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Mission Europe: Country Summaries

London

All I knew about England was that people had funny accents, weird lingo, drank tea with milk and the weather is always gray…  Almost all of that was true.  London was the base camp for most of my trip and I got accustomed to it quite easily.  I felt like a local using my oyster card, memorized the exchange rate and drank tea at least twice a day (yes, with milk).  I was quite lucky the weather was fabulous until the last part of my trip where it did get a bit windy and cold.  I met many lovely people who I hope to stay in touch with.  I also enjoyed the classes I took and feel in love with the supermarkets.  I discovered many new ingredients and had fun trying to use them.  I will admit I tried speaking with a British accent, of which I was informed there are many variations, but to be frank, they all sound the same to me.  I giggled as one of my new British friends imitated a southern United States accent and then outright laughed when someone used the word ‘loo’.  Between the fish and chips, milk in tea and hot cross buns, I enjoyed what little British cuisine I experienced.  If I return, the thing that I would love to learn is how to make all the delights that should accompany a traditional British afternoon tea.  I searched around for courses that would teach tea sandwiches, crumpets, scones and the like, but they were all booked or unavailable during my travel dates.  London was my first and last stop and each time I visited had it had something new and entertaining waiting for me…  So to London I say, “Cheers for that!”

 

Vienna

Vienna was an adventure.  I dealt with interesting people, angry people and lost people.  I had people speak to me in German and then wonder why I stared at them blankly, even though they knew I do not speak any German.  I I was unprepared for Vienna, but loved it.  Vienna was worlds different than the other countries I visited.  It had a certain traditional charm to it and lots of elegance.  Everywhere I went the buildings were detailed, the people slightly aloof, the transportation incredibly efficient and the food wonderfully satisfying.  Vienna was the most relaxing part of my trip.  I had very few classes planned, so I did a lot of sightseeing and walking around town.  The highlight of Vienna was probably the breakfasts I had with my friend Phoebe.  What better way to start the morning than with granola, yogurt, fresh apples, fresh plums, artisan bread, camembert or brie cheese, strawberry jam and coffee?  Vienna is rich with history and filled with opportunities to experience many different things.  I drank tons of wine and listened to lots of great music.  Between meeting Santa’s evil companion, Krampus and adjusting to a total country shut down on Sundays to relax, I found Vienna both interesting and wonderful.

 

Turin

By far my favorite part of the whole trip!  Turin was a city after my own heart.  Smiles everywhere, streets filled with bakery windows and restaurant entrances.  A laid back town with wonderful stories hidden in its nooks and crannies.  If ever I met a city I would live in, Turin could be it.  I am such a country girl, but the country is a small drive from the center of town and there is so much nature in the city, it is easy to forget you are there.  I cannot say I acquired a taste for Italian espresso or Italian coquetry, but I did fall in love and cannot wait to return.  Turin is so alive.  There are bustling markets everywhere and anything you can think of is available.  The locals are proud of their city and make an effort to show it off.  The food is indescribably fantastic.  A city where the people welcome anyone with open arms, where wine flows at all hours of the day, where plates are always full, stomachs are never empty and laughter and good times are always in full supply…  A place where antiques are appreciated, where coffee is sensual and service is an art.  It was very hard to say goodbye to Turin, I would have stayed if I could and will return as soon as possible!

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