Hi friends! This blog will be super short and sweet (hopefully) because I’m really exhausted and have decided to reserve all of my thinking power for my day job lol. I’ll be posting a few random lessons learned while in each country and while in Europe in general. The next few weeks will have more detailed blogs on what I did in each country!
Lessons learned in Belgium: (#mairainBE)
Before arriving in Belgium, I knew that Belgium was well known for its beer, chocolate and waffles. Let’s talk about beer. During my time in Belgium I learned that Belgians are proud of their beer, AND FOR GOOD REASON. Belgian beer is hands down the best beer I have ever tasted. Not only is it super flavorful, but it is all also super high in alcohol content. Literally the lowest ABV (alcohol by volume) was 12% lol. I took pictures of the majority of the beer and wine that I drank so in future blogs I will talk about my faves! P.S. – I’m such a beer snob now lol.
I also learned what it felt like to drink absinthe and I learned a lot about it. Let me school you all. Absinthe is a distilled, HIGHLY alcoholic drink. It used to be illegal in the USA, it is now legal but it is not as strong as the absinthe in Europe…the absinthe in the USA doesn’t really give you a buzz lol. I learned how to take absinthe (will provide more info on future posts), and I also learned that once you take a shot of absinthe…your friends can smell the absinthe on you from feet away lol.
I learned about tapas and they are my favorite! Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. And it’s really cool because you just grab whatever looks good, and share with friends!
In Belgium, I made a lot of new friends from all over the world and I learned from my new friend who is from Spain, that in Spain instead of saying ‘okay’ you say ‘bale’.
From the same friend, I learned about the deliciousness that is ‘tinto de verano’ which is Spanish from ‘tint of the summer’. This is my new favorite casual drink, it is literally half red wine and half sprite and it is heavenly. This will be my new drink while I watch Pretty Little Liars lol.
I learned that eating in Germany is one of my favorite things to do, especially because the waiter comes around with a little platter of beer and just constantly drops off beer. It was so great lol.
I learned that the famous freeways in Germany where you can go super fast are actually REAL. We drove on it, and it’s funny because I consider myself a speed demon (check out my driving record and a fun story on my blog about driving a rental car in Montana lol) but that was terrifying. More details on the blog about my time in Germany that will come in a few weeks 🙂
Lessons learned in France: (#mairainFR)
I learned that a French coffee is coffee with brandy lol.
I learned what a hot mess it is to miss your flight lol. More hilarious details will be available in the blog about my time in France in a few weeks.
I learned that the garden behind the Palace of Versailles is the largest, open-air statue museum in the world. IT. WAS. ENORMOUS.
While taking the subway, I learned that some people come into the train just to yell and preach their opinions. I also learned that the majority of the people on the train just ignore them. I will say that it is terrifying to hear someone preach in another language because it sounds very threatening lol.
I learned that the famous love lock bridge in Paris is gone!! The locks had to be removed because there was too much weight on the bridge 🙁 we literally missed it by 6 months.
Lessons learned in Ireland: (#mairainIE)
I learned how whiskey is made, and a little more about how beer is made! I also learned that I am not a fan of Johnny Walker whiskey from Scotland lol.
I learned that a ginger and lime with Jameson whiskey is my new favorite drink. From the Jameson Distillery tour, I learned that there is no right or wrong way to drink whiskey…you just ‘drink it the way you enjoy it’. I loved this.
I learned that whiskey means ‘water of life’ in the Irish language lol. They are very serious about their whiskey.
I learned that an irish coffee is coffee with whiskey.
I learned that the word ‘honeymoon’ is said to have come from Ireland because Irish married couples would lock themselves up in a castle after getting married and drink mead which is made from HONEY and wine.
I met someone from Australia while visiting the Cliffs of Moher, and she told me that Australia is super high in illegal downloads because they get shows literally years after they are aired in the USA.
I know that there are very few things in life that make me just stop everything I am doing and really take in the moment. I learned that the Dublin Castle Gardens are breath taking. I literally sat there for a few minutes just taking it all in.
One super adorable thing that I learned in Ireland was that if you get the ‘full Irish breakfast’ literally anywhere, you get a newspaper. How cute is that? Lol I think I just find it adorable because I could just imagine a really old person getting their breakfast and newspaper hahaha.
I learned that in Ireland, people drive on the other side of the road!! It was so weird and a little scary lol.
Lessons learned in Europe in general: (#mairainEUROPE)
So if you travel to Europe (or any other country really) and you make any purchase, you will have to pay the tax on whatever item you are purchasing. And since you are not a citizen of said country, you really shouldn’t be paying any taxes, so what you should do (if you are going to spend a lot of money in that country) is save your receipts and ask for a ‘tax-free’ form. Then once you are on your way home, there is a place in the airport where you can give them your receipts and forms and you will get a refund! More info here! We didn’t do this because we learned about it a little too late 🙁 but I will for sure be doing this next time!
I learned that in Europe, nobody really ever gets carded. This was GREAT because I had my ID and passport in a little travel pouch that goes under your clothes so I wouldn’t get mugged and having to take out my ID would have been a huge hassle and I would have looked super awkward lol.
While in Europe, I tried all kinds of beers and kind of gravitated towards anything labeled as a ‘pale ale’ because I love IPAs in the states. Well, I learned that IPA and ‘pale ales’ in Europe are VERY different lol.
I learned that everywhere in Europe, if you are waiting for a bus you have to flag them down or they will just drive past you and ignore you lol.
I learned that in Europe they have a ‘reduced rate’ for youth which is anyone between ages 18-25 which was great because I got huge discounts everywhere I went!
One thing that was very different for me to learn, was that in Europe majority of public places will charge you to use the restroom.
One personal lesson I learned was how to place faith in other people. Every time we went to a restaurant, everything looked good or foreign so I just asked the waiter or my friends Maggie and David (who had been living in Europe for about 5 months) and I just took their word and ordered whatever they suggested. Most of the time, the food was great lol. This was a very hard lesson for me to learn.
Okay friends, that’s it for now. I wrote this blog super quickly so I’m sure I missed a few things but I will be super detailed in the blogs to follow. Feel free to check out my instagram for pictures that I took while traveling: #mairaTRAVELING.
I will be posting more pictures every Tuesday on instagram and will be updating the Traveling LBL with more pictures every Thursday. Stay tuned! Thank you for reading! Hope this helps any of you who plan to travel to Europe!
You can read more blogs on ‘Trips’ here!