So as a follow up to all the things I missed about the good ole’ U.S. of A., here are some of the things I’m missing about Germany and Europe after being back.
German chocolate, and really this can include a number of European countries’ chocolate, is just better. Period. End of story. I can’t get on board with Hershey’s anymore, it’s just not the same.
When we would travel, I would always try to pick a hotel that included breakfast. Not only is it convenient, but the spreads that the hotels would lay out were always very delicious. It was an added treat we looked forward to when we were traveling. Most of the time the breakfast would consist of a wide array of freshly baked pastries and breads, butter, jams, nutella (hello!), yogurts, fruit, cold cut trays of meats and cheeses, and frothy cappucinos (or whatever sort of coffee drink you wanted). May not seem that special but I can assure you a fresh baked pastry is pretty spectacular.
The hands down best part of living in Germany was all the places we were able to visit. The size of Europe makes jetting off to another country for a long weekend a fun possibility. We knew our time in Germany was limited so we made the strong push to go and do as many things as our calendars and wallets would allow. Of course you can travel in the states, but here in California we could drive for hours and still be in California. There’s something a little more exciting about traveling abroad than staying in your own state or country. It also gave me a hobby to sit down and research places and develop itineraries. It was fun!
Germans love a good festival and are always looking for a reason to party. It seemed like every weekend during the spring and summer would have multiple fests in the area to choose from. There was always music, beer, wine, kiddie rides, and of course food! One of our favorite festivals was a culinary hike through the farmland. The organizers set up about a 5 km route and along the way placed 6-7 different stops where different vendors were set up selling different culinary and wine specialties. So you walk for a bit, then drink and eat, walk a little more, and drink and eat. Another one was a car free day on a 30 km stretch of road. We brought our bikes and biked along the route. Similar to the culinary hike, there were different food and wine booths set up all along the course. The perfect mix of athletic activity and food and wine!
5. Public transportation
While you can find public transportation in some places in the U.S. I find that it’s not as readily available or as widely used as it is in Europe. Here I drive everywhere. And if I go someplace else, we drive there too. Which means I always have to travel with my carseat, and that is a pain. I loved traveling without one in Europe and just knowing we would take the metro everywhere or walk.
6. Gelato shops everywhere
There’s never a bad time for a gelato stop. A little tip we learned on a food tour in Italy: if the gelato is neon colored and piled high in fluffy mounds-it’s made with a lot of artificial ingredients and pumped full of air. Look for gelato that is natural in color and does not rise above the top of the container. And my personal favorite flavor combo is pistachio and hazelnut, just in case you needed a new idea to try.
7. Atmospheric old towns
8. The overall experience.
The fun of being a new place, the excitement of journeying into the unknown, and being able to experience things I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.