Snow Footprints; Zurich, Switzerland; 2011

EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY 2011-2012

“The Austrian, Swiss, Italian, French, and Julian Alps greeted me open-heartedly and absolutely took my breath away.”

 

If there was any advice that you can take away from my past, present, and future posts it would be the following – “You have to capture the “magical” moments while they are still here. Throughout your life, you never know when you will ever get the chance to embrace different cultures, unique traditions, and beautiful landscapes. No one can have these moments as you do, no one can ever take away where you have been, where you are going, and where you will be. Most importantly, no one can ever have the journey that you have had. The mixture of our 5 senses working together and the exploration of a new place will create the opportunity of a lifetime.”

One of my favorite name brand mottos – North Face emphasizes in their advertising, “NEVER STOP EXPLORING!”

Now onto the final conclusions of the European Christmas Holiday and why I enjoyed my travels:

1) Hot chocolate – With all the calories I have accumulated to sample a country’s preparation of my favorite winter drink, it was well worth it! Of course, you cannot forget the delicious topping of the whipped cream! In each country and individual cities where I had visited, I took on the challenge to drink hot chocolate! What better time to have a perfect cup of hot chocolate than in the coldest time of the year and my preferred climate. The best hot chocolate was from Zurich, Switzerland due to the silver platter of creamy whipped cream and “just right” hot chocolate. The runners up were Venice, Italy and Monte Carlo, Monaco.;

2) The tales of the traveling train – I would have never thought that I would have had as much as fun as I did traveling by train. Growing up in the states I have never been familiar with the mode of transportation by train, but traveling internationally had given me the opportunity to experience this first and foremost. The eco and global print friendly trains added another element of adventure to the Euro trip. As you may have read throughout my posts, I did have some hiccups in my travel plans, but everything worked out in the end. I cannot say enough how amazing it was to travel in such a unique way. Though I adore my manual Jeep Wrangler, the experience was far better and greater going by railways. This led me into my third favorite moment of the trip.;

3) The view of the famous European Alps and mountains from the inside and outside of the train. The Austrian, Swiss, Italian, French, and Julian Alps greeted me open-heartedly and absolutely took my breath away. During my time in Croatia I had the chance to drive towards the Julian Alps on the way to the Skojcan Caves; meanwhile, I came face to face looking up at the Austrian, Swiss, and French Alps during several times in the Euro trip. The snow-capped Alps created such a beautiful and peaceful environment that allowed me to take a few minutes and take in their majestic magnificence. Unfortunately, my photography does not even come close to show how truly amazing these views are, but I tried!;

4) Unearthing a location that I never knew existed – The place where the Austrian and Swiss Alps meet lied a small country referred to as Liechtenstein. As I learned more about this fascinating destination, I had begun to look on the world map for clues to see how I overlooked this country in the past. I cannot help to smile when I viewed the words, “Liech” next to one of the world maps that I found in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. This revelation taught me that the world really has many undiscovered locations and exquisite destinations that the average human-being can anxiously look for in this lifetime. To be able to travel the entire world may be difficult, but with aspiration and devotion I still believe that this can be accomplished. There are so many amazing places on this Earth and I cannot wait to explore!;

5) Christmas Markets – I could not have found a better time to travel throughout Europe than around the Christmas holiday. I had the opportunity to meet many locals in the celebration of the winter holiday. On top of this, I was able to smell many different traditional foods in each country, taste delicacies around Europe, touch fake and real snow, hear beautiful Christmas musicals performing close by, and see a culture embracing each other as a community and the laughter and smiles that came with it.;

6) Holiday Decorations – The streets, sidewalks, stores, rivers, and landmarks were seeping out the Christmas cheer in the their best collections of Christmas lights that I had ever witnessed. The nightlife in each country was intensified by the glowing lights and enormous Christmas trees that were laid out in the bustling streets. One of my favorite moments in each location was to be able to breathe in the cold air while a beautifully enchanted Christmas tree sparkled above me!;

7) Friendly Acquaintances – It did not matter if I was in Romania or if I was traveling by train to my next destination; everyone was exceptionally courteous. I felt privileged, because I was traveling and embracing a new culture at one of the happiest times of the year – the winter holiday season. Between the hostel managers, Christmas market owners, sleigh ride drivers, caving guide tours, tourist bus operators, and/or the individuals who had opened doors and gave me directions… everyone was very welcoming! I really left with a good impression of Europeans and their beautiful countries and cities that they reside in. There will definitely be a future European trip; it’s in the making!;

8) Discovering the importance of uniqueness – The “adventure” to explore the inner secrets of the towns and cities completed my European Christmas holiday. Within each location, there laid a miraculous and aesthetic attraction, in which proudly displayed the city’s pride. As I walked, hiked, ran, drove, sat and slept on trains, and rode in cable cars and sleighs, I had begun to understand what made each sacred treasure so remarkable. Inside every crevice, element of design, and structurally built monument resembled the significances of the greatest creations ever made. The inventive talent and creative mind of the artist/artists were shown in numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including those of castles, statues, parks, caves, etc. The experience was riveting to set forth a path and look for the world’s best kept treasures.

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