Alternatively titled, “All the Things That Somehow Didn’t Fit Into Daily Recaps.”
1. I was (pleasantly) surprised by how friendly the Euro to U.S. Dollar conversion rate was while we were in Europe. One Euro was worth about $1.12 or $1.13, which was much nicer than the British Pound to U.S. Dollar conversion rate (closer to one pound equaling roughly $1.30). Based on that, I’m glad we opted to spend most of our time in Euro-using countries!
2. I reconfigured my budget after we got home to eliminate my Europe Trip line item, and it made me really sad. I’ve been saving for this trip pretty much since I started working “real” jobs, and it’s weird to not have to save for it anymore. I’m tempted to keep putting my usual amount per paycheck into my Europe fund even though I don’t have one in mind right now, because I really, really want there to be a next time. Though that money could go to better use over the next few months, as I have some gigantic, much less exciting expenses coming up.
3. We stayed in four hotels in two different countries, and not a single one of those hotels had 1) washcloths or 2) clocks in the room. Not having a clock wasn’t the end of the world, since my Fitbit and phone were more than capable of quickly telling me the time, but not having washcloths drove me nuts! How was I supposed to shower?! I already feel like I’m slumming it in hotels when I use washcloths (I use a loofah at home), but to not have anything made me long for American hotels and their washcloths.
4. I was way too pampered on those transatlantic flights. Both trips were on 757s, and apparently spending 15.5ish hours on a 757 (between the flight to London and the flight home from Amsterdam) was enough for me to get used to that kind of space, because when I traveled this past weekend via 737s, I was like, “What IS this poor excuse for an airplane?!?” Ha. I flew economy both ways on the Europe trip, but the economy cabin was set up in a 2-3-2 configuration, so if you weren’t in that middle aisle, you either had a window or an aisle seat: no middle seats. I was all about that 2-3-2 arrangement! I was legitimately surprised when I got up to go to the bathroom during the flight at 1) how short of a walk it was to the back of the plane and 2) how few bathrooms there were. I cannot believe how much two flights on a 757 skewed my size expectations!
I was also all about all of that food service. On both flights, us peons in economy got one hot meal, dessert after said hot meal (lemon sorbet on the way to London, honey ginger ice cream (it was…weird) on the way home), a pretty generous snack 90 minutes or so before arrival (croissant and yogurt on the way there, a sandwich and pathetic stroopwafel on the way home – though obviously any pre-packaged, refrigerated stroopwafel was going to be pathetic after the fresh-off-the-griddle ones I was treated to in Nederland), plus the mid-flight drinks/little snacks you get on your run-of-the-mill domestic flight. I suppose we didn’t get that much attention during the middle of the flights, but overall, it felt like the flight attendants came by a lot more often than I’m used to. So when I flew domestically this past weekend and it took like an hour and a half to get my usual in-flight Sprite, I was, once again, all, “What IS this poor excuse for in-flight service?!?” Get over yourself, Bethany.
5. While in England, I got a very unexpected text from…my brother? Sister? Someone in my family…that we had upgraded our family cellular plan to unlimited data (this, after years of fighting over our 15 gigs spread out among five people!), and got a six-month trial of Apple Music as a result. I had no idea why this was happening (I have since discovered it was due to my brother’s bonkers use of data), but I was happy to give Apple Music a try, so I signed up after I got home.
In poking around Apple Music, I discovered that they have Top 100 radio stations from just about any country you can think of, including Nederland! I don’t need to listen to the Top 100 songs in the U.S. on my phone–I can get those just by walking into my office building’s lobby, which pipes in pop music every day–but I certainly don’t have routine access to popular music in the Netherlands, so I gave it a listen. A lot of the music is the same stuff you’d hear on the radio here: not a surprise, since plenty of songs I knew came up on the radio when we were driving around in our rental car. But there were also, of course, some songs in Dutch, which really didn’t do anything to alleviate my newfound and ongoing desire to be Dutch (in more than just heritage), but I really enjoyed listening to! This is my current favorite:
I…have like no idea what most of it means, though there’s an English translation in the comments that I assume is accurate.
Listening to Top 100: Nederland regularly also enabled me to correctly answer the question about the winner of Eurovision in the New York Times weekly news quiz a couple of weeks ago (it wanted to know where Duncan Laurence was from. I knew it was the Netherlands, because the song he apparently won Eurovision with what has been the top song for a few weeks now.), and when I correctly answered it, only 39 percent of respondents had gotten it right, so *hair flip*