What Was Your 1st European City?

Aug 30th, 2007, 07:35 AM
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What Was Your 1st European City?

I often think back to the very first time i set foot on European soil- in my case European volcanic pumice as on my first trip i took Icelandair and landing in Reykyavik and did their Hotel Loftleidir flight/hotel stopover package.

Iceland was a shock - no trees on the long bus ride from the U.S. militlary airbase at Keflavik and the terrain was bleak - piles of volcanic rock - a college student from the mid-west had never seen nor imagined such a desolate landscape.

Reykyavik thus was my first European town - and it too was memorable - kind of an outpost in the Arctic but surprisingly warm for early May, 1969. I learned that it rarely got below freezing and the temps were a fairly stead 40 low - 55 high most of the year.
What surprised me most in Reykyavik were the many young men with very long hair - even though it was the 60s everyone young here looked like a long-haired Beatles clone.

The airline's hotel, Hotel Lofteidir was my first European hotel - really a modern motel but with a great breakfast buffet - lots of fishy stuff, etc.

Two days later i took the bus back to Keflavik to fly to Luxembourg, my first really Continental European city and i thought, with its deep gorge, it was the most beautiful city i had ever seen.

Of course it would soon be eclipsed by many other places but still remains dear in my heart.

What was you first city - how did it strike you and when was it?
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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Helsinki in 1967.

Lovely town.
ira is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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My first European experience was in landing in Brussels at the start of a month long architectural tour of Western Europe during college in 1992. We spent no time in the city but simply got in our rental vans and headed toward Paris seeing a few cathedrals along the way. What an experience that trip was.
Wekiva is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Munich. First trip, landed and somehow figured out to take the train into town. We didn't know which stop to get off, so just randomly picked one. After wandering around to find an "exit" sign, we walked up the steps and we were in front of the glockenspiel! We couldn't have picked a better stop. It was the first of many sites that brought tears to my eyes and made me thankful that I am able to travel.
cls2paris is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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My first was in 1993, landed in Amsterdam on the way to Zurich! Will never forget how overawed I was!!
Rd is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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My first European city was Le Havre, because we used to come on the boat. I was 2 years old. I actually have crossed the Atlantic by ship 9 times.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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London, 1997. We were met at Heathrow by a dear friend we had not seen for a few years and it made it all the more special to share it with him (and for him to share his city with us). We have since returned a couple of more times and added many more cities to the places we've been but that will always be special.
bfrac is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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My first one was London, 1969. Then flew to Paris. 1969 was not a good year for Americans to visit Paris.... I've been back a few times since then - MUCH better now!!!
Debi is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Florence, Italy late 1966, at the time of the Great Flood. An experience of being confronted with great beauty in the throes of a disaster.

Alloro_beata is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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Provence was the first foreign soil outsite Italy that I have visited when I was a teen.
I Spent the summer in Avignon at my cousin house.

I was so happy that after all these years studying French in school I was able to practice the language.
kismetchimera is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Naples - 1952. Overturned and sunken ships in the harbor. Ragged kids. Miles and miles of bombed-out ruins south of the city alongside railways yards.
USNR is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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Chamonix in France, January 1999. I had wanted to go to Europe since I was little, and I was so excited to finally be there. Well, England was my first choice, but they don't have much for skiing. The most important thing I learned was that the French really aren't rude or mean or evil in general. I admit I was a little leery of that but my fears were pretty much unfounded.
Poohgirl is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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Athens in 1979. And I hated it. Although I'd wanted to go to Greece ever since Grade 5, I underestimated how dirty and noisy an ancient city can be. And the language barrier was enormous in those days - it was 'all Greek to me'! We loved Corfu tho' and Paxos, and seeing Knossos on Crete. Have never returned.
rickmav is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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An 11-hour layover in Amsterdam, then on to Munich before heading to several more cities/countries. I was 15 years old and immediately smitten.
Statia is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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Paris, December 2000. I'll never forget the feeling of "I'm really here!"

gracie04 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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Dublin, 19**. Born there.

First city after that: Glasgow, 19**+4. Abiding memories: playgrounds locked on Sunday; the underground; a big placid dog that scared the shit out of me.
Padraig is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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Paris...and it was this past April! I adored it and was so happy that it lived up to my expectations (Paris had been my dream destination for as long as I can remember!). That same trip we were also able to travel a bit in Switzerland - although I loved Paris, Switzerland had me in awe! Since then we have been to Edinburgh and London...however, I don't think anything can compare to my first trip.
McAllister is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Limerick, Ireland - 1967. I remember being taken by my traveling companion's uncle to a jewelry store to buy a "cross and chain." I don't remember much else about Limerick (and after reading Angela's Ashes, maybe it's for the better).

We continued to travel to 8 other countries and many cities on that trip, but nothing compared to that day landing at Shannon for the very first time.
Celiaanne is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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Waldsassen (sp?)Germany on the way to Prague in 1999. We landed in Milan, got in a car and drove non-stop to that tiny town for the night before heading into Prague.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Naples in 1961 - I was 14 and on a "round-the-world" trip with family (space available via my Air Force dad) - after that on through Europe and home.

As an adult more appreciative of things (not that I wasn't when I was 14 - after all I studied then but couldn't enjoy the wine ), Vienna in 1988 (not counting Frankfurt airport layover).

knoxvillecouple is offline  

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