Guest Author - Ann Carroll Burgess
Senior Survival in Europe
Before you go, make lists, lots of lists. By doing this, you won’t be plagued by those repetitive thoughts of “did I…? List where you want to go, then go look up those places on the net or here on Bella , and find out opening times, prices, and days they are closed. I like to cut up the relevant section s and paste them into a small spiral bound notebook to take along with me. Make a list of what to do on the day of departure and check them off as you do them. No more lost sleep over whether or not you turned down the thermostat of locked the garage door.
By recognizing some age limitations, before you depart on your trip, you will save yourself some aches and pains enroute (acquired from too many uphill climbs and greater distances from one point to another than you had originally planned. We are now slower, but still eager for the journey. Here are a few tips to make the trip more pleasant and save some energy.
Travel by bus in cities such as Paris and London. Both have extensive bus networks and you won’t have to worry about too many stairs to climb. And, you will see more! Below ground the scenery is very monotonous. Remember to take a small magnifying glass to help read the small print. You can download bus maps from many cities from your computer at home before you depart. Many stations cannot be relied upon for either escalators or elevators; most of these systems were built long before such conveniences were in common use.
If you are travelling by train you can also pre check station layouts on line to discern if stairs may be a potential problem.
Bring along extra batteries, especially for hearing aids, they can be tricky to find and when you do, they are frequently much more expensive.
Check everything and everywhere for seniors discounts. In Europe most train systems offer a discount, although it may be restricted to off peak hours; museums, theatres, concert halls, and even grocery stores offer discounts. So do many hotels. It costs you nothing to ask, and may save you a lot.
Prepare for picnics, impromptu or otherwise, take along a spork (fork/spoon combination) pack a Swiss army knife in your checked luggage and use those wash cloths as napkins. You will be prepare do buy a baguette and plunk down in a park to sup, or return with goodies to your hotel room for a few hours of “feet up” to prepare for the next day of sightseeing.
Don’t expect certain amenities in European hotels such as tissues or washcloths, just pack a couple from home and reward yourself with a mental pat on the back, for being so clever as to remember such details.
Hostels are not the exclusive territory of the young; however, don’t forget there may be bunk beds for accommodations. If you ask nicely, someone will most likely trade with you if the little ladder to the top bunk is not possible. Reward their kindness with a coffee, chocolate bar or bottle of water.
Those charming castle accommodations may be located on the top of a very steep hill, are you prepared for the climb?
Backpack or wheeliebag? If you are not sure, load up your backpack and go for a day adventure at home. Can you get on and off public transportation easily with your pack on your back? You can always pour those saved Euros into another glass of wine at dinner.