Today’s post is actually the guest post that I wrote for Katherine on Monday. The reason I’m posting it again here is because I think that it would be a perfect way to end all of my Europe recaps. I know I said that I was done with it before (and I still am!), but now I feel like Ithis is a way to tie it up, and I swear I’m really done. Unless of course you, my lovely readers, ask for more!
For all of you newcomers, I spent a month this summer gallivanting around Europe [6 countries to be exact!] with 3 of my best friends. We saw a lot of sites, and tasted a lot of foods, and with those experiences I was able to form a better understanding of various cultures and what it means to be a guest in each culture.
I want to offer out a few tips and guidelines to follow while abroad, they helped me tremendously and I have faith that you can take something away from them too!
1.) Always go where the locals go.
You may be wondering: “But how do I know where that is?” Well, my answer to you is to spend the day, or evening, wondering around neighborhoods that are not listed in city guide books as tourist destinations. This may be a no-brainer to some, but it’s actually harder to do than one would imagine.
Take note of cute side alley restaurants and pubs. Wonder in and out of local markets and boutiques.
2.) Speak the language.
Not fluent in that language [or even a second language.. ehem ME]? Don’t worry about it. Master key phrases such as typical conversational lines and questions about where the locals go. Word of thumb is always greet locals in their language [and put a solid effort in pronunciation!] and after they have responded, proceed to ask if they speak English.
Ask people where their favorite places to go are. Ask them for the most reasonably priced restaurants that offer their favorite meals. Do your research, not in travel books, but through human interaction.
3.) Find the local Restaurants, and eat recommended dishes.
Apply all of the above rules and you will find yourself here, in the restaurants of the locals. Ask for dish recommendations by both the people who recommended the spot to you, and by the waiters. If you are able to eat that dish [no allergies, etc.] but you are unsure of how you will like it, then the answer it simply to try it. End of discussion.
4.) Split dishes.
If you find your way to the local restaurants you’re already saving money. Restaurants located in tourist destinations almost always have a price mark-up. Remember that. But, another way to save money and to allow yourself to try new foods is to share dishes with your friends. Your friends may pick something you never would have, or you can split a portion to save money and calories without compromising your selection! Whether you want to share two dishes or split one you will get to try new things and/or save money!
5.) Follow their schedule.
Are you one of the thousands of Americans that eats dinner between 5:30 and 7:00pm? Well then, this rule is for you. Europeans don’t typically eat lunch until 1:00 or 2:00pm (13:00 or 14:00) and dinner after 8:00pm (20:00). If you want to be treated like a local and eat like a local, well you better well follow this rule. You’ll find your experience during their hours to be much more enjoyable than your hours.
6.) Drink their drank.
Seriously. The house wine is the best wine [usually]. Ask their recommendation, in their language, and you’ll be sure to have a wonderful bottle glass of wine. The prices will be way lower and you’ll be much happier. There’s really not much more to say about it.
I hope you all enjoyed my tips and tricks! Enjoy!
Do you follow any of these rules already?
What are some rules not listed here that you would recommend to international travelers?
What are some of your favorite culinary destinations abroad?