I was in Europe for a last minute, unplanned, trip to backpack around with my brother, Tim, who recently ended his six month assignment in Sri Lanka with Doctors without Borders(MSF). He is employed by MSF-Holland so a visit to Europe was required after he left Asia. Also required, after six months in a war zone, was some R&R.
I joined him for a quick po-po platter sampling of three European cities–Amsterdam (first quiz), Cologne, Germany (2nd) and the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg (final).
We toured castles and visited museums while traveling by train, tram, bike and bus. Our time in each destination was short but we still found time to explore each area on foot during our daily morning runs and by local transport.
In reviewing my notes much of our time was spent sampling the local cuisine with the appropriate regional wine or beer selection. Yes we ate very well from the local street vendors offering regional snacks (picture of herring in Amsterdam) to the six course meals that stretched for hours. These meals were often a cultural experience beyond the food and drink as we watched the ebb and flow of the locals going about their day. Being late September the tourists were long gone so the vibe was more relaxed which made for great people watching. One take away, of the many, is the quality of Luxemburg wines. I have never seen Luxemburg wines in the USA which is a shame as they can stand up with the better known wines that are imported from Europe. If you find any in your local wine shop do not hesitate to give them a try.
For an area of the globe I always thought I'd save till my less adventurous (read: older) years I highly encourage you to visit sooner than later if you get the chance.
Get out and Explore the World!