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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Never Thought I'd be Gambling

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Never Thought I'd be Gambling

Wow...what a few weeks it's been! Going from part-time to a full-time manager position makes you feel like you've been thrown to the wolves. The learning curve was steep for me, but since I had a chance to clean out the email inbox (over 300 emails)....and many of the overstuffed drawers and loose papers around the office....and made a few of my lists, I feel I am in a better position to do my work. So what do I do?

I'm a Tour Manager. I set up at least twenty day trips per month with some overnighters over the long weekends thrown in for good measure. Almost all are bus and van trips, and we go all over Germany...mostly, as well as countries that can be reached in seven hours or less, which is just over a good half dozen. It's a dream job really. Yes, we have our bread and butter sightseeing tours, but we also do what I want to do. My mind is spilling over with ideas, and I'm pretty excited about sharing some of those destinations with our community and fellow travelers.

I actually bought one of those digital voice recorders to change the subjet...and not the one where you say what row and space your car is in...but one where you can put your voicenotes in folders and can find them again. In a job with lots of moving parts and lots of ideas flowing, I think it is a necessity! I had a few nights where I did wake up thinking, oh my God, did I forget to order a bus, book a city guide and what if my tour escort doesn't show up or did I put gas in the know, the typical "I just started a new job and don't feel comfortable yet" feelings. I think this is the first weekend that was virtually low stress.

And why do I think I'm gambling? Because setting up tours is a strange bird. You set up a tour in hopes of people signing up. As it gets closer and you don't get the numbers you initially budgeted for or you get more, you start crunching the numbers. Then comes decision time? Do I cancel the tour? Do I upgrade to a larger size bus? Do I need to "buy" another city guide, because in this particular city, a city guide will only take 20 people? And other such yes, you are gambling, because twice now, I did not cancel a tour, because I had a good feeling, and both filled up at the last minute. So far I haven't lost money on a tour, but I bet it will happen, and there I will be explaining myself on the red carpet. But other than that, it's low really.

So, if you are in Europe, have been in Europe and have some great ideas to send this way, please do! I'd love to hear your thoughts! Also, if you just started a new job, please share what it has been like for you!



Blogger liberal army wife said...

I used to love the little villages - the Volksmarch villages. But may I put in a shameless plug for my grandmother's home town - Bad Homburg v.d.h. A castle where Empress Victoria loved to visit (Kaiserin Friedrich, Queen Victoria's oldest daughter) , a spa, a Siamese Temple, a Russian Chapel - and a glorious Kur Park.


February 9, 2009 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger Mila said...

that's nice job though. :)
I'm not sure where in Germany you are so I cannot throw out my ideas for trips. :) But, if you are interested in South Austria, North Italy or Croatia, I could suggest a few things. :)

February 10, 2009 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

It is a fun job, BUT it has moments of high stress when everything has to work out (and hopefully you arranged it as such).

We do go all over Europe, except maybe Southern Italy and Spain..if you have any interesting ideas, I'd love to hear them:-))

February 10, 2009 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Mila said...

I'm in a such hurry so only short: I would suggest town of Klagenfurt in southern Austria. things to do there?
shopping. LOL prices there are a bit on the high side (just like everywhere in Europe). Sightseeing. but if you are going that way you have to see "Minimundus" (1 of total 3 parks of that kind in Europe) - google it. next to Minimundus is Reptile Zoo (sharing same parking)it's worth stopping by. Than there is Lake Wörthersee.

also, smaller towns and villages there are nice to see (like Villach).

Next time - Northern It. ;)

February 16, 2009 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Mila, thanks for the wonderful tips!

February 16, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Marine Wife said...

It's been awhile since I've been there so you're probably covering all my ideas anyway, but some of the things I did that I really enjoyed (some as a child, some as an adult):
Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Liechenstein, Rhine day-cruise with visit to winery, Mittenwald, Oberammergau, the Eagles Nest, salt mine (I think it was in Berchesgarten, prob. spelling that wrong), Berlin, Lausanne. I lived in Garmisch as a kid, and it's a good destination any time of the year. My husband did a tour of Normandy while in country for just a few days and found it very worthwhile. Castles like Liechenstein. I remember my mother doing a lot of shopping tours to different factories.

Sounds like such a fun job!

February 21, 2009 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Thank you Marine Wife. We've gone to all of the locations you've mentioned except for Mittenwald...that may be something...everyone says it's like Garmisch before Garmisch got so commercialized. We try to stay away from places like Garmisch and Heidelberg (except for castle illumination time) and that is only because most Americans feel comfortable traveling to those places on their own, as there are American facilities there.

Oh those shopping trips! I have a Poland shopping trip the end of Mar and it's pretty much full at this point. We have a busload of power shoppers!

February 21, 2009 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Mila said...

I'm not sure what happened with my comment on Northern Italy. It's not published. I'm not sure how interesting that part would be for you since there is USAF base (Aviano) so I'm sure Americans (on their own) feel comfortable traveling that way. Things that I would suggest there are: Trieste (castle Miramar and caves), Tarviso (it's known for the finest leather goods and great bargains and if you're coming from Austria down to trieste and venice, it would be right on your way); Venice (nothing else needed to say), Verona (Romeo and Julia's hometown with her house and great old Italian architecture), Padova (one of my favorite places Italy, great architecture- Basilica St. Anthony and a church of female saint - cannot remember the name; then there is botanical garden, one of the oldest in the world, with plants from 15 century); Than there's Milano but Milano asks for separate Milano trip due to the amount of things to see/taste/buy there.
In that part of Italy you have Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park (with lake Barcis) for those who enjoy nature and for those who would just like to relax and have a lunch in great environment. You could just drive through it and you would have a special time seeing that nature. That's what we do: we grab some food and drive around until we find our little perfect spot for picnic. :) I'm sure I haven't mentioned it all. Oh yes, in August (around Aug 15th - Ferragosto or Assumption Day) there's a Medieval fest in a little town near Udine called Spilimbergo. It's also known as Mosaic Town.

March 2, 2009 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Wow! What a great list! Couldn't find another blog comment, so not sure what happened there. I'll have to make a note of these...thanks for taking the time.

These are some great locations. I had a trip going to Turin this past weekend, and the folks really enjoyed it.

March 2, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Mila said...

I'm glad I can help. :) I forgot to mention GardaLand (smth like European DisneyWorld) located at lake Garda. That small area at Lake Garda’s, close to Verona, has Italy’s highest concentration of theme parks, ranging from the mega-world of Gardaland to a low-key water park and safari park.

This is funny, I never thought Torino would be Turin in English. :) Guess I'm used to use Italian names. Yes, Torino/Turin is very nice! In high school, I was fan of the Turino soccer team Juventus F.C. :) Now I hate soccer. LOL

March 3, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger The Parson's Wife said...

I would love to take a tour in Martin Luther's footsteps. I know our Seminary has these tours every few years from the US. Would love to worship in one of the churches he preached in... just another idea.

March 11, 2009 at 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

We recently had a great trip to Chodova Plana, Czech Republic to stay at Chodovar Brewery and Beer Spa. Chodovar offers brewery tours and beer baths, plus other spa treatments. For one three night weekend, my husband and I spent about $300. The brewery is near Plzen and Karlovy Vary, two great cities. Karlovy Vary is especially beautiful and great for people who love spas and shopping. Prague is also reasonably close.

Getting there from Stuttgart takes about four hours.

Of course, Boleslaweic, Poland is also great. I'm sure you've already heard of The Blue Beetroot. There's a lot more to that area than Polish Pottery. My husband and I bought pottery, glass from Borowski's studio, and we visited a very interesting artist named Darius Milenski. He has an amazing art gallery.

March 12, 2009 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

You would think that would be interesting, right? We tried both Wittenberg and the Wartburg, and it just didn't generate enough interest:-((

March 12, 2009 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger liberal army wife said...

Augsburg is a beautiful place (we used to be stationed there) and ML was there for a long time too... the Fuggerei is a wonderful place to visit and the Christkindl markt is gorgeous, especially if the angels come out and blow their trumpets.

March 12, 2009 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Those were the good old days in Augsburg.

We are currently doing Prague and Karlovy Vary and of course Boleslawiec...know the Blue Beetroot well for individuals not so much with groups overnight...never heard of Chodova Plana...that sounds VERY interesting and something I will definitely check out.

March 12, 2009 at 8:47 PM  

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