Something happens to me the minute my feet touch ground in Europe. Back at home, I’m all about winging it, and usually don’t make plans for my travels much past arrival and departure date. It usually works out awesomely. You see sights and meet people you never would have otherwise. On occasion you end up sleeping in a cramped car at a rest stop, or like that one time in Memphis… but that’s a story for another time.
In Europe, the minute I’ve flashed my European passport at a sleepy border patrol agent and gotten me and my liquid-free self into the Schengen zone, I get hit with a case of planning anxiety. Where to stay? How to get there? How to get gas? Food? Sleep? Car? Train? Ferry? Coffee? Coffee now? Or later?
Because in Europe my friend, you don’t wing it. At least not in any of the countries that border Germany (and yes Germany, I am blaming you for this). You have to have reservations. You have to show up on time. You have to park within the line and you have to feed the parking meter. I’ve been vacationing in Denmark for the past few days and it’s been mostly ok (apart from the parking meter anal-retentiveness). Traveling back we have a bit of a weird itinerary, Sunday from Denmark to Amsterdam, and then Monday morning from Amsterdam to the US. So a night in Amsterdam, a little vacation with the husband before we both go nuts with work for a few weeks. But instead of looking forward to it, I’ve been panicking because I hadn’t booked a hotel. And really… seriously… of all places in Europe, Amsterdam is the easiest one to find a place to crash.
Then, instead of going nuts over it, I just booked a hotel. That little piece of planning did wonders for my sanity, so I went ahead and planned the next 48 hrs too. Just loosely, but I have a rough draft. My inner European feels so much better that I might actually be able to enjoy the rest of my vacation.