I'm excited to give you another peek into Anjali's travels. I still continue to have withdrawals from European traveling and this post helps me curb the craving of backpacking across "the continent" as it is referred to in all of my favorite British period dramas.
Hellloooo readers of Stamp in my Passport! Anjali here from over at From L&P to English Tea, and I'm so excited to be here today! Like you might have seen in the spotlight post that Jess posted recently, I love travelling, and have been incredibly blessed to have been able to go so many places. I've just returned home to New Zealand from England, where I was living for 2 years. During that time I was able to pop over into Europe a bit and do some travelling. I managed to get to Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, and France, as well as popping over the border into Wales and up to Scotland. Because that's a lot of travel in a small space of time, I learnt some things very quickly. I thought today I'd share with you 4 travel tips for when you go traveling around Europe.
Story: My family and I went on holiday in the south of Portugal for a week March/April of last year. Travelling with my family meant I didn’t really have to deal with anything. I just had to pack, and then follow my dad to the right places. Easy peasy.
Tip: Don’t travel with Ryanair, if you can help it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cheap and the people are super friendly. But it was a bit stressful, to be honest, because they don’t assign you a seat. Once you get in the aircraft, it’s every man for himself (or every woman for herself…). There’s no guarantee that you’ll be sitting with the people you are travelling with, and although it’s mostly clean and you end up getting to your destination…it’s not as fun.
Story: My dad had to go to Sweden for a work thing (he’s a University lecturer), and so I tagged along. We spent a few days in Orebro, and then a day in Stockholm, which is a great city, by the way.
Tip: Most people in Europe, I’m discovering, speak at least a little English, so you can get away with not knowing any Swedish. But we found it was helpful to have friends around who knew the language and could do all the communicating for us. It was faster and easier. However, if you don’t know people where you’re going, knowing a few words is always helpful, and I think it’s polite and a good thing to do. The word I most used overseas is ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’, so I reckon try to learn at least those two.
Story: Again, my dad had to go for a conference, in The Netherlands, specifically Amsterdam, so I went too. This time was just a super short trip; we only stayed one night, but had two full days.
Tip: If you’re travelling on a budget, check out the Youth Hostels. We stayed in a Christian youth Hostel and it was really great. It was right in the heart of Amsterdam, so it was easy to get everywhere. You by no means have to be a youth to stay there, nor do you have to be a Christian to stay there, it’s just run by Christians and has things like optional Bible studies etc in the mornings. If you’re not a Christian, please don’t let that put you off. The people were super friendly and the food was great. Breakfast was included, and I also had the opportunity to go on a city walking tour with some of the other people staying in the hostel. Hostels are great because they draw in people from all over the world. I talked to people from Canada, from Cyprus, from Malaysia, to name a few, but I was one from the furthest away (surprise surprise). Hostels are cheap, but clean and friendly, and I recommend them.
Story: My friend was over from New Zealand for a few months, and ever since we were 16 and took Classics at school we have wanted to go to Greece. It seemed like the perfect time to do so, so we went to Athens for 5 nights.
Tip: Take a friend. This trip was the first time I had really gone overseas by myself, without a member of my family who knew what they were dong (not including the flight from NZ to UK). It was also the first country my friend had been too, other than NZ and the UK. Because I was a bit nervous about the travelling and going to the right places etc, I had planned everything and knew exactly where we should be and when. But I can’t stress enough how awesome it was to have Roz with me the whole way. Yes, I could have done it myself, but it wouldn’t have been as calm and smooth. Having someone with you when you’re travelling is not only great company, but it’s someone to talk things through if something goes wrong, to have your back in busy streets, and to know that if you really get stuck, you’ll be stuck together.
So there we have it. Four tings I have learnt from travelling around Europe. Most of them probably seem obvious, but I guess I didn’t really think about them until afterwards. If you have travelled around Europe before (or anywhere, really) I’m sure you’ll have tips of your own…and I know that there are so many more. But if you haven’t, I hope that maybe my travel experiences have a) taught you something, b) made you want to travel and c) made you realise it’s not that hard.
Thank you, Jess, for having me here today! It's been a blast!