LEARNINGS FROM THREE WEEKS OF TRAVEL TO BELGIUM AND PORTUGAL
Trading in 90,000 miles for a roundtrip first-class ticket to Europe was worth every mile. This was the first time I have ever gone to Europe in first-class. Talk about making it easier on one. I am writing this 32,000 miles up in the sky.
I learned from my daughter that the first course is not starter or appetizer as we call it in the States. An entrée is the first thing served. In first class, smoked salmon, delicious fish compote, fresh dark roll, and a glass of wine were served. I won’t even go into what ate for the meal. Let’s just say I am not hungry.
I have consumed more champagne/wine already this year than I normally drink in six months. Okay I bought into the European idea that red wine is good for your health.
Family time revolves around meals. It is not unusual to have four courses for large gatherings. Sprinkle that with LOTS of French and you get the idea that for a non-French speaker the evening can seem quite long.
Motorways --- a smog alert can trigger 90 kmh (not sure that is right—our equivalent of mph) speed limits. Locals are convinced it is a way the police find a way to pick up extra revenue because few people actually obey the speed limit and speeding tickets are common during a smog alert.
Haven’t figured out why European showers have the showers that fit into a clip at the top and you have the coil to deal with. Even worse, it flips out of your hand ending up in a newly cleansed bathroom.
Kitchen appliances have directions written in French. You thought different microwaves were complicated in the United States---you haven’t seen anything until you try to warm something in a French or Portuguese kitchen.
People are truly kind and are anxious to show off their country to visitors. Even though I have traveled to visit my daughter in Belgium many times, it is always an adventure—this trip was no exception.
By the way, my suitcase is loaded with Belgium chocolate. I’m thinking people will be happy to see me for the next few days.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATION TIP:
This trip reminded me about the importance of learning another language. I mentioned it before, yet, going to give you the site again http://www.livemocha.com
I will be learning French this year. My daughter was impressed when I pronounced something correctly. Livemocha has gotten me started on the right track.