European travel can seem intimidating because of the variety of countries to visit and cultures to experience. But at the same time it’s much easier to travel there because of absence of border checks that allow the opportunity of some spontaneous trips to other cities and countries. These are the tips that can help you to go around Europe and experience different cultures and cuisines to the fullest!
For a start, avoid visiting European countries during summer and instead choose to travel off season. This way you can experience the local culture and people without the annoying queues, tourist crowds, and higher prices. The EU citizens often go on vacation in summer as well, so going there in early spring or fall will hopefully provide you with an opportunity to chat with them!
Local cuisine also varies quite a lot from season to season and you can see it for yourself and even recreate some dishes at home. This cabbage lasagna is a comforting fall dish that still has the same amazing flavors of the classic meal. The most time-consuming part is prepping the cabbage leaves. Choose a medium size cabbage, remove the hard core from the center, cut it side up, and boil for 25 minutes. Start taking off cooked leaves with tongs and continue boiling until all of them are cooked through. To make the sauce sauté onions and carrots in butter, add ground pork or beef. Then add a cup of marinara sauce and seasonings and stir well. Assemble the lasagna with cabbage, sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes and let it cool before serving.
If one of your goals is to meet the locals and maybe even practice your language skills, shopping at small, family run business is a way to go. These remote cafes, restaurants and bakeries tend to be cheaper as well because they don’t cater to a tourist crowd. This is definitely the best way to taste the most authentic dishes of the country you’re traveling to.
Try recreating the atmosphere of a French patisserie (confectionery), for example, and make your own lemon meringue cookies at home. They’re easy to prepare with store-bought ingredients and you only have to worry about the most important part – the meringue. To make it place sugar and water in a sauce pan, let the mixture simmer for a few minutes and remove from the heat. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer to soft peaks and slowly add the syrup. Continue mixing until the meringue is firm and glossy. To assemble the dessert place shortbread cookies on a plate, put some lemon curd and meringue on top. Use a small blowtorch to slightly burn the meringue peaks. This way the cookies look impressive enough to be presented at parties as a homemade masterpiece.
Learning the local language can be both an interesting challenge and a fun way to spend time on your vacation. Some additional prep is best if you want to actually have conversations with people but even knowing only basic phrases can lead you a long way and help discover new places. The best advice is to not be afraid to talk!
Another advantage of European travel is that you can stay in a particular place for longer than a few days. Italy is especially perfect for this because the lifestyle there is very slow and it allows you to relax. Just like a meal with homemade spaghetti sauce can comfort you after a long day. The combination of meat, various kinds of tomatoes and seasonings is simply irresistible.
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