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Choosing your destination: Europe a ‘dusty museum’

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 8, 2008 in Travel Tips |

A photo I took of the Coliseum in Rome March 2007.

A photo I took of the Coliseum in Rome March 2007.

More than a year ago I wrote a commentary piece for The Temple News, the college newspaper of my alma mater Temple University, deriding the European continent as location of choice for young travel.

All that said, forgive me for saying that the whole continent is an overblown, dusty museum. If you’re young and looking for that remarkable experience of traveling abroad, think beyond Europe.

Firstly, nothing is going to change. You will always be able to buy a $10 croissant in view of the Eiffel Tower, and the Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster will be “Big Ben” for a long time to come. So go in 10 years, or even 20, when you have more money, more time and, I’d say, more interest. [Source]

Of course don’t I look foolish now.

Well, somewhat.

That riff came not long after I had a frustrating couple weeks in Italy - lost luggage, lots of rain, missed trains and more.

There are times when my frustration with European bureaucracies reminds me of why I doubted that this continent is best for first time international travelers. It is costly, to be sure. But it needs to be on your list.

Yes, you’ll pee on the walls to avoid paying for bathrooms. You’ll break the bank in comparison to time in Southeast Asia or parts of South America - but, my revised sentiment would be to do a few weeks in some of the most desirious spots, like we’ve done.

Get a sense. Then take what’s left of your money, make some more, and go elsewhere in the world.

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2 Comments

Stephen Medvidick
Nov 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Hmm, Italy was your frustration, eh? Was the same here, more specifically Rome when everything turned sour. coincidence?


 
Isabelle Roughol
Nov 10, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Europe has the advantage, for first-time US travelers, to be both foreign enough and familiar enough. As far as bureaucracies and transportation nightmares, Southeast Asia will give you way more to write about. In Europe, you’re also generally guaranteed not to come across a mob trying to take down a government or a sudden border war (though of course, for some people including journalists like you and me, that’s considered a fun vacation).
Europe is way more expensive, but you can save up on airfare; at the right time of year, you can get a New York-Paris for $350. Expect 4 times that at least for SE Asia. (This coming from a US-educated European living in SE Asia. Only speaking of the destinations I know, I can’t speak for the rest of the world.)


 

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