How to Pick the Countries for your Tantalizing and Exciting European Vacation
(note: this blog post was updated December 2018)
Europe is a big place, full of exciting destinations and amazing food. Brochures and tour companies ply great pictures of incredible destinations that tantalize and overwhelm. It’s enough to distract and overwhelm you. To build your trip, you have to start with the intrinsic places of your life and build a trip from there. Here are three tips to start planning your exciting and tantalizing trip to Europe.
Czechoslovakia Is Now the Czech Republic
First, think about some of the first countries you knew about as a kid growing up in the United States. Beyond the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, what country is the first one you remember learning about?
Kernels of desire get planted early in life. Today, I give a shout out to Mr Watson, my fifth grade teacher at Skyline Elementary in San Diego. For a presentation assignment, we had to pick a country in which to learn about and present it to the class. It was 1977, and Czechoslovakia highlighted the news with great ice hockey and a nuclear meltdown. Pronouncing the country’s name was fascinating enough for me, and they also had a great historical story. It cemented in my heart as a place to visit, so Steve and I picked it as our first stop on our western Eastern Europe trip.
Nothing Says Hungary like Goulash
Perhaps your ancestral roots need to be explored? Here’s your second tip. For our trip, we went into our genealogy and dragged out a map to build the rest of our trip. Steve’s family comes from Krusco–according to the Ellis Island ship’s manifest–and we placed that somewhere in Hungary. Knowing nothing else about the country except for Hungarian goulash, Budapest jumped onto the list.
My family emigrated from Bohemia, Germany. Knowing that Munich might lead some clues to the family treasures, we dropped a pin on Munich. Now with Prague, Munich and Budapest making a nice triangle, we wondered if we could add a fourth destination just for fun? The map held the clues.
Viola, Violins, and Vienna
The third tip to planning a tantalizing and fascinating trip to Europe is to let things happen. Have a rough itinerary, but allow for spontaneity and adventure to happen. What’s between Munich and Prague? Why, Vienna, of course. “Why not?,” I ask.
With a Tantalizing Itinerary, the Planning Begins
Alas, the geography determines we’ll start in Budapest, drive to Prague by way of Krusco, and then rail it to Vienna and Munich. It’s enough of a guideline to get started. Thus, our tantalizing trip to Europe got planned first by reviewing some early country memories, then we reviewed our genealogy, and we finished our plan with a bit of spontaneity. How will you start planning your amazing European vacation?