If you're visiting seven countries and a different language is spoken in each of them, learning "thank you" in each language is really hard, especially if the various versions of the word are pretty close. 
  • You are very grateful that in all eight countries you visit, you can find people who speak English.
  • It's easy to get all churched out or all architectured out, but the history of a place is always interesting.
  • Being on the water is a special pleasure, whether at night on the Danube or in the afternoon traveling to your island hotel.
  • You need to pay close attention to your feet when you're walking on cobblestones.
  • Public transportation is a fabulous thing in cities.
  • If you wash your clothes in the sink in your room they take at least 36 hours to dry in the room but only about 24 if you hang them outside in a corner of the balcony. Or you might decide to take the subway, with a transfer, to get to a laundromat. Or you might walk a mile to get to one. 
  • Pictures taken with an iPhone are just as good as those taken with an actual camera.
  • Your iPhone is limited if you don't have international service or wifi or battery life. Usually you can find someone close by who is willing to help you out.
  • If you walk five to seven miles a day, you can eat gelato for lunch and whatever you want for dinner and still fit into your clothes.
  • It's better when you don't have to share a seat on the bus.
  • Some people in your tour group are more interesting than others.
  • There is no greater asset than an outstanding tour guide.
  • You can usually squeeze into even the tiniest shower, but if you bend over to pick up the soap you dropped, you may shut off the faucet with your butt.
  • If you sleep with the windows open, you get to enjoy the noises of the night.
  • It is good to skip a group event every now and then to have some alone time. 
  • You get a better understanding of a refugee crisis if you walk among refugees in a train station.
  • Gypsy children are beautiful.
  • Once you've traveled to a place, and you read about it in the news, you can see something beautiful about it in your mind.
  • You return home grateful for a roof over your head and enough to eat.
  • You are especially grateful for the lessons and surprises of travel.


DJan said...

These are simply wonderful observations. I laughed at the tiny shower escapade, but nodded my head in agreement about how different the news looks after you have been there. So glad you're home safe and sound! :-)

Terra said...

I like your list, some practical and some funny like the shower story.

Meryl Baer said...

Interesting list. Glad you had a wonderful trip.

Bonnie said...

love your trip journal and your reflections on it. I just know you'd be someone I'd enjoy meeting some day! Welcome home.

Linda Reeder said...

I had experience with that shower in our budget hotel in Rome.
Your list made me laugh and nod my head. Been there, done that.
There is nothing quite like first hand experience in a place to make the news meaningful. Second best is following along vicariously with someone else who is there.
Thanks for posting while traveling and taking us along. And as always, I love your list of learnings.

Olga Hebert said...

I just love your reflections posts! This one made me smile. And want to travel again.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a worderful list -- both funny and insightful! I've loved reading about your impressions along the way during your trip!

Janette said...

Great list!
I would love some reflections on the refugee crisis. I know the news always goes for extremes. What can be done?

Perpetua said...

I've just managed to catch up with all your trip posts and have appreciated them very much. Your list is full of insights, big and small.

Eileen Hopkins said...

Love you observations and insight. We are heading off to Europe this winter for a trip through three countries and then popping over to North Africa for another few weeks, a few days in Paris and then home. Hoping I have the ability to write a list like yours when I return!