Classic Europe Trip

I finally found some time (or more accurately, energy) to write about my last month in Europe during the summer of 2009. In order to keep things short I included only one highlight from each country. Here we go.

 
Europa Classica

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After spending a few weeks full of sun and partying in eastern Europe and days full of nature in Switzerland, I felt it was time to experience some of northern Europe’s classic countries and their stylish capitals.

1. Scotland, Edinburgh
Highlight: nonstop laughing at the biggest comedy festival in the world

I landed in Edinburgh for the last days of the famous international festival with heavy rain and thick dark clouds as if they had been brought directly from Antarctica. I changed my flip flops with heavy trekking shoes and put a jacket on for the first time in 4 months of travelling.

How I felt inside, however, was completely different. I felt light and airy, full of anticipation for lots of laughs. I have been a long advocate for live comedy during my years in Melbourne. Every major comedian comes to Edinburgh to try and win a prize that will ensure him certain success in the other festivals around the world.
The festival itself has over 2000 shows a day (and I think the same number of pubs) and it is not only about comedy but also about music, dance, theatre, street performance, and circus. It caters to almost every taste and budget. Some are free, and some are costly, some are funny and some are not-so-funny.

So here I was, jumping from show to show, or pub to pub, or whatever, blending with the charm and atmosphere of the streets of Edinburgh. It was probably not the most glamorous festival I’ve seen, but it definitely filled me with joy, lightness, and more than anything, lots of laughter.

 
2. England, London
Highlight: a (very) long weekend at the pub(s)

I only had one weekend in London (still not sure why) and I honestly thought I’d properly tour the city and its historical landmarks, but my old friend Raf, who now lives in London and who graciously offered to host me, was thinking differently.

As I arrived to Raf’s very well located apartment, a cold beer immediately found its way into my hands, and I also got told that we were about to leave. I could not find a reason to argue and not long after (and still in the Holding Beer position) I was in one of central London’s better pubs.

10 hours later I’m still in the pub (and still in the Holding Beer position), this time with a large group of newly made friends (whoever said that London people are not friendly has obviously never gone out on the weekend…and is obviously not a beer drinker). I actually managed to drag myself out of the pub for a few hours, only to find myself the next morning, once again, in the pub – this time for breakfast (which seems very common in London). And the story goes on and on and on until the very next day.

I must admit that I felt a bit guilty for having done only one landmark tour in London (that is to say, the English pub) but it was one of the most entertaining weekends I have ever had. I never imagined I’d participate in another Ironman event during my trip. That very long weekend definitely felt like one. Guess I’m just happy that my liver lived to tell the story.

 
3. France, Paris
Highlight: a (very) long day (and night) of walking through the streets of Paris

After a whole pub-weekend in London I was committed to explore some of the iconic landmarks of Paris. I was obviously a bit naive, as Paris is filled with so many historical monuments that even a month would probably not be sufficient. Literally every corner of the city is covered by history and tradition.

Just as in Rome, I was strolling the streets for a full day without a care in the world, enjoying the special atmosphere that the city so well cultivates. So when the night fell, I was just happy to meet my French host and sit somewhere with a good bottle of French wine. Aurelien, my generous host, had different plans (mmm, sounds familiar…), and once again I found myself in the streets of Paris, this time for street exploration during the night.

Although I felt like a broken-down athlete after a marathon who has just been convinced to run another one, I was very grateful to my host. You haven’t really seen the Eiffel tower until you have seen it glimmering in the night, or seeing the famous Moulin Rouge windmill sparkling at night.

Once again a European capital managed to totally exhaust me. No complaints though!

 
4. Belgium, Brussels & Louvern
Highlight: probably the best beer (country) in the world

Lis and I met in a small spiritual town in India, so it was only natural that we both shared many deep conversations and philosophical discussions.
One of them was about beer. Lis convinced me (quite easily) to visit her in her country, Belgium, and taste some of the “best beers in the world”. That’s what she claimed anyway.

She was right.

 
5. Netherlands, Amsterdam & Utrecht
Highlight: being hosted

This is not only to my Dutch host, Michel, who invited me to Utrecht, a beautiful old city near Amsterdam, with so much enthusiasm and energy, but also to Lis, Aurelien, Raf, Bjorn and anyone else I might forget.

Thanks for the shared breakfasts, lunches, dinners and the BBQs.
Thanks for the interesting and fun conversations.
Thanks for introducing me to your closest friends.
Thanks for driving me, cycling with me, and walking with me.
Thanks for opening your home to me.

Thanks for everything.

 
6. Germany, Berlin
Highlight: spending a full day in the Jewish Museum

Going to a Jewish Museum in Berlin was never on my to-do list when I first thought of a European trip (and especially not for a whole day), but I somehow found my way there, so I went with it.

People have different ideas about their religion. To me, Judaism is just a label on a birth certificate, something I have not willingly chosen. “Being” Jewish does not have much depth of meaning to me. More particularly, “being” Jewish in a Jewish museum in Berlin, didn’t feel more significant than, lets say, visiting as a Christian. I feel this type of label only separates us from each other, which leads us to judgments and false categorizations. True religion, in my eyes, has to be based on universal values that eliminate separation, not promote it.

Anyway : ), with no relation to my own personal beliefs, it really felt that new Germany is not afraid to face its past. The museum offered such a rich and unique insight to the suffering of so many people, not only during World War II, but also earlier. The display was so extensive that I spent most of my day there.

Just a good reminder of what hate can do…

 
7. Denmark, Copenhagen
Highlight: celebrating the Jewish New Year with my parents.

My parents, in sharp contrast, do believe in their religion, so they both decided to fly to my uncle in Denmark and meet me in order to celebrate the Jewish New Year. Spending a week with my parents is not something I take for granted. My choice to live in Australia means that I hardly see them, and also means I hardly have a chance to taste my mom’s home cooking!

I had quite a lot of highlights during my Denmark visit, but none can come close to that one (yummy) dinner. : )

 
8. Norway, Oslo
Highlight: celebrating my 34th birthday on a boat around the Oslo Fjord

When I first asked my mom where she wanted to meet me on my RTW trip, I secretly hoped she would choose an exotic spot such as the jungles of Brazil or at least something like a Mediterranean beach town. When she said Norway I nearly choked. Norway? Really? : )

Norway it was, and on my 34th birthday I found myself sailing on a boat around the beautiful Norwegian Fjords with both of my loving parents. A very memorable birthday weekend that will stay with me forever.


 

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Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating society to its abundance potential.

 

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Founder

Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating society to its abundance potential.

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