A Culture Eyebrow Raise: Nuances and Tidbits about Europe

So, I spent the last six posts either entertaining you or boring you to tears with the day-by-day account of my three-week trip to Europe that I wedged between graduation and my long-awaited return to the workforce as a real adult that makes money and keeps regular hours. It was really the last experience of my “Extra Credit Life.” My last experience as a second-time undergraduate pretending to be 22. And what better way to spend it than riding through Europe on a tour bus filled with 22 year olds? So now that the blow-by-blow is finished, I can ramble on about the little details, the nuances, the tidbits. I wouldn’t call Europe a culture shock. India would be a culture shock; Japan would be a culture shock; Europe is more of a “culture eyebrow raise.” Continue reading

Europe #6: Shoulder-to-Shoulder with a Mass of Tourists Under the Blazing Sun

Needless to say, everyone was pretty disappointed to be leaving the Austrian resort for more small, city hotels. We were looking forward to Italy though, so we loaded onto the bus for another (very) early departure. Several hours of driving got us to the mainland outside of Venice where we took a transport boat to the island of Murano to see glass being blown at a glassblowing workshop. We had a short tour of the workshop and saw one of the glass blowers making a vase and also a horse. He formed the horse by pulling on the hot glass with metal clamps and the whole horse was finished in less than five minutes. Really fun to watch. We were then herded into the showroom and given an explanation of some of the items for sale, how the glass colors are formed, and how to assure you are getting real Murano glass if you buy it outside the island. The prices were a little steep for me, so I wandered around for a bit and then went outside with the other non-purchasers to wait for our boat to the island of Venice.

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Europe #5: Austria, the Best Country for Looking Ridiculous

The trip really is continuing! I may have spoiled everyone with four straight days of posts. Well, I moved to a new city and things got kind of thrown into disarray for a few days, but now! on! to! Austria!

We left Munich early the next morning and Giovanni drove us into Austria. I hadn’t spent a lot of time studying this portion of our itinerary so I really didn’t know what to expect in Austria. I knew there would be some kind of resort, and maybe hiking. We started our morning visiting the Salzburg salt mines in Berchtesgarden. No one seemed to have any idea what this tour was supposed to be and no one seemed particularly excited to learn about salt mining, but we arrived and everyone was handed black jumpsuits to put on. We looked mostly ridiculous, but looking ridiculous is kind of fun, so it was starting off well. Continue reading