What Was Your 1st European City?

Aug 30th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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1970, Malaga, Spain. Actually Easter week in Torremolinas with a charter group of Ohio teachers for $199 per person, including deluxe hotel, airfare, and 2 meals a day.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Paris. 1981. Long two-stop AF flight from Hong Kong (HKG-BOM-DXB-CDG).

CDG T1 was so modern and exciting at that time. Saw the Concorde there too.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Paris, more than 40 years ago. Had a six or seven hour layover at Orly and in those days with no security, a trip into Paris was doable. Another gal I met on the plane who was also alone and I somehow figured out how to go into the city and ended up near Notre Dame. I was blown away that I was actually there and that it looked like pictures I had seen. We went in hesitantly. Mass was going on and we took seats quietly and tried to be unobtrusive. It was the also the first time that I realized how selfish tourists could be. Many were walking around, talking, taking pictures with flash, and just generally unobservant that it was a religious site. We stayed to the end of mass and then went out to find a small cafe where we had breakfast. An elderly (or at least I thought elderly then; my criteria for elderly has risen considerably over the years) French woman sat down with us. We chatted and I was amazed that I actually understood much of what she had to tell us and that I could make myself understood. I have been lucky enough to be able to revisit Paris at a more leisurely pace since then, but still have barely scratched the surface.

The first city I actually stayed in was Salzburg (same trip). I was there to study German at a 6 week course. Salzburg was incredible. I have been back several times since then.

That whole summer I think I went around with my mouth open with the wonder of actually being there after years of wanting to go. When I was growing up, my mother had posted a map of the world on our kitchen wall and she would tell stories about all the wonderful places in the world. As soon as I could read, I was fascinated with maps and the idea of travel.

Even though I grew up in a small New England town on a farm and went to a small NE college, I knew that somehow someday I would go. I was so lucky to be able to get my first taste the summer between my junior and senior year in college. I am truly grateful to my parents for encouraging this interest.

My mom and dad got some traveling in during the 70's and 80's, but Dad was not too thrilled with traveling. When he came home after WWII, he just wanted to settle down and get to know the family he had been away from for three years and mom would not travel without him.
irishface is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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We landed in Munich in October '91, picked up a rental car, started driving and didn't stop until we were across the alps and in Merano (gorgeous town, but not really a 'city').

I proceeded to bolt out of the car, walk up to the car park attendant, and ask (in my best phrase-book Italian) "can we park here overnight?" Of course, he didn't speak a word of Italian...or English for that matter. Awkward introduction to Europe.

A couple of nights later, we stayed in Verona...so that would qualify as my first actual Euro city experience. And I loved it. Terrific city to explore on foot!
mr_go is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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London, 1971 -- a semester abroad. I loved the medieval remnants in the City -- the effigies in Temple Church particularly. Also bangers and mash and the Wimpy egg burger (gone . . . gone forever). Given the state of American beer at the time, Watney's Red Barrel was a revelation! Oh, and you can get a buzz from the cider! Returned 16 years later as a Foreign Service Officer.

At the end of that semester I took the train from London to Rome. Stopped in Paris for a n hour or two and walked a few blocks. Took 17 years to get back. Fell asleep in the train and woke up coming through the Alps. Arrived at Rome's Termini at night and found a pensione from a friendly tout . . . but that's a second city . . .
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Neo Patrick, I think I took a similar tour during the same time but as a high school student. I drank alot on that 10 day trip so I remember very little.

So 30 years later I now count as my first trip because I can remember and appreciate so much more.

I landed in Rome spent a whirlwind 2.5 days and then went on to the Amalfi coast. Ever since this trip I believe I should have been born in Italy.

I have been back to Italy 5 times since and don't plan to stop!

grosenb is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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April 2001, PARIS! I couldn't believe I/we were there. My husband planned and booked it as a surprise for our 10th Anniversary! We took the Air France bus to the Gare du Nord (I think) and while wandering looking for our hotel we got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower between some buildings and I was hooked.
jscarbary is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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1961: London via Southampton, where I disembarked from my 7 day voyage across the ocean.
I was a college student and was pretty much in awe of the whole experience that summer--8 countries in 8 weeks. I was on a tour with 10 other young people from all over the country. Not many from my college had ever been to Europe, but I was so impressed that my tour-mates, mostly from New England, were running into friends all over Europe. It was an eye-opening experience for this "girl" from W. PA. I've had wonderful trips since then, but there's nothing like going to Europe when you're young!
grandmere is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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1987, Milan -- part of a whirlwind 5-day business trip to Milan/Rome. I'd been to the UK several times, but never to Europe. I'll never forget standing, jet-lagged, on a cobblestone street with a Roman arch, and thinking, "Oh God, I'm in Europe." In my mind's eye I had an aerial view of myself standing in Milan on a map of the world. Next time in Italy was a long vacation -- and there's another one coming up in October!!
kagoo is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Angers, France, 1974...our first overnight stop on a student tour (we landed at CDG, then boarded the tour bus straight for Angers). The 2* hotel where we stayed is still in business.

The attitude toward (American) group student travel in Europe sure has changed from the 1970s. My group, all kids aged 14-17, included two winery tours and most nights we were encouraged to try a glass of the local wine with dinner. Now group student tours are full of "no alcohol" rules.

Anyway, loved Angers then, still love it now!
BTilke is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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London, 1992. And, it's always been my favorite! Heading there in 8 days, too... =)
hlocke1 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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My first european city was London.
i've gone back numerous times, and still love it.
nanabee is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Cortina d'Ampezzo, March 1996 - arrived in the middle of the night, got a couple hours of sleep and threw open the shutters at dawn. Jaw-dropping, spectacular view of the Dolomiti with the snow pink from sunrise.
Dayle is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Braunschweig, Germany in 1966 when I was born.
quokka is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Munich - 2007
J_Correa is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Spring 1985, Rome. I was with a group from my high school and it was definitely a "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" type of tour.

It was my first taste of Europe and traveling and I was bitten hard by the travel bug on that trip! Since then have made several trips to other parts of Europe and the world...there's is always a trip being planned in my head!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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June 1969 - Paris - 16 years old

The song that plays in brain from that trip is Zager and Evans "In The Year 2525." It seemed to be playing everywhere (at least that's how I remember).

The first afternoon in Paris I had a Wimpy's hamburger. At dinner my dad, wanting me to be adventurous in my dining, bet I wouldn't eat a plate of snails. Always competitive, I took his dare, and learned that trying new foods was not only fun, but delicious.

On that trip, we also visited Lucerne, Interlaken, Basel, a castle somewhere in Northern Germany, Copenhagen, all my relatives in Oslo, Bergen and other parts of Norway and ended in London.

Europe has been in my blood ever since, and I still love escargot.

maitaitom is online now  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Like the OP, Reykyavik was my first in 1996.
travel2live is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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London in 2002. I snagged an excellent deal because travel was still staggering from the aftermaths of September 11 and London, like many places, saw a decrease in travel so they were offering specials. I loved London and have been hooked on Europe since.

tcreath is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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Barcelona--2000. Had just finished college and went to visit my best friend who was finishing up her study abroad program. After the 1st big lunch complete with wine and followed by a siesta, I remember thinking: "I could get used to this." I was hooked on Europe right away and have been steadily adding to the list ever since.
sessa is offline  

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