Europe is a complex mosaic of different landscapes, histories and cultures. It oozes excitement, variety, and most importantly, adventure.
Within an area roughly the same size as Canada, there are f44 countries to explore, each offering a distinctly unique experience that can satisfy even the most exacting traveller.
I have spent many years exploring Britain and mainland Europe, and compared to the beautiful and vast Yukon, the most striking aspect of this exploration is how fast things change geographically. The scenery, the people, the dialect; you name it, it changes.
And it doesn’t just change from country to country, it changes from village to village, creating a seemingly endless array of life that is bursting with culture and steeped in history.
Within this vast array of life, everyone finds a hidden gem. That little piece of paradise that makes you return again and again and urges you to keep moving and exploring.
It could be a small fishing village on a Scottish isle where everyone gathers in the pub at night to share their stories over good ale. It could be a walled medieval town in the German Alps where the locals line the biergarten and dance to traditional folk music.
Or, it could be a rolling vineyard in the Italian countryside where grapes grow around your bedroom window and locals play backgammon in the shade.
Wherever the gem may be, it is guaranteed to offer an ambience that is impossible to find anywhere else.
Yet while the surroundings constantly change, the past is preserved and celebrated. The ancient and complex history of Europe dates back millennia, and is marked by the rise and fall of empires, ruling families, religions, and regimes, each of which imparted their own unique cultural flavor.
This dynamic history is displayed in the intricate architecture, art, language, religion and cuisine of Europe, and is ripe for rediscovery by any ready traveller.
Of course, one of the best ways to get an immediate taste of a country is to celebrate with the locals at one of the thousands of cultural heritage festivals that take place throughout the year.
Whether it’s bull running through cobbled streets during the San Fermin festival in Spain, drinking steins of delicious beer during Oktoberfest in Germany, attending a masquerade ball during Carnevale in Italy, or watching ballet and opera at the Hellenic Festival in Greece, there is a festival to suit, excite, and educate everyone.
Getting off the beaten track will richly reward those travellers who want to experience a more authentic Europe. Here you will find deeply patriotic people who often embrace traditional music, dress and lifestyles
Indeed, some of my fondest memories are from travelling around rural Austria. Here, if you fancy a glass of milk, you simply find a cow in a field, milk it, and leave money in a bucket.
I’m not sure if there was something special about those cows, but that remains the most delicious milk I’ve ever had.
In fact, whenever you find a piece of authentic Europe, you’ll find yourself saying things like, “That pizza is outstanding”, “This cheese is unreal”, or “That wine is divine”.
And it’s true, the food and the drink will be delicious, but there’s more to it than that. It’s the combination of the scenery and the unique culture that makes whatever you’re doing (even if it is just drinking milk), a truly memorable experience.
So if you’re looking for a wide variety of unique and memorable experiences packed into a small, traversable area (an area that seems especially compact when you are used to driving for days in the Yukon), visit Europe.
What’s more, with direct flights between Frankfurt and Whitehorse, you can embark on your very own European adventure today.