Christmas in Europe: What we Learned

Beers at Hofbrauhaus Munich by Natalie Parker

It’s December 29 and we are on our last day of a 17-day trip through Europe.  We returned to Munich earlier in the afternoon so we could catch a flight home the next day.  It’s late afternoon and we’re having a beer at the Hofbräuhaus.  It’s packed to the gills but we manage to find a table a little out of the way looking out to the courtyard.  We watch the snow while we sip our liters and reflect on our trip.

To pass the time, I asked him: what did we learn on this trip?

We had a good laugh thinking about it.  We’re always learning.  Each trip brings new things, new experiences, new tricky situations.  We’re seasoned travelers but there’s always going to be something we don’t know.

Here’s our list.

What we Learned, In No Particular Order

Know word for toilet paper in the local language or else you may end up accidentally buying paper towels and not realizing it until the next morning when you are all. out.

We like to travel midday rather than getting up early.  I used to think that it was best to get to our destination early but in reality, we’d just arrive tired.  It’s nice to pack after breakfast after using bathroom toiletries instead of the night before.

Gnocchi makes a good Christmas Eve dinner.

Some bars in Austria allow people to smoke inside.  Resolved to write some TripAdvisor reviews in case other people care besides me.

Translate the dryer settings at the laundromat while the washer is running, so when you’re pressed for time, you don’t select the quickest dry which probably was the German word for “the machine is just going to spin the clothes around and not actually dry them.”

Shop for Bavarian-wear during Christmas sales.  And buy the pink dirndl!

English is the universal second language in Europe.  As seen in the ski shop with a man from Brazil speaking to the Austrian shop staff in broken English because that was the only common language.  We are spoiled.

Pack less, do more laundry.  You will thank yourself when carrying suitcases up apartment or train station stairs.

Glühwein is good stuff.

Pfand is a deposit paid on cups for said glühwein so you will return them.

In addition to bringing shampoo to an AirBNB, don’t assume there will be soap.

Check all the cabinets before buying toilet paper.  You might end up making 2 attempts to buy some before discovering extra in the hall closet.

Heisse Oma literally translates to “hot grandma” but in reality is a hot egg nog drink.

Bus > Tube in London unless you are in a hurry.

Meat pies are always good.

Cocktails are expensive in London, stick to beer.

We should pack cold medicine and cough medicine.

You can rent ski gear including outerwear, don’t pack it.

We love our T-Mobile international data plan.

There is a Kogi truck at LAX inside Terminal 4.

Apotheke is the German word for pharmacy.

Spätzle is an entree at many large beer halls and waiters will look at you weird when you each order an entree and then order spätzle to share.

Stay for the show at Pink Christmas.

Sometimes the hotel restaurant isn’t terrible and is the best option.

Planning your next trip while on vacation is the best.


Trip Report: Christmastime in London
Trip Report: Christmas in Munich


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