written by Coeur de Saigon
A brief visit to Europe has given me a whole new perspective of the Western culture, landscape and lifestyle. This list is just a summary of what I will miss the most after leaving Europe explaining why I’m in love with it for such a short time.
5. The Nature
Spring time it was when I came to Europe. So please excuse my obsession with flowers. Tulip is really popular of course. In Asia, tulips are expensive but over there, tulips are like street and park decoration. Contemplating these flowers are free. Head to the parks or even along the road (like the photo above.) Go to Jardin d’Acclimatation, Paris, Vondelpark, Amsterdam, or Łazienki Królewskie w Warszawie, Warsaw. You won’t be disappointed.
Jam-packed with flowers, what else can you enjoy the nature in Europe? Buy a drink, find a secluded spot in the park and get lost. Łazienki Park, Warsaw, is a typical example. Kampa park in Prague is another romantic spot too. Chilling by the river under the shades, and kissing someone (or seeing other park-goers kissing each other.)
4. Gastronomy Heaven (and Alcohol too)
There is no doubt about it. Europe has a lot to offer when it comes to indulging yourself. Paris was my favorite place to have a fine lunch or dinner, my favorite spot is Saint Michel. Prague is winner too. Try their patisserie and you would never leave.
You cannot leave Europe sober. That is for sure. Polish Vodka, Czech Beer were on top my list. The creamy foam of Czech beer and heavy vodka all contributed to my habit of drinking when I’m back to Vietnam.
With alcohol leaving the club without dancing is a disgrace. I had a blast in Amsterdam visiting Soho and Taboo. But it could not compare to my 7 days partying in Warsaw and Krakow with my friends from an exchange program. Frantic in Krakow, Capitol, Bal, 55, Multipub in Warsaw, you name them!
3. The Roads
Arts never come cheap, but the streets of European cities are packed with it. Never once I heard or saw a performance the same. Some mime, cosplay or blow water balloon. But I love the musical performance most. It gave the old city streets the soul to my ears. Give them some euro, if you like a performance. That’s how you keep the streets audible with tunes.
Mentioning about roads, I could never forget the endless road from Paris to Brussels, where the fields are painted with yellow flowers. From Prague to Warsaw, dawn rose to its utmost glory, melted the morning dew. It was the most beautiful images that my humble camera could not capture. But it was safe in my memory. The transiting high ways gave me a good amount of time to listen to my playlist. I listened to ballads, EDM, stupid break up songs. All were good. All helped making my stay on a coach/train less lonely.
2. Culture Exploration
Europe is so rich in culture. Around 50 countries are occupying the smallest continent in Europe. Overall, they might look similar and others call them Western culture; but in particular, they are profoundly different with strong national identity. Having traveled only 10% of the European countries, I was in shock of how different it could be within 3 hours of bus drive. The variance never bored me in any single city.
Museums/galleries are likely my first stop in each city during the exploration.
If you visited the king of museum, Musée du Louvre firstly when you come to Europe (like I did,) don’t give up on museums and keep on visiting them. “This freaking awesome Louvre museum with countless exhibits are enough. I’m done with museum.” – I said while exiting the Louvre.
I was wrong. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam gave me a deeper look into Dutch history and art (Van Gogh, Rembrandt and etc.) Uprising Museum in Warsaw, Poland, gave me chills to witness the naked truth of WWII specifically in Warsaw. Madame Tussauds or Sex Museum were for pure entertainment. And these are just a humble example of many museums in Europe that are ready to fancy visitors.
1. The People
Before coming to Europe, I had heard a lot about stereotypes about the people there.
“Parisians are so unkind.”
“Europeans are racist.”
And so forth.
After the trip, I am fully aware that stereotype is just stereotype.
I met a group of friends in Warsaw, open-minded generation, they welcome me like any other human being. They even showed their excitement when I could drink vodka as good as them. And for your information, people living in Amsterdam are tired of weeds, mostly tourists and Dutch youngsters use it for fun.
Before starting my trip, I had decided to open up and immerse myself. My friends in Warsaw told me that I was different from other Asian, I could talk more than an Asian usually does, and they liked me.
I remember well when I opened the door for a French elder, in Puteaux, Paris. She told me: “tu es très gentil. Merci, merci!” (You’re so nice. Thank you, thank you!) And she patted me like I was her son.
That’s the moment when I broke the “border” in my mind despite how many literal borders there are in the world.
Open up and receive the kindness, which I did.
Note from the author:
This is a quick thought on my Europe trip. Detail entries of the countries I visited are coming up next Friday.
Hope you enjoy reading.