Top 5 Tips to Take with you to Western Europe
by Lily Tsen
Before you die, each person on this planet should experience Europe. I've been to eight European countries (France, England, Scotland, Italy, Netherlands, Brussels, Germany, Greece) plus Israel, but that's in the Middle East. Here are the highlights. Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket for this summer!
5 Dos in your Preparation to go to Europe
5. Bring Tylenol, Tums, or some kind of pain reliever-you'd never know...allergies, migraines, plane anxieties, or heartburns-you can never be too cautious.
4. Carry an international phone card with you because it's such a pain running around and trying to find a place that carries them when you're on vacation (you get a much better deal in the U.S. since you know all the right places to get them!)
3. Collect your friends' correct mailing addresses if you offered to send them postcards. Also, keep the address box handy because you'd want to mail the postcards out at the first sight of a mailbox-anything could happen to them when you're traveling (rain, food stains, hostel rats, mere forgetfulness)
2. Purchase travel books with detail history lessons-if you're not going to Europe for the rich history and ancient monuments, why bother?
1. Buy Euros at the lowest rate before you go abroad-do research in the U.S. at places such as Thomas Cook or various banks
"Foreign" Films to Consider Before Going to Europe
* La Divorce (Paris)
* Roman Holiday (Rome)
* Gladiator (Rome)
* Sex and the City, Season 6, Episodes 19 + 20 (Paris)
* XXX (Prague, Czech Republic)
5 Don'ts in Rome, Italy on a Romantic Getaway
5. If the roasting chestnuts on the streets smell tempting and you think it's worth a try of taste, don't be lured to the cheapest bidders. A few cents won't make any difference-just pay a little extra for higher quality chestnuts.
4. If you were at the Trevi Fountain with your partner and you don't want to be forced into buying a bundle of roses, don't make eye contact with the solicitors with "charity roses."
3. Don't expect to be served plain tap water at restaurants. Practically every place serves rip-off bottled mineral or sparkling H2O (which turns bitters in room temperature just like that).
2. If you traveled with your partner of an opposite sex, don't stay at the International Hostel (they are separated floors and rooms for es and females).
1.Don't eat mushroom (a.k.a. funghi) and spinach pizza five meals in a roll-you'd pay for it, I promise you.
5 Dos in Rome During Winter
5. If you haven't already, go watch Gladiator before you go to the Coliseum (you'd appreciate the historical place a lot more having seen the glorious victory between Maximus and Commodus). If you had, it doesn't hurt to watch it again!
4. Buy a new coat in one of the small clothing shops-you won't find the same quality matched with decent prices in the U.S.
3. Gelato! Gelato! Gelato! You HAVE to try the Gelato! Be fearless and try the most bizarre-sounding flavors-you'd be surprised how much you'd like them.
2. Pack an extra light sweater in your bag-it may look nice and baking during the day, but at nightfall, you'd want to enjoy the nightlife without huddling down in a street corner.
1. Wake up early in order to catch the features at the local museums! Most of them close around noon, 2pm, or at the latest 3pm. If you're a late-riser, by the time you catch some breakfast or lunch, say "bye-bye" to the Sistine Chapel.
5 Dos in Athens, Greece (pre-Olympics)
5. Expect to find yourself to be one of the few people on the streets (other American tourists, of course) dressed in jeans and sneakers, and everyone else high heels and dark slacks.
4. From the outer appearance, you may think there's nothing to do there, but just start at one place-the one and only Acropolis, ancient Greek ruins. After a couple of hours touring old Greece, take the downhill path that leads you to new Athens (with modern shops, art displays, and European cafés!)
3. Try the baguette sandwiches, sold by the local chain fast-food stands! If you're on a low budget, stock up on pastries and take them out of your bags for an occasional snack. They have assortments of miniature pizzas, bagel sandwiches, sub sandwiches, Danishes, etc for an equivalent of $1-2 each.
2. Are you a salad person? American Greek salads can't even compare with authentic Greek salads in Greece!
1. There is nothing in the world like a visit to the various Greek isles-not Jamaica, not the
Baja, not even Bali!
Lily Tsen loves to travel!