Are the Best Parts of Travel found in the Small Differences?

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The everyday delights of visiting a friend in a small village in Germany

One of my favorite things about visiting friends abroad is getting to experience home life in their country.

I love staying with my friend Rita and her family in Germany. German homes, neighborhoods, and food are so different than what I grew up with, so each experience is an adventure.

When I slip out of bed in the morning, my bare feet hit heated tile floors instead of carpet, linoleum or wood.

Instead of oatmeal or cereal for breakfast, we have open-faced sandwiches on dense, dark bread with sliced cucumber and tomato.

Strolling through the neighborhoods I spy wonderful crisscrossed fences instead of the white-picket or chain-link I see each day in America.

Even running errands is fun when we pick up paper products or batteries by entering wonderful exposed-beam buildings that look straight out of a fairytale.

Perusing German grocery stores is one of the highlights of my trip, wandering the aisles and picking up wonderful things like cherry vanilla tea (kirsche vanille), premade pelemeni (dumplings filled with minced meat or mashed potato), and exotic looking bottles of chocolate-flavored soda.

Rita laughs at my excitement about such things as I snap pictures of objects she sees every day, but it’s just payback for all the fascinating American traffic lights, street signs, and semi-trucks I had to stop for her to photograph when she visited me in California.

Now it’s your turn: Please share what everyday things delight you when you’re traveling abroad?

* Photos by Krista Bjorn, all rights reserved

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About the author

I am a wood-burning artist, goat farmer, writer and photographer of all things food, travel, and lifestyle. Born in Canada, raised in the USA, and shaped by my European roots, I now live on a goat farm in Queensland, Australia with my husband, where I celebrate anything that leads to healing, thriving, and loving. For more visit: Rambling Tart

16 thoughts on “Are the Best Parts of Travel found in the Small Differences?”

  1. Oh, the small things are so exciting. When I first moved to Miami, I couldn’t (and still can’t) get enough of the Cuban holes in the walls and the pastries they serve as well as the tiny cups with black coffee. Don’t laugh: I gaped at the yellow schooll buses and even the language fascinated me. I was surprised to hear that everything is ‘shipped’, not delivered. I imagined my groceries from Publix swimming by on a small boat along the Miami river which flows just below my condo.

  2. Couldn’t agree more – it IS the smaller things that we appreciate. Right now I’m in Tacoma, a town totally overlooked, but here in every nook and cranny is some amazing piece of glass art. Now excuse me while I go back to taking pictures =)

  3. That is great, Andy! I totally agree with you about Tacoma. I’ve heard such wretched things about it, but every time I visit I’m entranced by the wonderful old buildings and, as you pointed out, the gorgeous glass. Happy picture taking! 🙂

  4. Big fan of the grocery store. Just went to little market near where we are staying here in Vogogna today… so much fun trying to figure out what everything is!

  5. I’m sure there are so many more things than I can remember right now, but my husband and I get excited about new plants and birds. It’s hard to miss them, and when they’re so different from what we have at home, it makes walking around a new city very interesting. Another little thing, besides going to a new grocery store, is buying new cereal to have for breakfast in the mornings.

  6. Shereen, Me too! I hosted a visitor from Hawaii once and they kept taking pictures of squirrels… i got it immediately 😉

  7. I’m a huge fan of grocery stores, and especially love checking out the cookie aisle in foreign countries. I’m a big fan of signs, too, especially the little shop signs that hang above the entrance.

  8. There is nothing like being with a local in a small town! I personally love food experience. It’s great to have something you’re not used to for breakfast, to check out the special restaurants locals love. I also love wandering the grocery stores and looking at the packaging for products. Plus, I love to just sit and people watch.

  9. I have mixed feelings about Germany. I have a feeling that I won’t like the major cities, however I think I would love small towns like this. Lovely photos.

  10. I lived in Germany for several years and loved it. We lived in the small town of Babenhausen which is a farming community in central Germany. I miss a lot of the little things like eating their chocolates which is a glorious experience unto itself. It is a different kind of life and I enjoyed it very much. Plus, Germany is beautiful.

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