The season has started. I’m back on the road as a trip leader, guiding people all over Europe for the summer season. But summer is hard to find. I’ve just finished my first trip of the season; in about three weeks from Rome to London. For the most part it’s been cloudy, rainy and more like autumn than spring. Not a great start anyway. I’ve overestimated Europe’s current temperatures and my shorts are still living at the bottom of my bag. But despite the weather, getting used to changes and start of season hiccups I am so glad to be on the road again.
Two years ago I had the same job and so I was familiar with the trip I had to run. Nevertheless, a lot of things had to be done: checking new hotels and how to get there, changing orientation walks, trying new restaurants and updating all the prices for activities etc. So I spend my free time preparing for the next cities and occasionally venturing outside of the hotel for some fun. The goal for the season is to do something new in every city, every time I’m there.
I was lucky enough to have a great bunch of people on this trip. There were no complainers, everyone was open to new experiences and dealt with whatever happened on the road. Some things you just can’t avoid. Like when I was having my welcome meeting in Budapest and I’m telling the group we would go to a nice viewpoint after dinner. About five minutes later it starts pouring and even when we have to go to the restaurant it’s still raining so much that we half walk, half run to the restaurant, getting freezing cold and soaked.
This trip had a lot of new hostels, so a bunch of new restaurants to try out. Some I can use again, some perhaps not. In Krakow we went to a super local place, where locals and tourists alike come for proper Polish food. I had read about it in a blog and when the reception guy recommended it as well, I decided to go for it. Huge mistake! It was a self service restaurant, which is really common, but when we started ordering it turned out half the menu was not available. Of the 8 soups they had only two! So we all managed to pick something and a bit later to waitress comes to tell us we are all having cucumber soup. There wasn’t anything else available anymore. Well… we had a local experience!
I also managed to visit some new places, like the Palazzo Vecchio, where the Venetian doges used to live. It was amazing to walk through the richly decorated rooms and admire the art. In Poland I joined a walking tour through the Jewish quarter and learned more about the history of that neighbourhood. In Amsterdam I finally checked out the Foodhallen, where stalls from all cultures come together and create a great atmosphere. For my next ‘loop’, as the trip is often referred to, I will definitely plan even more. Maybe I’ll even finally get to see Anne Frank’s house, one of the most famous attractions of my country!