You can just bumble through Europe and have fun. But if you make a point to know what's going on and where, you'll bring home more memories. And there is certainly a lot going on. Within a few steps of my Florence hotel, I enjoyed a wonderful market. Then, on the same square that evening, the cutest little girls choir I've ever tapped my toes to sang with more musical horsepower than I've ever heard.
By the way, I'm almost a month into my spring trip, and so far I've only been in Europe's "struggling" countries -- Portugal, Spain, and Italy -- far from the booming countries of the north. Consider these images (and my posts of the past few weeks) and then consider the Americans who are staying home because they think things are "unstable" over here. In a capitalist society -- in the USA or Europe -- people never feel as rich as they think they should be...and commercial media reminds us of that day after day. But as long as you feel the sun, sip the wine, and see the good in people, life sure seems sweet. In four decades of travel in Europe, I can't recall a better vibe.
This is Day 23 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Romania, and beyond. Find more at blog.ricksteves.com.