Assuming you've read the daily blogs (or read some of them), there's not much more I need to add to the trip notes. I will say that the trip was fun, was indeed an adventure, and the boys were absolutely great. And that last statement is especially gratifying to say with such an "old" group of teenagers. They were respectful, kind, and behaved. Many of them have been with me three, four, five, or even six summers and I will miss them all.
So instead of reflecting on the trip, I will close with some truisms I/we discovered on this, my fourth trip, to Europe:
Things we’ve discovered:
- Europeans speak multiple languages…not two or three but often four, however we’ve found that in France they don’t often speak English – at least not to us.
- Every place has a different kind of flushing mechanism.
- It cost money to use the toilet in most public places – 50 euro cents usually.
- To use the public restroom, you often go into a room with an attendant (usually a lady who takes your money and makes sure you clean up) and you need to be very careful which direction you turn once inside the facility.
- Hotels aren’t often air conditioned even when you think they should be. Even three star hotels might not have air conditioning.
- It’s hard to find public WCs anywhere that’s convenient.
- The price of soft drinks in a restaurant is absolutely outrageous. We paid as much as 6 euros (about $7.80) for a single approximately 12 oz. soda. That’s not happening again!
- A hotel might say they have wi-fi but that doesn’t mean it works or it works as fast as one would hope.
- Buildings in Europe can be very old, hundreds and hundreds of years old.
- They can come up with a museum for anything. We found a French Fry Museum in Bruges and a Sex Museum in Amsterdam, and no, we didn’t go into either one.
- Soft drinks are incredibly expensive even if they aren’t 6 euros.
- Even if you tell a group of kids something three times, someone will not have heard what you just said.
- A lot of people in Europe smoke.
- There’s a lot of graffiti in Europe.
- Since the 2009 trips, wi-fi has become free in hotels but now they charge for breakfast. It would have been better off for me had things stayed the same.
- It's all great!