I just love Looove LOOOVE being in Europe! It definitely is my happy place! Nothing soothes my soul more than spending my time learning about the different history and culture, eating the local food and the challenge of communicating with people who speak a completely different language than I do. There are so many things that I long for every time I’m back in the US and I rounded up a list of things that keeps me coming back to my happy place!
Train travel/ Public Transportation/ Walkability
I am so fascinated with the public transport system in Europe. Metro, rail, tram, cable car and even the good old bus system, they are all wonderfully thought of and interconnected that mobility is never an issue! I personally hate driving so to be able to independently plan and travel to 5 different countries in 2 weeks and visit villages and towns in between without the stress of driving is perfect for me! I also love that everything is within walking distance because I love to walk! I think it is a great way to truly explore a place, spot hole-in-the-wall type of places and discover unexpected views along the way.
And speaking of cable cars, let me talk about…
Hiking with a Purpose
In the US, my experience with hiking is you try to reach the top to enjoy the view down below and then you hike back down which is great! But in Europe, most hiking trails I’ve been to usually leads to something more! It could be a hotel… a restaurant… or a castle!!! (The latter absolutely feels like finally meeting your prince kind of daydream! Hmmm…Sigh). It definitely keeps you motivated to know that after 2-3 hours of walking, you can spontaneously decide to stay a night at the hotel or that you can have a nice hearty meal with a cold beer for the hike back down.
Going back to cable cars. In Switzerland and Norway, I noticed that the hiking trails have the cable car option to get to the summit which is very convenient if you’re short on time or if you want to straight up enjoy a nice meal with a view on the mountain top.
I do not only love castles but I’m OBSESSED with them! Nothing gets me more excited than passing by a castle while on a train or seeing one perched above a cliff overlooking an entire village! Isn’t that dreamy?!
To know more about the castles I’ve visited in Germany click here!
Historical Buildings/ Architecture
A moat under the Louvre Museum dating back to the time when Paris’ streets were only being paved and its walls being built in the 12th century. Castles, like the one in Prague, dating back to the 9th century. Patron saints buried in cathedrals consecrated after them. Old towns. Ancient walls and many more! Europe will never run out of fascinating stories from their cobble stoned streets to every bridge and alley and building you walk through.
To read about my trip to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina click here!
Another thing I miss a lot when I’m back in the US are the cafés lined up on the streets which you can find everywhere even in the small towns! I think they’re just lovely and quite convenient to have. It’s a great place to meet with friends and acquaintances. And as a traveler, a great place to stop by and recharge, to do people watching, to soak up the scenery or to just enjoy a traditional cup of coffee.
Aaaaand speaking of coffee…
It is an art! Actually, the food and wine and cheese and chocolates… everything is an art! From the way they’re prepared, to the way they’re presented and even the way they should be eaten… it’s beautiful! Food. Quite often they would have some historical origin or a recipe that has been handed down from generations. Every country or almost every region in a country have their own specialties. Wine. I never had a bad wine in Europe (so far) and I’m beginning to think it’s impossible to have a bad wine with centuries of wine-making practices, some even dating back to the ancient times like the wines of Santorini. I also love that some restaurants bottle their own wine which I try to bring home with me for nostalgic reasons! Beer. NOPE! I’m definitely not a beer person BUT I do make an exception when in Europe. I love how every person in every country I’ve been tell me they have the “best beer in the world” (or “the best vodka”) and they do say it with a lot of pride and passion! I’ll leave it for you to judge but so far I like all the local beers I’ve tried. Soooo Prost! Saluti! Na zdravi! Cheers to that!
In the morning I’m saying Bonjour and Merci Beaucoup in French speaking Nice, I hop on a train and 4 hours later I’m in Italian speaking Milan saying Ciao and Grazie. I love the proximity of the different countries and how unique they are in so many ways. Not only in the language, but the food, the culture, the way of life and the way the people are.