…Mostly about food!
- ) The European lifestyle is so relaxed. Things don’t open till 11, big stores close around 7 or 8, and some stores are closed Tuesday and Sundays. Now that’s the life! I now know why Dubliners and maybe other Europeans are so happy all the time. They’re not stuck at work all day.
2.) The bread and croissants are amazing. Mike makes some pretty banging bread (see here for some examples), but the Europeans really know how to do it. I think the one thing that amazes me is that it’s good for more than 2 days even when you don’t put it in a ziplock baggy. What is this trick? There were several days that Mike and I just bought a 1-2 Euro loaf of break and got cheese or meats to go on it. Probably one of the best ways to save money while traveling abroad too!
3.) Guinness in Ireland is better. I know a lot of people say this, but it really is true. I feel like the Guinness in the states is heavy and thick, but in Ireland it’s light and refreshing…even though there’s still the infamous foam. The tour of the brewery is also awesome. The view from their sky bar is breathtaking. You can see everything in Dublin and you get to enjoy a pint of Guinness. 4.) Never say no to an Irish Breakfast. It’s the most filling breakfast you’ll have. Eggs, sausage, a roasted tomato, mushrooms, their version of bacon, and rice pudding (it doesn’t look like rice pudding though). You’ll be full till about 4 PM after you eat one of these babies.
5.) Drink the Cappuccinos. If you can’t tell, we were traveling on a budget, so the best caffeinated drink to have was a cappuccino. I think I had a cappuccino the size of my face for 2 Euros. And, they were delicious every time. You know it can be a hit or a miss with coffee. 6.) Definitely try the fries and Belgium waffles in Brussels. The fries were the best I ever had and if you know me, that’s a big thing to say. I’m a huge advocate of BBop’s fries and I didn’t think anyone could ever top them, but man, oh man, the people in Brussels did. They were so crispy and crunchy on the outside, the most perfect golden yellow, and the sauces on top were amazing. Does anyone have a recipe for a good andulouse sauce?
The waffles were also great. They were very sweet and I do think they’d be the best for a chicken and waffle combination. It almost tasted as if they lined the pan with sugar before pouring in the batter, because you could taste sugar granules in every bite.
7.) See all the big Paris touristy spots in one day. Granted we didn’t really go inside all the big attractions, but we did see everything in about one day. We saw the Eiffel Tower (even a couple renewing their vows right under it), Sacré-Cœur at Montmartre, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Moulin Rouge, The Latin District, Champs-Élysées a Christmas Market, The Louvre, Musée de l’Armée, and more.
8.) The architecture. In NYC everyone always says don’t look up because then you’ll look like a tourist, but when you’re in Europe you have to! You’ll miss out on some of the most beautiful architecture and paintings if you don’t. It was always a treat to see the details in the ceilings, the cornices, and doorways.
9.) Use the public transportation and buses, but research it beforehand. We stayed in great locations for both countries we had overnight stays in, but we did you public transportation quite a bit and it definitely saved us money, and we met some nice people as well. The city bus from the Dublin airport to the city center was about 3.19 Euro whereas the shuttle was about 9-13 Euro. Granted it’s not too much, but every Euro counts, especially if you love food and you’re buying souvenirs. 10.) Just wonder. Mike and I didn’t really set plans for anything and it was the best thing to do. We had places in mind to see, but not scheduling everything out was so relaxing. If you’re like me and want to be on time for everything, I’d highly recommend traveling this way. There were so many amazing things that we would’ve never seen if we planned our every move. One of my favorite things about our trip was just walking around trying to find graffiti. The art scenes in Europe are so different and awesome!