Like many would-be travelers, I had hoped to traipse around Europe on $5 a day right after high school. I didn’t have $5 a day and, even more importantly, could never have afforded the air fare there and back. So, I’ve yet to see as much of Europe as I would like although three trips to the continent have given me a taste of a few of its many cultures and histories.

During our twenty-six month round the world trip (2006-2008) we skipped Europe because we had been there a few times, it was extremely expensive because of the strong Euro, and we figured we could travel there when we old and half incapacitated. That wasn’t as true for South America, Africa and Asia and so Europe was, sadly, left off of the list of forty countries we would see.

It is no wonder that Europeans are so well traveled and speak so many languages. It is incredibly easy to travel with transportation infrastructure unparalleled in the world, most people speaking some of my languages (French, English & Spanish), and highly sophisticated tourism marketing. With so many small countries the traveler thinks he can see a dozen a week. But each is so dense with architecture, culture, arts, food, shopping, nature, etc. that it takes a lot longer than expected to get to know a place. I would rather take my time and see them throughout my lifetime than to rush around and try to see them all in a few months.

Countries we’ve visited in Europe: