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SCO Takes Over Europe One Country at a Time (Pics Included)

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by sco5123, Sep 19, 2014.

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  1. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    I quickly waved at the Icelanders;

    Schmoozed with the Dutch;

    Caught up with the English;

    Frolicked with the French;

    Spent time with the Spanish;

    Lingered with the Italians;

    Hobnobed with the Flemish;

    Mingled with the Germans;

    and entertained the Swiss.

    All on a dime.

    Watch me as I traverse multiple European countries! :faint:

    http://livingbreathingvegas.blogspot.com/2014_09_01_archive.html
     
  2. RedRiverRose

    RedRiverRose Low-Roller

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    Sco, I read your blog and it was fantastic. I can see why it's great to live in America but to experience other countries and their cultures proves interesting. Thanks for such an interesting, informative read.
     
  3. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Thanks RedRiverRose, it took about 2 days to write it all up. I do appreciate your reading. :)
     
  4. g8rb8k8

    g8rb8k8 Low-Roller

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    Congrats on passing your exam!!
    Another enjoyable read :) Looks like you had a fantastic time. I loved your description of the french (one reason why I'm not keen on visiting there LOL) and I totally understand the whole "guardians of amsterdam" because I've been caught in their wrath before....to the extent of being patted down ....in a little room, as they took out my sewing machine and a few other things in my carry on (was coming back from spending a few years in greece) and they took out every document/piece of paper/ credit card from my "document holder" and then just handed everything to me to strategically .... and quickly get packed back up so that I didn't miss my flight.
    I loved Germany....beautiful country, and my son said it best when I went to visit him while he was stationed there "you will love it...there's nothing to do" hahahah
    Good luck with your career
     
  5. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Hi Sco! Glad that you had a fantastic time in Europe. Many of your pictures reminded me of my trip last year, some of them from the exact same spot that I took pictures at (esp in Paris, arc du Triomphe, Eiffel tower, Seine, Louvre and Rome). Wish that I spent more time in Amsterdam but I was on a tour so only had an evening free. You missed the big bicycle parking structure in Amsterdam, near the canal. You also didn't mention about the ahem, red light district, nor the cannabis shops. You were lucky, I went in June and the weather is mostly cloudy and cool in the northern countries (Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland) and Paris so I also wasn't able to wear shorts. It did get warmer in Italy so I could dress down. I wished I had more time in Germany also.

    I agree with you on Paris, unfortunately they are a little rude to Americans. I thought they were just rude to me (male, single, etc) but I guess they are like that to most American tourists. Paris was also cold, grey and overcast and I didn't enjoy the city that much. Glad that you had great weather, your pics at the Eiffel tower looked awesome.

    I also liked the gelato in Europe and had a laugh with the pasta, in one city in Italy they were serving pasta al ragu (yup just like our ragu, it looked the same). Yes, you have to either take a tour or go prepay to get into the faster line at the Vatican. I was lucky, our tour was fast passed to get into the Vatican, Eiffel Tower, and Marseilles.

    Not sure if I would be a fan of Primark and I didn't visit the store when I was there.

    I wondered when I ordered a burger and fries why they gave me mayo, I thought that was for the burger, lol.

    I'm surprised that you didn't spend that much on your trip, guess next time I will have to "rough" it and go on my own without taking a tour.

    I also liked your home picture, before I went to Europe I stopped off in Washington DC. Actually I enjoyed visiting DC a lot more than many of the countries but it might be because I'm an American and can relate to our country's history.

    I'm getting ready for my next trip, instead of vegas I am travelling to japan and South Korea in 6 weeks (beginning of November). I'm going on my own so hope to save some money, tours cost a lot more for single people.
     
  6. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Thanks gr8rb8k8 (love the name)!! I really enjoyed it. Haha it's truly ironic how much I love France the physical place and just meh about the treatment or lack of hospitality in paris. Oh wow I did not know that this was a universal experience with regard to getting on the plane in Amsterdam. That is ridiculous. Now I understand them given the circumstances but it can put a little so-so taste in your mouth...especially since you could have missing your flight! I adored Germany really. What a funny quote!

     
  7. VegasGroove

    VegasGroove VIP Whale

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    Sco, I have to commend you on your adventurous spirit! What a blessing to be able to take such an extended trip, enjoy it, experience it and make it back to appreciate America. You truly have a story to tell! Thanks for posting!
     
  8. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Hi Makikiboy!

    How goes it? Thanks for reading dear. That is very interesting about how the pictures brought back memories in exact positions. Awesome. Yes, Amsterdam is so worth the time. It's simply charming. Funny about the red light and cannabis shops. I had viewed these places as a tourist the first time I had gone to Amsterdam so I had pretty much got it out of the touristy system. The red light is an interesting place that a tourist should see at least once. It's amazing how what you view in a city colors how you see the city, because I am not sure I even thought about the red light district while I was there this time and Amsterdam is well-known for it. As for the cannabis shops, I find them entertaining simply that they exist because they are like the equivalent of "bars" for natural drugs. It's an alternate reality in that regard. My experience of Amsterdam is more colored by listening to the people (they help me learn Dutch), enjoying the bike culture and taking in the beautiful sights. It's just a sweet, sweet place.

    Thanks on the photos!! I was extremely lucky when it came to the weather of the day that I went to the Eiffel. In fact the day before and after was also sunny. Only now do I realize how rare that is. I have postcard-like photos of the Eiffel (with the SUN). Yay!! I did most of my solo travel in mid to late June and it was COLD in the northern countries. How did I miss this in all my research? I felt a little duped. Enjoyable nevertheless. Italy was just straight up HOT. It was on-fire. I must have put my body through something major with the rapidly changing climates. Germany was still cold too. People were wearing full jackets, gloves and everything in LATE JUNE. No. I can not do that weather. No, I determined then I could not live there for any length of time.

    In fact, the first time I was in Paris during the winter, some parisians pointed and shouted from across the streets "Americana, Americana!" It was weird. American tourists in Paris might as well be bugs. It's sad to know it's universal. There were some very sweet people here and there....I wonder if they are Parisian natives. lol Paris is now officially my second favorite city in the world to visit after Vegas. The possibilities are truly endless where beauty, arts, fashion and entertainment is concerned. But it really hurts that's it's so downcast most of the time. So like Vegas, I would not want to live there. For Vegas I would not want to live there because it does not seem to livable and I want to keep it as a vacation spot. For Paris, the weather is simply too miserable... and sometimes so are the people. In and out for both of them.

    The gelato was a real treat. I just to be honest about the pasta. What a let-down. In fact a downer. I saved a good chunk of my money just for Italian cuisine and in the end I did not want to waste any more money on food in italy. I was actually hoping for alternative experiences with the pasta in Italy! I expected someone to tell me I was dead-wrong about the pasta in Italy and suggest some awesome restaurants. Seriously. Please no one tell me this is universal. that is just plain sad about the al ragu. Nice on the Vatican and others!! Next time I will definitely pre-pay. I can't wait. LOL about the fries/mayo. Definitely a culture thing. Primark is a place to get a quick-fix item or an in-the-meantime item or an inexpensive, small gift. It's a great gift store. It's also nice to look through to find interesting pieces. I love the store. I wouldn't market it as anything more. It's not revolutionary fashion. It's not top-quality stuff (although it once did have at least quality stuff---now, not so much). About 5 years ago I bought a solid bathing suit that is still in great condition (the likes of which are being sold in a quality stores for $100+). Most of the stuff now is like a short-term product. It's really sad. But I would buy some costume jewelry, lipstick (which is actually really good here), headphones or an adult onesie here! I am sure it will be ridiculously popular for women and girls once Primark hits the States.

    Thanks about the home picture. it represents a lot to me. I am in love with DC. When it comes to trips, planning is as fun as the trip itself. Know what you and how much you are willing to spend. For me thing gets rather detailed. Have so much fun on your upcoming trip. Plan well :).



     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  9. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Thanks so much Vegasgroove! It really centered me on appreciating what you have.
     
  10. wpete

    wpete High-Roller

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    Sco, great read as usual. All of your blogs flow nicely, making me feel like I'm there. Very enjoyable. Very happy that you were able to pull this off. When you mentioned doing Europe on a dime to us several months ago, I wasn't sure you would have been able to. Glad that you proved me wrong, that you had a good time, and that you came back safe.

    Now on with your life. But remember Post-school and career is not a death sentence for vacationers or continent conquering like you just did. Take time out of 'life' to enjoy life whether it's for a few days or even weeks.

    Can't wait for your next Blog.
     
  11. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    Awesome trip report. I knew you could do it.
     
  12. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Thanks wpete! I am so glad I can recreate the feeling. At times, I was definitely spending more than I intended so it's always good to have some cushion money. I had at least double what I initially budgeted in case, and I went over a few hundred. It's apart of financial management. I should have wrote that. So yes there was some sticker shock, especially for transportation in London, some restaurants and of course Ryannair (which i hope to never take again). But it can be done on the low. Yes, I am so happy to be safe and sound.

    Haha on the comments on life because it's true. Real life does seem like a bit of a death sentence, and I used this summer to get prepared for it. Hopefully I will adjust to the limited time i expect to have. Let me know where I can get weeks off without feeling guilty---I want that job. lol. I hope for my career to allow me the freedom you mention here. Thanks so much for reading.





     
  13. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Thanks Lola! Fun, frugal times. I will always remember this trip.
     
  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great report! I enjoyed watching the gifs too. Nice touch!

    And that price for 6 weeks??? I thought you did well in Vegas! I'd be cool with spending that price for 2 weeks there! To bad you couldn't find more food to blow you away (i have a feeling the g/f and I would have a similar problem...lol) Cool that you were in Germany for the WC final. If I would have been, I'd probably would have been pretty drunk. Lol

    Look forward to your next trip! Good luck in school this year! And choose your doctoral advisor wisely!
     
  15. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Thanks tringlomane!! I thought the gifs slightly strange but it has such a "I'm there again" feeling that I love it. haha I am glad they were cool after all! Besides Google Plus makes them automatically. Might as well put them to use. lol

    Before going, I made a list of how much I wanted to spend in each country and wrote what I wanted to spend the money on. For example, cuisine and the Vatican were what I want to spend money on in Italy and museums and scarves are what I primarily wanted to spend my money on in Paris. Museums are not super expensive ($10-15 range) and the scarves I wanted were about $7 a piece (I am wearing one of the scarves I bought in Paris in my Barcelona pics). As for shopping, Primark definitely scratched my retail therapy itch out there although I did window-shop some more expensive brands (finding few things worth the price). And with $70, you can get plenty of things at Primark. Food was a challenge because I mostly was underwhelmed. Mcdonalds in Amsterdam had a double cheeseburger for $5 a piece. Insaaane. I only typically eat once a day though so it worked. But the most important thing is to focus on the 3 weeks that I traveled solo rather than the 6 weeks total because I was with with family the other half of the time (so 70% of food and 100% shelter was already covered during the other half). So technically that means that you too probably would have made it with mostly the same amount of money in 2-3 weeks. haha on being drunk during the finals. At first i didn't even know why everyone was honking lol.

    Thanks for the well wishes and advice!

     
  16. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Ha ha, your comment on Amsterdam made me laugh. Yes, being from America we see all those movies that talk about the red light district and the cannabis shops. Unfortunately I really didn't get a feel of the city, it was overcast and eventually had a downpour so I couldn't really do much with the 3 free hours we had in the city. Wish that I could have visited the Anne Frank house or some of the places you visited but it was hard since I also was looking for dinner and didn't know what to eat. I tried walking around looking for something "Amsterdamish" to eat but nothing really interested me. Next time I think I will go on my own (no tours) so I can spend more time in the city (and other cities).

    I visited Europe last year at the end of May into the beginning of June. Yes Italy (Rome especially) was warm/hot but I was glad that I could wear shorts (our hotel had a daily weather board so I knew it was going to be warm - in the 80's). I knew it was going to be cool in the northern countries but it was darn freezing in Lucerne - We could see a lot of snow on the mountains and the wind brought the cold down into town. I had a jacket but it wasn't heavy enough so I was freezing much of the time.

    The food was interesting in Italy, guess we hear about Italian food so I expected more. The pizza's in many restaurants were pre cooked, they keep them in a fridge or freezer and then bring them out and reheat and crisp them in the ovens when you order them. Guess I expected them to be freshly made but like the pasta I was unimpressed. Yes I did enjoy my pasta meal (with wine) but I felt I could have had the same thing in other (including American) cities that were just as good.

    Glad that you still like Paris enough to be one of your fave cities. My visit to Paris and the way I was treated wasn't very positive. While I enjoyed the Eiffel tower, the arc, Marseilles, etc. it still didn't make up for the many negatives I experienced in the city. My next fave city is actually San Fran, I enjoy relaxing in the city, visiting Chinatown and fisherman's wharf (even though they are considered "touristy") and driving out to napa and Sonoma or driving down to Monterey.

    I still have to go back and visit the east coast, NYC, philly, and other cities in the area. I visited the east coast when I was 4 years old so I don't remember much. I was hoping that I would go back with a SO but since I'm still solo guess I will have to do it on my own.

    I'm a little afraid of my upcoming visit to korea and Japan, esp Korea. I get in around 8 pm, have to take an hour and a half train ride into Seoul so I have to find my hotel late at night. The problem is that they don't have English signs, all the signs are in Korean so it will be hard to navigate, let alone ask for directions (many don't speak English). I had to find a hotel that I could see from the street, many hotels are a block in from the main streets and in alleyways and have hard to find entrances. Using kayak and google street views I was able to find a hostel type hotel that was near a train station but I still have to plan what I'm going to do with 2 days in Seoul.

    I won't have much of a problem in Japan, so much to do and see in cities like Tokyo and Osaka that I have to actually make a schedule so I can see as much as possible. I have an extra day I can spend in Osaka, might visit Universal Studios Osaka (they have the new Harry Potter exhibits and rides)
     
  17. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    I overlooked this thread until today. What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing your adventures!
     
  18. Rumdranker

    Rumdranker Low-Roller

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