Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Packing light

So rather than talk about each of our hijinx one by one, I thought I'd write a bit about things to consider when visiting Europe. One of the first things to think about when you get off the plane would be lodging. Obviously, you first want to figure out how the hell you're getting to your hotel, but let's leave that for another post, since we took just about every method known to man to get from the airport and back.

I think European hotels are the reason everyone packs so light. If the size of the rooms don't convince you, then the width of the hallways will. My friend wrote about not being able to enter a store in the UK because of the size of his backpack. The same thing applies to hotels.

Thay ain't no space in the mutha!

Going to Europe means rolling your clothes (literally) and wondering just how many pairs of socks and boxers you really need. Anything too big, and you'll be bumping into people at every turn. Forget about getting into elevators, walking through hallways, or finding space to unpack in your hotel room. Being that it was pretty cold, we had to take extra warm clothes, but we still somehow managed to pack everything for two into one roller bag. Of course, the laptop, camera equipment, and other junk added to the burden.

It's the polar opposite of travelling to India. Going to India means tracking down the biggest damned suitcases in the state and somehow fitting 70 pounds of gifts in each one. It means weighing each bag to ensure you've filled it to the max. No sense in leaving an ounce behind, afterall, you've paid a grand for the ticket so you may as well take advantage of it. Anytime I pass by Indians at airline check-in counters I fully except to see trolleys loaded with 6, 8 or even more behemoth suitcases - two for each traveller, including the baby and the parakeet. Of course, I'm quite guilty of this too, but of late, our trips to India have involved a lot less luggage.

So back to the lecture at hand...

If you haven't gotten the idea yet, things in Europe are small. Very small. Of course the cars and streets are exceedingly small. But so are the hotels. A room with enough space to walk back and forth without bumping shoulders with your companion is a gift. Don't even ask about having room to feel at home. You'll only get that if you shell out a couple of bills a night.

Keep it in mind next time you're planning a trip to the Continent.

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