I have always lived in the United States and this country will forever be my home. There are so many things that make the U.S. one of the most unique and culturally diverse places in the world. But I have also spent some quality time in Europe and let me tell you– they do it right! Here are five things I love about Europe:
1. Cafes/Tea & Coffee
Nearly every place I get a coffee or a tea in Europe has left me satisfied. I remember heading out for an excursion to Galway from Dublin and my mom and I were waiting for our bus. It was really early in the morning and one of the only places open was a non-descript and very tiny convenience store. We walked in and were instantly greeted with an intoxicating smell of croissants and pastries. We each ordered a croissant and a coffee, and it is still one of the best breakfasts I’ve had to date! Pictured below is a favorite cafe of mine in London, Patisserie Valerie. Another popular place that I love in Europe is Costa Coffee.
The transportation within and between countries in Europe tends to be reliable. The chunnel from London to Paris or the train from London to Brussels gets you there in about two hours. The trains are fast, convenient, and, from my experience, are clean. It’s no wonder Europeans seem to travel with such ease. Also, I have noticed that flights within Europe tend to be pretty cheap. Considering Europe is about the size of the U.S. it makes sense that traveling between countries is quick and relatively easy. (Of course this is a general impression and it is important to know not all transportation in Europe is necessarily safe or reliable. For example, my friends and I were told not to use the underground in Prague.)
Europe as a whole experiences milder weather than the eastern coast and many parts of the United States. This has a lot to do with jet streams and ocean currents. Since Europe is “downwind” from the Atlantic Ocean, they experience warmer temperatures and enjoy a milder climate throughout the year without the wide variance in temperatures the eastern portion of the U.S. feels. This makes Europe slightly chillier in the warmer months but slightly warmer in the colder months. I love visiting in August or September and whipping out my boots and scarf for chilly evenings.
Europe has been around a lot longer than the United States. This makes for plenty of interesting architecture and very old structures. There are castles that have been around for hundreds, even thousands, of years, and you can’t forget about the ancient ruins in Greece and Italy. Europe is definitely a historian’s dream! I always enjoyed touring the old structures and palaces during my time studying abroad. There is so much to learn and it is very special to see something in person rather than read about it out of a history book.
Finally, I love how many cultures you are able to see so close together around Europe. A quick train ride brought my friends and I from Nice, France to Ventimiglia, Italy in 30 minutes or so. We ate lasagna, had gelato, and bought homemade pasta within a few hours before returning back to France. Traveling between countries in Europe is almost comparable to traveling between states in the U.S. Many schools teach children not only English, but several other languages in order for them to communicate easily with cultures nearby. For example, most people speak German, Italian, and English in Switzerland.
So those are five of my favorite things about Europe! There are many more things I love, and also a few things I don’t love about Europe too. But I think it is important to travel in order to appreciate what other countries might do better or differently than your own. And for the things you don’t necessarily like about where you are visiting, it will just help you appreciate your home more.