Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I Learned on my Summer Vacation



PACKING
Rolling your clothes maximizes suitcase space
If you can only pack two pair of shoes, one pair must be cute
One carry-on per person makes the airport easier
One carry-on per person = a lot of ironing
Accessories are underrated- scarves rule
REI fashion is better for camping than urban areas
A small clutch handbag would have been nice
If your hotel offers laundry service, remember for the same price you can buy new undies
Carry a small Moleskine journal for travel notes and use the handy pocket in the back



DINING
Walk ten miles a day and you can eat all you want
Don't bother with the chocolate cake at Hotel Sacher in Vienna
It is possible to eat too much sausage
Turns out I like beer
If you pack a lobster print dress you must iron it, wear it, and order lobster
The waiters bring the check only after you request it
"Rocket" salad translates to arugula
Tipping is confusing- agree to over-tip


 GETTING AROUND
Berlin and London have public transportation nailed
Never jump on/off a bus when you can walk
Buy an Oyster Card for London's Underground and get a free IKEA plastic pouch
When traveling by train, check out the station the day before you leave
Mind the gap and look right
London taxi drivers earn 1100 pounds per year to cover their cars with tacky graphics
Find the U-2 station in Berlin and take a picture for Bono
Those tube escalators go way, way down




LANGUAGE
Don't worry- almost everyone speaks English
Unlike the French, Eastern Europeans enjoy your attempt to speak their language
Read the signs in the subway stations for a taste of popular culture
Smiles require no translation
Czech text is lovely to look at
German street names are unusually long
Brits speak a different form of English
Someone needs to invent a universal form for ordering coffee





SHOPPING
Cherish the solitary experience
Visit Harrods if only to ride the escalator and look up at the ceiling
Scarves make good gifts and they pack flat
Check out the window display at All Saints in Berlin
Walk quickly past American and stores and don't look back
Visit the local grocery store for a glimpse of real life
Appreciate Liberty of London's prices at Target




SEEING THE SIGHTS
If there's a public park, walk through it
If there's water nearby, sit next to it
Take on the big museums early in the day
Mitigate museum fatigue with a coffee/wine/beer break
When in Prague, limit your photos of the castle to under 20
Touch the Berlin wall and remember what it represented



AND FINALLY...
Set the security room lock unless you want to treat your maid to a peek at your left breast

12 comments:

  1. your post makes me want to leave tomorrow. One carry on bag - I would need help. We did Europe on $5. a day, back in the day. Your trip sounds more fun and I bet you got more showers. thanks for sharing your adventure and your views.

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  2. Hi Joanell! The one carry on bag required a couple months of thought...seriously! Was nice not to have to schlep too much luggage through the train station, subways, etc. I can't imagine $5 a day...really! That wouldn't buy a cup of cappucino today. haha

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  3. Loved your synopsis, Lori! Can't wait to plan our next trip... thanks for putting this together! :)

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, Jo! :)

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  5. Good on you for doing this - a great reference for future use. I'm a fan these days of carry on luggage cheaper & easier all round - makes any purchases a conscious decision rather than a whim.

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  6. Thanks, Jody! That is so true about lack of space creating a more thoughtful approach to spending. Well said!

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  7. Fun post and great pictures! So ten miles a day means I can eat whatever I want? I like it!

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  8. Yup! I can't tell you how many pizzas, fish and chips, desserts and more that we consumed. It's what kept us going, I guess. :)

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  9. So interesting! Lots of fun to read! Sounds like you did your homework before you left1

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  10. Thanks, Bev! My husband gets credit for the "real" trip research. My biggest concern was the challenge of one carryon a-piece. :)

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  11. Great tips. Except it reminds me of how long it has been since I have been on an international trip.
    Too. Long.

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  12. Thx Lynn! You'd better hurry up.. Those 400 year old buildings won't last forever. :)

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