Europe is such a fascinating place and has been the source of so much of the technology, culture and language that shapes our world today! There may be things we believe about Europe that just aren’t so. One example is that croissants were actually invented in Austria, not France!
In the 17th century, wealthy merchants in the Netherlands started trading tulip bulbs on their stock market, similar to trading futures. This caused what we might call a “tulip bubble” that eventually crashed, causing significant hardship for the traders and investors.
The tiny country of Liechtenstein sent out 80 soldiers during its last military engagement in 1866, involving Italy. They must have made a friend in Italy during the event, as they had 81 soldiers return!
With so many fascinating countries so close together, we see lots of mingling of histories, cultures and groups. The Alsace region has shifted between France and Germany so many times that parents and children of consecutive generations often spoke different official languages.
Today many Europeans speak English quite well, making it easier on American travelers. It’s always preferred to learn a few key phrases in the language of each country that you will visit. Always learn how to say “please”and “thank you” in the local language!
With a little advanced planning, it is easy to use your cell phone and credit cards while traveling in European countries. You will likely find that your cell phone company offers a good texting plan that makes it easy to stay in touch with home very inexpensively!
Plugs and electrical voltages are different than in the US, so buy a good plug adaptor kit before your trip. If you will be taking something that uses significant power, especially to create heat, such as a flat iron or hair dryer, then bring a voltage adaptor that will work with the plug adaptors.
For many who need to eat gluten free or want to eat organic foods, Europe may be the place for you! Many people in the UK need to eat gluten free, so they really have that diet figured out!
Music is the international language! Connect with the locals by attending the free concerts offered in many European cities, such as the free concerts offered by the Berlin Philharmonic, or free concerts in many churches in Paris. Check them out!
Europe has its charms year-round. Spring and summer are very popular for lovely weather and the energy and excitement of many visitors from many lands. Fall offers the grape & olive harvests, which are fascinating to observe. Winter is considered off season, but can be a lovely time to visit at a slower pace and with less expense!