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Polina Price

New York, New York Travel Agent

Insider Europe

Europe is far more than museums and monumental architecture. If you know where to look, you can see the traditions of the past come to life right before your eyes.  

One of the most amazing events occurs in the small villages of Switzerland at the end of every summer. In this colorful and timeless tradition, cows are decked out with floral crowns and fancy cowbells and paraded down from the mountain pastures through the villages of the valley, where they will spend the winter. Local dress in their embroidered national costume and the celebration includes dancing, folk music, yodeling and flag-twirling along with vendors selling traditional cheeses and other regional specialties.  

Another fun way to jump into local traditions is to take a class or dine with locals. In Vienna, I have arranged for families to take waltz classes or learn to make Venetian pastries. I also know a woman who teaches crocheting in Venice. And in Malta, you can join a British travel writer and his boyfriend for lunch or dinner in their historic home. 

Italy is filled with opportunities for cooking classes and culinary experiences. In Florence, several local chefs offer cooking classes, and there are locals who will take you to the market, and then bring you back to their home to cook and dine with their family. I also know places where you can go truffle hunting with either pigs or dogs, depending on the locale, and then cook a meal with the truffles you picked and dine with your host. 

Greece is a country with many sides. You can enjoy history and culture in Athens and historic sites like Olympia and Delphi and then go island hopping. Most people want to see Santorini for its beauty, and Mykonos for its renowned nightlife, and there are many laid-back islands that are like the Greece of old and far less expensive. 

Similarly, I have my favorite hideaway spots along the French Riviera and can suggest wonderful country houses and castles in Ireland. And while London is high on most travelers’ wish lists, there are also some delightful smaller cities and towns. In Bath and its surrounding countryside, for example, it is easy to feel like you’ve stepped back into a Jane Austin novel. 

For active vacationer, I can suggest wonderful country inns and hotels that offer bikes on loan. There are also upscale tours that provide quality bikes and varied itineraries, with back-up van service in case you want to take a day off from riding.  

In planning a trip to Europe, I usually suggest allowing time to sit in a café and people-watch or stroll through a neighborhood and make your own discoveries. Please give me a call when you are ready to plan your next trip to Europe. 

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