Flight-Delayed's travel tip #10: Experience other cultures!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All the beautiful countries of this globe have wonderful and rich cultures to offer, each with its own special customs and traditions. With all that diversity, it would be a waste not to explore local tradition every place you visit. Of course, you could simply send a postcard of a Spanish toreador or take a whiff of a Jamón Ibérico and go 'I had that once at that tapas place back home', but that doesn't count as exploring a culture to its fullest! So follow these tips, and just maybe you'll return from your holiday not only well-rested, but also enriched. Let the explorations begin!

1. You may be exploring the European mainland this summer. If you've taken a ferry, there's a good chance you'll end up near Belgium. Most of us are familiar with cities like Antwerp and Brussels, but have you ever heard of Belgian chocolate? Or better yet: made and eaten it? Uncover the secret of real Belgian chocolate and make it yourself! That will also give you a great souvenir, and one much more enjoyable than a refrigerator magnet..

2. Travelling South from Belgium, we arrive in France - land of wine and snails.. Obviously, France is the ideal country to literally taste foreign culture, more particularly in the shape of a wine tasting. Learn the difference between a dry and supple wine and how to discover the wide array of notes a wine can have. Because drinking isn't as easy as it seems, you know! There's a special technique to it: decanting, swirling, smelling (not to mention: getting back to your hotel in one piece). This experience is not only a great way to learn about French culture, but also great practice for impressing everyone at the next office party!

3. Descend further into Europe and you'll end up in the Spanish sun. Experience the relaxed, laid-back vibe that is so typical of Southern Europe. After a day of hitting the beach, nothing is better than sitting down on a quiet terrace on a small town square and enjoying a flamenco being played on a Spanish guitar against the setting sun. And if you enjoy listening to this, imagine how much you will enjoy playing it yourself! Why not take a few guitar lessons from a Spaniard and learn how to play with some true Spanish temperament. (And for male readers: serenade your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband, and your holiday will really be a smash hit.)


4. In the South of Europe we also find Italy. Everyone loves pizza. And as everyone knows, the real Italian pizza is made in Italy - Naples to be more specific. In Naples, pizzas don't come from a freezer, but straight from a brick oven. Why not experience the real thing and bake your own pizza and put it in one of the huge ovens yourself? (Just make sure not to burn yourself, or it'll become an entirely different experience..) Of course, after this, you'll never be able to enjoy your clump of frozen supermarket sadness the way you used to. But that's a small price to pay for personal growth.

5. Way beyond the border of Europe, there's a glorious country divided between rich and poor, and filled with the most stunning nature: India. One of this country's most important animals (besides cows) is the elephant. It may look terrifying, but you haven't quite experienced India until you have seen it from an elephant's back! You're guaranteed never to forget this (literally) tremendous experience.