I spent several years roaming around Western Europe and saw everything I had time for. I have continually told the Europeans how lucky they are to live in such a culturally diverse area all compacted into a space that can be reached in under a day. It’s fascinating how many cultures, languages, histories lie in such close proximity to each other.
Germany – I spent the most time here and liked it so much I actually took time to learn to speak a little of the language. I thought the language was a bit difficult to learn but once you get a handle on it, it isn’t so bad.
France – A french accent on a woman is incredibly appealing and the time I spent exploring the country will never be forgotten
Belgium – This was a power trip and I spent a few days in Antwerp, exploring the city center, cathedrals, museums and eating local food.
Netherlands – The Dutch are the most liberal people I’ve ever encountered and I had a great time hanging out with them. I explored Amsterdam, saw the North Sea and stopped by the Keukenhof to look at the tulips. If you like flowers, this is the place, the colors seem fluorescent. Oh, I also stopped by a famous cheese maker with a barn filled with various cheeses. I can’t seem to remember the place but the barn was filled floor to ceiling with aging cheeses.
Luxembourg – Stopped by Luxembourg City for a quick trip. The city was quite nice, the people friendly and I had a great time sampling the local food.
Austria – I have met a few Austrians in my travels and was sort of surprised when I met one with an ESPN season ticket for the Philadelphia Eagles (via the internet). He was a huge fan and had actually flown to the states to watch a game. Another guy was about to fly to Florida, rent a Harley Davidson and drive route 66 then on to bike week in Sturgis. It’s fascinating how often I meet Europeans who want to come to the United States and many of us are trying to be European. Well, I did make it to two of the major cities, Innsbruck and Vienna as well as the Alps, an extremely long tunnel and the area where the movie “The Sound of Music” was filmed, Salzburg. Austria is beautiful and if you get a chance, you should definitely go.
Switzerland – Zurich, Bern and Geneva. Every time I’ve been to Switzerland or interacted with the Swiss has been enjoyable. In my opinion it’s a very fascinating culture as the periphery has impacted the languages and cultures that abut it. To the south they speak, Swiss, German, English and Italian, to the north it is Swiss, German, English .. well you get the picture. And, quite often as I leaned, a village or enclave may in fact speak their own dialect, which is indecipherable to outsiders. Interesting isn’t it. The cities were modern, lively, clean and organized. I would definitely return to Switzerland.
Lichtenstein – Vaduz and surrounding area. This is the only place in the world where I stumbled upon a business that would not take US dollars. It was a gas station and I ended up having to use a credit card. I actually liked the country. As I recall it was mountainous and full of vegetation. I rented a place on a hillside for a couple nights and just relaxed. The people were nice, and I quite enjoyed my stay.
Italy – Every time I went to Italy I had a great time. The country is beautiful, as are the women :). I’m a sucker for accents when a woman speaks English and the Italian accent is no different.