72 hours

Three countries in three days

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

It has been three days since I left America but it feels much longer ago than that. In the past three days, I swam in the hot springs of Iceland, ran through the streets of Munich in a rainstorm, and wandered around the cutest villages at the base of the Austrian Alps. Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:

  • Sleeping in an airport is never a good idea, never. And by sleeping, I mean tossing and turning until it’s 3AM and you come to terms with the fact that sleep is just not going to happen.
  • Hang out with locals. Hang out with other travelers.
  • Geothermal hot springs in Iceland will make your hair feel like straw for days. Bring a hairband.
  • In certain forgiven languages, if you look at the words closely enough (and have some background knowledge of latin root words) sometimes you can get a general idea of what they mean. Icelandic is not one of those languages.
  • There is always time to stop for an espresso.
  • Navigating the train system in Europe is surprisingly not that hard.
  • Humans have an incredible capacity to adapt, but that doesn’t mean that pulling a few all nighters in a row is easy on the body or psyche.
  • Language barriers can make you feel really defeated.
  • Knowing a few words in the mother tongue of the country you’re in can go a long way. It’s a foreign country, don’t be that American tourist that expects everyone to speak English. That’s one stereotype that does not need anymore enforcing.
  • If you walk into a church in Munich on a religious holiday, catch the door behind you and close it slowly. People don’t take kindly to the loud creaking of huge wooden doors in the middle of a mass.
  • European pigeons are the fattest, most well fed birds I have ever seen.
  • I already miss having a closet. I am not a living out of a suitcase kind of girl, and I’m okay with that.
  • Recommendations from locals are really helpful, but nothing beats doing your own thing.
  • Make a poor decision every once in a while, it builds character.
  • Stop in the middle of whatever you’re doing at least once a day, look around you, and participate in a silent moment of gratefulness. Traveling abroad is not something that anyone is entitled to.
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