I take a lot of pictures when traveling, so many in fact, that I forget about half of them. So, I find myself looking through my saved photos and Snaps from time to time, rediscovering forgotten travel memories. Just today, I came across one Snap that made me realize something cool about my recent experience sailing with Viking River – it was an unbelievably international experience…
I mean, this Snap very effectively paints a portrait of what my Viking River sailing was – international. And I loved it. For me, I travel to experience life outside of the “Boca bubble,” I want to do and see things that are far removed from what I know. Of course, on the surface, it’s easy to say that a river cruise through Europe would obviously be an international experience, just based on the fact it visits foreign countries. I mean this in a different way, that simply cruising along Europe’s waterways opened me to experiences from around the globe.
Last April, I sailed with Viking River Cruises, a Norwegian heritage company, on a Swiss flagged river ship, the Viking Lif, named after the Norwegian god Lif. Our itinerary sailed from Amsterdam to Budapest, calling in small villages and big cities throughout the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Over those two weeks, I grew close to fellow guests from my own United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. We dined on dishes from all around the world, listened to music from some of Europe’s greatest composers, and read books by authors from just about every continent. Our amazing crew hailed from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, and the Philippines. Just by talking to the guests and crew, I learned about so many places called “home,” I added numerous cities to my bucket list by the end of my two weeks aboard Viking Lif!
In just two weeks, aboard one river ship, with about 300 people, I experienced a world tour of cultures and nationalities. I learned about so many places and cultures, simply through the experience of the river cruise itself – whether it was learning about the soul of Vienna by exploring her stone paved streets, sitting down with Leonard our Program Director and sharing our stories of international adventure, or by grabbing a book off the shelf from Viking’s library and learning about a random city I had never heard of. To me, that is travel – exposing yourself to every opportunity to learn and grow, even as your traveling. It’s not just enough to go somewhere, it’s about the details, the moments, and the people. My Grand European Tour with Viking didn’t just take me to a few cities in Europe, it took me across the globe.
“I’m a little like Marco Polo, going around and mixing cultures.”
– Gianni Versace