Posted by: Kristie | December 2, 2009

10 Things We Learned

Here are 10 things (some silly, some serious) both of us learned from traveling for two months in Europe. We did the lists separately so there are a couple similarities. As you can see, Brett is a little more long-winded — it’s because he’s an English major.


  1. I can spend 7 days a week, 24 hours a day with my husband and never get sick of him.
  2.  I can not only live out of one carry-on suitcase for two months, but actually enjoy it. It’s nice not to have to think about it what you’re going to wear.
  3. Traveling with Obama as president is so much better than when Bush was in office.  It’s nice not to be embarrassed by your president, plus Europeans love him!
  4. Europeans, in general, are in favor of socialized medicine and don’t understand why we are so up in arms about it.
  5. I love America, but we could learn a lot from Europeans, i.e. eating seasonal and local food. It’s not a trend there, just a way of life.
  6. Splurge for accommodations in the city center if you only have a 1-2 days in the destination.
  7. Driving standard is so much fun once you master it. And the smaller the car, the better because of the tiny, twisty roads.
  8. I don’t think I could’ve traveled much longer than 2 months. As great as it was, the constant packing and moving is exhausting.
  9. Attempting the language goes a long way with the locals. Know the basics – I don’t speak “language,” do you speak English, thank you, hello, goodbye, excuse me.
  10. It’s really hard coming back to reality after a dream trip.


  1. My favorite part of the trip was not the beer nor the food nor the sights but getting to spend every minute of every day for 2 months with my wife.  If you’d asked me before I left, I’d have bet on the beer.
  2. Language wise, all you REALLY need to know for any country you’re visiting is “I’m sorry I don’t speak XXXXXX. Do you speak english?” (and know it well too, accent and everything).  Even if they don’t they’ll be placated enough to try and converse with you with hand gestures, especially if it means they’ll get to make a sale.
  3. Though I’d done it in the Army a million times before, living out of a carry-on roller case and a backpack for 2 months in Europe wasn’t as sucktastic as I thought it was going to be.
  4. I was impressed by the efficiency of the agricultural rural land usage in Belgium and the Netherlands.  One had the sense that they could feed themselves for years on end without ever having to import food.  Not the case in France and especially Germany.  One could tell that the agricultural infrastructure and efficiency USED to be there but had fallen into disarray.
  5. Water is more expensive than beer and wine.
  6. I hit it out of the park in picking a wife that had the ‘standing by me in sickness and in health’ thing down.
  7. Reinforced my views that religion is basically synonymous with ‘System of Government’ in that both exist mainly to keep unruly masses in line and make those in power rich. And the Vatican Museum is actually just a trophy room.
  8. If the pizza isn’t cooked in a wood-burning oven don’t waste the calories.
  9. My wife is a planning Jedi, should have known that from the knack she showed at wedding planning she would make an awesome travel planner but she really blew me away.
  10. We don’t get to call what we have here in the US ‘history’.  Not when there are bar stools over in Europe older than our country.  I used to think 1776 was ‘old’ then I went over there and saw buildings with (built in) “770” on them, that’s WITHOUT the 1, and walked through catacombs built 7 centuries BEFORE that.


  1. re: Brett’s #8 – did you know that I actually came home 5lbs lighter???

    re: Kristie’s #2 – see why I vote for uniforms at work?!?!

    BTW, had tons of fun with you guys – thank you for letting me piggy-back on your jedi-like planning, K! Actually inspired me to double my monhtly vacation savings. Now you’ve got to come out to CO for a ski vacation….wheeee!!!

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