Many people travel to Europe each year. Instead of just having a surprised look on your face, like “Look! He just yodeled!” roll up your sleeves, immerse yourself in the culture and get ready to enjoy Europe.
When you develop a knack for connecting with the locals as well as their culture, you inevitably become a European, enjoying all the unique experiences the old continent has to offer. When in Europe, you become the best Italian, Spaniard or German you can be – in fact, the only touristy part of your tour should be Rome, Madrid or Berlin airport transfers!
Consume beer in Germany, wine in France and have small breakfast servings in Italy. If you never drink tea back home, after a full day of exploring England, a spot of tea will really hit the spot! Here are some ideas to help you become European for the duration of your stay.
Play Where Locals Play
Popular city fairgrounds and parks are filled with old-timers, lovers and families enjoying an evening out or a cheap cozy afternoon. In Europe, the heavily taxed citizens get to enjoy some of the most beautiful athletic facilities. For instance, check out the public swimming pools – called “Leisure Centres”; in Denmark, visit amusement parks like Tivoli Gardens; and Disneyland, the Paris edition, is a great place to visit.
Go to Church in Europe
Regular churchgoers seldom consider attending a European worship service. However, any church is open to travelers. Spending an hour in a European small-town church will provide you with an indescribable peek into the local living community, especially when you join in the cookies and coffee afterwards.
Support a Team
In Europe, the top religion is soccer and being caught up in one of the sporting events is one way to go local. Whether it’s enjoying soccer in a small town in Italy or even hurling in Ireland, you will be in a stadium brimful of devoted fans. Purchase something to wave or wear with the hometown’s colors in support of your chosen team.
For instance, join over 60,000 locals watching a hurling match at Croke Park in Dublin and you will be among plenty of new Irish friends. You will learn the rules of the game, who to root for, get a flag to wave and even, maybe, learn a few creative ways of swearing!
Get in Touch with the Equivalent Version of Your Club
If you are a member of a bridge club, service club or an international organization, make it a point to connect with a few foreign mates. This way, you’ll be making a few friends along the way to help you find fun and pleasurable things while in their city.
Visit the Back Streets
Most people energetically troop to the most crowded square in the most crowded part of the city during the most crowded month – for example, St. Mark’s Square in Venice in July – and later complain about the crowds. When in Venice, venture off the beaten path behind St. Mark’s Basilica into a café where Venetians will treat you like a local.
Get Up Early
All through Europe, produce markets, Riviera villages, alpine farmsteads, churches and medieval ramparts thrive while tourists are asleep. If you are in Germany, take a walk around Rothenburg’s fortified wall during breakfast time before the first bus full of tourists arrives, then take a stroll towards the medieval theme park. Remember, the early bird among travelers gets the best memories!
How would you blend as a local?