Another thing off the bucket list

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:23 am

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I crossed a big item off my bucket list last week.

My girlfriend and I returned from a three-week tour of Western Europe, visiting six cities and four countries.

Sitting in a pub, listening to a band in Edinburgh during TradFest (a two-week festival dedicated to Scottish culture combining music, storytelling and exhibitions), I had to ask my self what took me so long.

I always wanted to go to Europe. There was always something that got in the way, at least so I thought – work schedules, family schedules, school schedules, cost.

Now that the trip is over, all these things I perceived as obstacles don’t actually seem as big as they did in the past. Granted the cost factor is a big one, but it’s not as insurmountable as it may seem once a plan is in place.

The trip was all worth it, and we got to see some of Europe’s greatest monuments, and a few hidden gems.

Of course, you have to head out to the main attractions like Tower Bridge in London or the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

However, some of the best moments of the trip were a little off the tourist map, such as the already mentioned TradFest and being a little like Cookie Monster at the Kambly Cookie factory store in Trubschachen in the Emmental region of Switzerland. Free Cookies!

We saw a Swiss Cattle Drive, with the farmers leading their animals up the gorgeous green hills on foot wearing traditional outfits with the cows boasting huge bells around their necks. It was all just as it looks in the storybooks. The Gallo-Roman Museum in Lyon, and the city’s incredible restaurants warrant a return trip.

Before I really get going and take over all the space on this page, I will close with a few things I learned:

• When traveling with the rush hour crowds on the Underground in London, think of it as a river – jump in and go with the current.

• Walk as much as you can. It’s the best way to find things off the beaten track and it will help you burn off all the calories you get visiting Parisian pastry shops.

• Pick-pocket thieves can be cunning.

• The two things you don’t want to hear come over the speaker in an automated washroom are “clean” and “five seconds”, especially if they’re in a language you’re still learning.

• Most importantly, don’t put off until tomorrow the things you can do today.


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