My first visit to Europe was in 2002 with my then boyfriend of 13 years. The only plans we made for the trip was a list of the places we wanted to visit. This consisted of locations in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and England. It was an ambitious plan for the two weeks we had to spend there. With just backpacks and a loose itinerary, we boarded a plane and off we went. It was exciting and we were enthusiastic.
There are advantages to approaching travel in this manner. One being that you are not beholden to a planned schedule of events. We were able to arrive in a location and decide what we wanted to see and do on the fly. If we were enjoying ourselves and we wanted to stay longer, we were able to. Although this was also a challenge, as you inevitably want to stay longer once you are in a location because you quickly discover there is just so much more to see than you originally thought.
Another advantage is you are able to find those "road less traveled" locations that are less touristy and more authentic to the local culture. That was a goal of ours on this trip. We really tried to find these experiences in the places we chose to eat and stay.
One of the biggest challenges of the trip was having to find a place to spend the night. Since we made no advance reservations, as soon as we got to a location the first thing we had to do was find lodging. Sometimes this was easy and other times proved more difficult. We stayed mainly in rooms people rented out of their homes. This was a nice way to get that true cultural experience and the renters were friendly. In some of the larger cities, we stayed in small hotels. When both of those options failed us we opted for a hostel.
Getting from point A to point B was mostly done by train. The schedules are challenging to navigate but the views are amazing and make up for some of those bumps you encounter along the way. I loved that you would just be taking in these beautiful mountain scenes and then suddenly, all by itself, would sit a castle. There were also remarkable views of waterfalls and glaciers in-between mountain peaks. We did a lot of traveling through the Alps and the French and English countrysides on this trip. Traveling through the country was beautiful but anywhere you went in the Alps was truly spectacular.
I love to travel. For me it is an escape, sometimes a reawakening, often enlightening and inspiring. I hope you enjoy the stories of "my adventures." If I inspire you to have some of your own - all the better. Bon voyage!
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