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Europe Travel Wisdom - part 1

  • The Sistine Chapel is highly overrated. You could get a sore neck with all that looking up.

  • Scotland's highland hairy coos must not be missed. You will not find a more attractive cow. Carry apples and carrots while traveling.

  • Try the haggis in Scotland. It's quite good, somewhat like a savory blood sausage. Avoid reading the list of ingredients.

  • Hire a local guide to walk the Medina in Fez, Morocco. It's a fascinating labyrinth of shops and personalities, and cannot be done on your own.

  • Contrary to advertising, no maps are available at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The tour books lie. Get one ahead of your trip.

  • The simple meal of prosciutto and melon in Tuscany is shockingly good. After my 1st taste, I uttered "oh my god."

  • English fish and chips should be avoided at all costs. No taste whatsoever. Go for the Shepard's Pie instead.

  • When in Prague, see if you can link up with the local guide, Jamila. She was a student activist during the Prague Spring of '68 and will offer compelling stories, if asked.

  • You can get the best ham and cheese sandwich ever at the little stand at the Trocadero in Paris. The mystery sauce was overwhelming.

  • Don't bother with umbrellas in rural Scotland or Ireland. They will just blow away.

  • When experiencing the gorgeous tulips at Keukenhof Gardens, don't forget to take in the oh so pleasant odor of the hyacinth.

  • Walking through Vienna is most difficult. Street names are at least 16 letters long, all ending in ...strasse, and abbreviated mysteriously on the short street signs such that many seem similar. When hopelessly lost, look for an elderly Brazilian woman to graciously help you out.

  • The deep-fried cod, kibbeling, in Volendam, Netherlands is exceptional, even if you don't like fish.

  • Italian hotel toilets are complicated. Pressing the button on the wall adjacent to the toilet is useless. The only flushing solution discovered was two open-handed karate chops to the wall button where the first served as a primer and the second was the coup de grace yielding a spectacular effect.

  • When the Eiffel Tower gypsy girls approach you with a scam to sign a petition and ask if you speak English, just reply "no, I don't speak English, but that Japanese family behind you does." Don't forget to point.

  • The schwag in Amsterdam cannot be under advertised, just tread carefully.

  • Lisbon is under reconstruction.

  • A tour of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is a warm and serene experience.

  • There's not much to do or see in Bratislava, but try the tasty parsnip soup and pass on the deer steak with raisin sauce (reminds me of mom's bohunk kidneys and rice).

  • Avoid Ireland's primo tourist trap, kissing the Blarney Stone. 12 euros to enter. Excruciating walk up 120 steps. To gain the gift of enlightenment you must lie on your back, grab two overhead bars to pull yourself over a ledge, then do a pull-up to get your lips to the stone. Think of the wheezing tourists there before you. Instead, try the nearby Blarney Woolen Mills to pick up souvenirs like a Book of Kells silk tie or a Blarney Merino wool serape.

  • Chocolate croissants from Pierre Hermes, Paris are the best. However, $1400 for a bath towel at Hermes in Paris is ridiculous. The tuxedoed doorman should have been a giveaway.

  • The much advertised Nine Streets shopping district in Amsterdam is nine streets of boredom, unless you have deep pockets.

Posted by
22 posts

For the record, ANYTHING at Pierre Herme is the best - I had some jasmine macarons there about 15 years ago, and I still dream about them...

Posted by
1871 posts

The Sistine Chapel reminds me of DoodleArt from the 1970's.

Posted by
4368 posts

You've been eating the wrong fish and chips. As us Brits on here keep repeating, DON'T eat fish and chips in a pub or restaurant, the best ones are from a proper chippy and should be liberally doused with salt and vinegar (or gravy if you're up North).

Whilst I acknowledge your list is somewhat tongue in cheek I should point out that cows should not be fed, they are fed by the farmer who knows what they are eating and you don't know who else has fed the animals. Too many apples can cause acidosis which can be fatal. The advice not to feed any domestic or farm animal is good advice.

Posted by
36 posts

The one about the Viennese street names reminded me of my trip to Germany wondering why so many streets were named "Einbahnstrasse" and looking for them on the map, until the light suddenly dawned about what that meant. But that's nothing compared to navigating in Hawaii -- is this the intersection of Kahuluikaimakai and Kuluo, or am I at Kamainahakamai and Kolua?

Posted by
4888 posts

Some of this is pure Bravo Sierra as we say in the Army.

The Sistine Chapel is the most amazing art in the World. I didn't want to leave and the first time that I saw it with my family, my 7 year old son that generally hated art museums was so in awe, he wanted me to explain it all. I had a guidebook and tried.

Some of the items do make some sense, but not sure who put this together.

Posted by
12358 posts

Agree that Vienna is easy to walk around and very easy to get around using the combination of trams and the U-Bahn lines.

Not all streets end in .....straße , some have signs ending in ".......gasse."

Posted by
4998 posts

I just looked up the Sistine Chapel. Wasn’t hard, and it didn’t hurt my neck. Wikipedia says it’s in the Vatican. Something about paintings, frescoes.

Posted by
3533 posts

Lisbon is indeed impaled on many construction cranes. However, I can see no evidence that the plans include erecting adequate street signs. In the core, at least, most thoroughfares function in complete anonymity.