Things I Learned

I had to cut this off at twenty items, because it was getting out of control.  There are many, many more things I could add to the list.

1.  You can plan a trip, but it’s never going to be like you planned.
2.  An idea is far different from reality.
3.  Guidebooks are bullshit.  There’s no way anyone can do as much in a day as is suggested.  A ‘best of _____ in one day’ should be done over three, maybe four days.
4.  I have no desire to travel alone in another country.  Yes, I can do it here.  No, I cannot do it there.  And that does not make me any less of a person.  Being ‘cool’ and being ‘stupid’ are very similar.
5.  I am uncomfortable in places where I do not speak the language.
6.  Paris is overrun with homeless people, gypsies, junkies, and general beggars.  However, they are all very talented.  Some sing, some do chalk drawings, some play instruments.  They all speak multiple languages.  In summation, the homeless people in Paris are better educated than me, but they are still homeless.  I do not understand this.
7.  Paris is dirty.  Very, very dirty.  The best parts of Paris were dirtier than the worst parts of London.
8.  Amsterdam is awesome.  I would fly across the ocean just to go there again.
9.  I’m mean and judgmental wherever I am, even if I spent a lot of time and money to get somewhere.
10.  Spending a lot of time and money to get somewhere does not mean you will have fun.
11.  A trip and a vacation are two very different things.  I thought I understood this before–I didn’t.
12.  Just because you have the time, it does not mean you should spend the time.
13.  It is worth the extra money you’d spend to stay somewhere more centrally located.  You’ll spend less time and money on transportation.
14.  It is worth the extra money you’d spend to fly into and out of somewhere closer to your starting and ending points, even if they are different.  Our two day return trip made me want to die.  Eurostar from Paris to London, tube from St. Pancras to Victoria, an hour in line for left luggage, a day spent roaming about the city tired and wanting to go home, a cab back to Victoria, a train to Gatwick, an airport pod for ten hours, a flight to Dublin, an hour and a half layover, a seven hour flight to JFK, another cab ride to Port Authority, a bus ride to Allentown and a car ride home–I’d pay thousands of dollars to never have to do that again.  Thousands.
15.  Budgeting for a trip is stupid.  When you are there, and hungry, or the tube is down, or you are cold, you are going to buy food, transportation, and a sweater–no matter how much those things cost.
16.  A good husband is hard to find, but I clearly found one.  He survived this trip with me, for better and for worse.
17.  Blogging whilst traveling is not always the best idea.  Yes, it helps you remember the good parts.  But it also reminds you of the bad parts–over and over again, in a very non-productive way.  It is entirely possible that I would have had a very different trip, had the apartment not had wifi.
18.  I like to travel by train.  I do not like train stations.
19.  The English countryside is beautiful.  I imagine the French countryside is, too.  I like countryside.  Thus, I should not have planned a four-city tour.
20.  There’s no place like home.

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6 responses to “Things I Learned

  1. I have to agree that Paris is DIRTY! The worst I’ve seen. The people are rude, too. We did a day tour once, because hubby wanted to see the Louve. After riding around and “seeing” the Eifel Tower and Notre Dome in passing, we were to have some free time- and were going to go to the Louve. Guess what- the museum workers went on strike at noon! And what we mostly saw on that bus ride was PILES of garbage because the sanitation workers were on strike, too.

    I aslo agree that Amsterdam is a great city. If you like clean, not too “citified” cities, check out Oslo! It is almost pristine. Even the buses and trains are spick and span. The Scottish Highlands (including Inverness) are also great and soooo clean- even the small villages. But the absolute cleanest place in the world (that I’ve seen) is Sydney Austrialia. Definitely a “real” city, but spick and span!!!

    By the way- I love your list. It would be a great start for your book idea. I’m not going to let you drop that, by the way. It’s a great idea.

    • Interesting…Norway and Australia were at the top of our travel list–that is, before I decided I just want to sit in the woods within driving distance of my home for many years to come (don’t worry, I’m already over that desire, and will surely include both Oslo and Sydney on my ‘Next Trips’ list!) I cannot imagine Paris during any kind of strike–everyone was working when we were there, and it was bad enough!

  2. I’m relaxing in my hotel in Munich and thought I’d catch up on your blog…so glad I did! Great list…it’s funny cuz I was journaling on the train today on our way to Munich and started making a list I titled ‘Surprised the Heck out of Me!’ I thought I’d add to it throughout the trip and post it as a blog afterward. So far, what’s surprised me the most is how friendly my husband is to strangers…he’s not like that normally…now, he’s striking up conversations everywhere!

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