At Extraordinary Adventures, we say that we plan "Culturally authentic, locally immersive European travel for the curious, middle-aged explorer - alone or with friends, but always on their terms." But, what does that mean? In this and the next few blog posts, we're going to explore what that means and how that creates an extraordinary adventure for YOU!
Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? What do we mean by "Culturally Authentic?" To understand that, we need to break that phrase down further.
What is "culture?"
Even if the human species is genetically the same, the expression of those genes is influenced by our parents, our schooling, our community, the ambitions we strive after, and even the weather and the landscape we're surrounded by growing up. Clearly, those are not the same everywhere on our planet.
The Italians differ from Germans who differ from the English who all differ from Americans, and so on. We're not raised the same, our schools are not the same, and our communities vary. We may grow up in frigid climates or more temperate ones. We may live by rivers and valleys or bogs and crags. If you scratch the surface of some countries, you'll find a Nordic past. While in others, you'll find a Roman one.
Those influences play a huge role in the things we desire to achieve. Those achievements, combined with the achievements of others, collectively become our culture. Moreover, that which we seek for entertainment varies and together that, too, helps make up our culture. After all, it's only half an adventure to explore the great histories of nations. You must also enjoy the modern ways the people eat, drink, sing, dance, love, and play.
To us, the cultural differences are a big part of what makes traveling to foreign lands so extraordinary. We work very hard to not place you in American-style hotels. We seek out quintessential experiences so you'll come home feeling like you traveled to an extraordinary land. Do you really want to go to Italy and hit up the nearest Starbucks? No knock on Starbucks, but YOU'RE IN ITALY!!! Go to the small cafes that locals go to. Drink the local flavors and strike up a conversation with an Italian. Meet the owner and appreciate that you're given back to the local community. (More on that in the next part.)
If you want the McDonald's/Starbucks/Holiday Inn experience, we may not be the best travel agency for you. We would never presume to tell you what to enjoy or how to travel, but that's not our niche. We focus instead on the Irish pub, the Austrian Biergarten, and the English B&B. If you want to experience authentic culture, that's how you do it.
It's not all just stuffy museums. It's those, but it's also city parks, nightclubs, street food, and climbing the steep hills to explore ancient castles. (You'll get a little exercise in so you'll be able to eat and drink more!) It's about people, not just things and places. European architecture is incredible, but a chat with an old Scot is enchanting! The Louvre has breathtaking art, but yelling "Prost!" at the Oktoberfest in Deutschland will be a cherished memory for life!
A bit of advice: when you go to Europe, don't bring America with you. Open yourself to the new and different. Don't say, "But, that's not how we do it in America." Try it their way! They've been doing it far longer than we have, and they've made it work. More than that, they've made it extraordinary!
I hope the idea of "culturally authentic" is as appealing to you as it is to us. If so, then we're the right travel agency for you, and we'd feel privileged to plan your next extraordinary adventure!
Next week, we'll explore "locally immersive." Stay tuned...
Seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling... That's only a part of the story of travel. Meeting people, making memories with them, and laughing your asses off together is another extraordinary part. The countless people we've met have all become cherished chapters in our travel book. Our Aussie friends here at the Oktoberfest in Munich are no exception! There is no cure for this condition of mine called "Wanderlust," especially when fun, wonderful people like this keep infecting me more! Share your stories of the people you've met while traveling. We'd love to hear them!
In this week's "Travel Tip," I'll share with you one last "Do & Don't" that doesn't fall squarely into either the "Do" or the "Don't" category, and that is to "Reserve or Not Reserve a Seat in a Tent at Oktoberfest." (By the way, we cover this in this week's episode of EA Radio as well as our weekly email newsletter.) There are definitely pros and cons to both.
I could compare all day, but this is supposed to culminate in an actionable tip, so here goes...
I suggest you do both! Yes, there is that option. You don't have to do one or the other. Your best bet for experiencing the entire Oktoberfest is to get a good guide. And, that is my tip! We had one and he was irreplaceable. His name is Jake and he is our preferred guide for Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle, Oktoberfest, and more. He has packages which include the learning, the tours, the history, etc, but also include the food, the beers, and the life inside and outside the tents.
When you're on any vacation, there are always times to save and there are always times to splurge. Splurging for Jake's tours should be high on your list! We love Jake because Jake helps us turn your ordinary trip into an EXTRAordinary adventure!
Are YOU ready to go to Oktoberfest? Send me an email today and let's get your EXTRAordinary vacation planned!
To view the show transcript, click on "Read More"
This week's "Travel Tip" could apply anywhere there are variations in the weather (Scotland comes to mind as experiencing all four seasons in one day), and it definitely applies in Bavaria: dress in layers!
You could easily wake up in Munich in the morning and it's chilly, but by midday, it's downright hot outside, only to get cold again in the evening. It's unrealistic to think you'll keep going back to your hotel to change, so dress in layers. This applies even more if you take a day trip to the Zugspitze. We were at the base of the mountain and it was shorts weather. We got to the top and I was shivering! Laura was better prepared and didn't feel the cold as much as I did. The silver lining to this black cloud was that I had an excuse to buy more hot bratwurst and Glühwein! As if I really needed an excuse.
Bonus Tip: Glühwein, for the uninitiated out there, is hot, spiced, red wine that Germans drink when the temperature drops but they still want to be outside, like at their wünderbar Christmas Markets!
To view the show transcript, click on "Read More"