When I first moved to Europe to teach English in Spain, I dreamed of visiting every country on the continent. At this time, it was just that: a dream. I had no actual plans of traveling to each country, to be honest, I didn’t even know how many countries were in Europe. It wasn’t until I realized how easy it was to travel through Europe and how to take advantage of that that I saw my dream becoming a reality. (link that post, my tell-all secrets to conquering cheap travel in Europe – still working on 😉 ).
After spending two years living in Madrid (and becoming best friends with the RyanAir flight attendants, and mastering the skillful art of cramming a weekend of clothes into a tiny bag), I wasn’t close to my goal of seeing all 50 countries in Europe. (Yes, I just googled it, there are 50 countries in Europe. Some being more accessible than others, some with greater restrictions than others, blah blah). As bummed out as I am (still currently that is) that I haven’t seen all 50 countries in Europe, I did manage to alter my extreme dream of conquering ALL 28 EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRIES.
For those of you that don’t know (we’ve all been, no shame); the European Union “is a unified trade and monetary body of 28 member countries. Its purpose is to be more competitive in the global marketplace. At the same time, it must balance the needs of its independent fiscal and political members.” Basically, it is a clique of countries at the cool kid’s table.
These are the lessons, failures, mistakes, whoopsies that I learned from each EU country. Each photo has a special story behind, ask me about it!
and let me know your travel stories!
Austria: Even if it is one stop, get a bus ticket. If you get caught, they will follow you to the bank and watch you pull out money to hand over to the officials.
Belgium: Never have the same beer twice 🍻
Bulgaria: print your bus passes beforehand, they charge for the use of paper & you might get bedbugs from the bus.
Croatia: Don’t be afraid to take the backroads, you’ll find gems hidden along the way.
Cyprus: You might lose a hubcap and have to switch your car twice but don’t let car rental companies walk over you because you aren’t a local. Cyrus is HOT 🔥 , places you didn’t know could sweat will produce copious amounts of sweat, make sure you are hydrating.
Czech Republic: Shots before a 7AM train departure are never a good idea.
Denmark: tourist places can be overrated, visit them then go get lost in the city. Get the Copenhagen Card!
Estonia: Try the chocolate. It’s frozen and draped in cheese 🤤
Finland: Be open to trying new foods. It may seem wrong to you, but remember, it’s a delicacy to them. It may look like mushy colored chunky shit in a bowl but it tastes like heaven.
France: Try speaking French, it is a sign of respect and they enjoy watching you try.
Germany: If you really want to go into the castle, book your tickets ahead of time.
Greece: Don’t be afraid to repeat old adventures.
If someone asks you to dance the Opa! you dance.
Hungary: Go outside of your comfort zone, even if you’re in a pool where no one speaks your language. Charades will get you far enough.
Ireland: Don’t take your phones or valuables out with you at night! Sometimes being stranded is okay because a strangers kindness is priceless.
Italy: Never say no to a second helping. Never. Stay up for the sunset. The best and most magical time to see the Trevi Fountain is between 2AM-5AM.
Latvia: It’s always cold. Bring a scarf.
Lithuania: Eat the dumplings. Even the weird flavored ones.
Luxembourg: Remember when the last bus is. Always, check the bus schedule before you leave.
Malta: When the bell keeper offers you a private tour up 500 steps, do it. The view is worth it. Plus, you booty and calves will thank you later.
Netherlands: Use and abuse the free Amsterdam pass. Also, a café is not the coffee café you might think it is. It may be rare to get a cup of coffee in a café.
Norway: Some of the most breathtaking, jaw-dropping scenery Mother Nature has blessed my eyeballs with.
Poland: When visiting places that deserve more than your respect, give them that. Don’t disrespect history or the deceased to capture a photo. C’nom people.
Portugal: drink the vino verde. eat a pastéis de belém. go to Sintra.
Romania: don’t rely on credit cards, always carry the currency. And also check the times, for buses and castle.
Slovakia: do the walking tour. you’d be surprised some of the things you learn about the history & traditions.
Slovenia: Get lost in nature outside of the city capital. It is a lot harder to row a boat out to Lake Bled than you would think.
Spain: Three words: pan. con. tomate. My life.
Indulge in the lifestyle as Spaniards do.
Sweden: The meatballs are actually better than the ones at Ikea.
United Kingdom: Don’t try and fake a British accent. Spend hours in the museum, it’s worth it. Prepare for instant downpour after cloudless sunshine.
Moral of the story: guys, we all make mistakes, get locked out, miss the bus, forget our wallet. It happens. But those are the parts of travel that make it that much more.
Embrace it, learn from it, & share it.
Let me hear your stories about your mishaps or whoopsies while traveling!