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Okay, so making Europe your next vacation destination is a bit of a blanket statement. Unless you’re traveling for months and months, making the whole continent your next bucket-list place is probably not even close to possible. BUT even still, with any country (or countries!) you might visit in Europe, you can’t go wrong!
Europe has a special place in our hearts. I (Sarah) lived in Germany for several years of my childhood, my mom is Dutch, and Germany is also where both Ian and I went to Bible School for a year (and initially met!). So yeah, it’s safe to say there are special and fond memories all around!
But it isn’t just the nostalgia and memories that have us in love with Europe – those do help 😉 – there are so many other reasons that we can’t get enough of this continent. So if you are looking at your next vacation and trying to pick somewhere to go, here is why I definitely think you should go to Europe.
Whether it is taking a step back in the afternoon, or just a mid-morning visit with friends, having an afternoon tea/coffee is the norm (kaffee trinken, as we would say in Germany!). I think this is one of the cultural things that Europeans do that softens and slows down the pace of life. And the best part is that it is so ingrained in the culture, it just happens naturally and easily. With little cafe’s in every nook and corner, it’s easy to adventure somewhere new or enjoy old haunts. My heart warms up just thinking about exploring and living in the cafe culture – in fact, I think I’ll go grab a tea right now!
You can find them all over, and you just never know where they are going to lead. Often, they are covered in greenery, like some age-old vine that has twisted and manipulated the alleyway into some sort of secret garden. We love traipsing around towns, big and small, and peeking into the hidden alleyways (that so often have gates in front of them in North America). Each one tells a story.
There is nothing like small towns in Europe – at least, not anywhere that we have been. Almost every since little town you will stumble across will be 1) cute, 2) quaint, 3) full of character, 4) historical 4) cafe-friendly. Enough said, for now… We’re not going to get to into this because it deserves its own blog post. I’ll be covering some of our favorite European small towns next week!
It goes without saying, but we love the historical element of Europe. There is so much deep history in each of the countries over there. From ancient ruins and art to historical grounds and buildings, stepping back in time and experiencing a piece of what used to be is so easy and rewarding.
Despite each country being fairly small, they are still so distinct and rich in their own cultures. From food and language to music and way of life – going to several different European you give you so many different and unique experiences.
A side benefit of each country not being the size of a continent is that getting around is quicker and easier. Quicker, because you jump on a 2-hour train ride and you are in the Swiss Alps and easier because the smaller countries mean everything is so interconnected. Europe as a whole has great public transportation, from planes, trains, and buses, and it all makes getting around pretty seamless (for the most part)!
Ian might laugh at me for putting this on the list, but it’s staying. Guys, bread in Europe is on a whole other level. I’m a sucker for crusty bread (that came out sounding a lot weirder than I thought it was going to). Baquets and brotchen (crusty German sandwich rolls) are my favorite. And now that I think about it, this might be the reason that I’m never fully on board with getting subs in North America – soft buns. I’m not saying they’re the worst, but there is just so much better out there. Enter, European bread. Side note: bread also ties into my cafe love. Mix them up and you’ve got a marriage made in heaven.
The Simple Summary
We love Europe. We love it a lot. There are so many differences between the countries and it’s hard to just sum all of it up when talking about Europe in general, but these are things that are always calling us back no matter what country we visit on the continent.
When I think of Europe and my time there, the Dutch word “gezellig” most often comes to mind. There is no direct translation to English, but it basically describes a “feeling” – a cozy, homey atmosphere, like a Christmas night spent with family around a dancing fire as snow falls outside. That is max gezellig. Europe is that gezellig feeling to us, and we hope for you too!