All Of Europe In Just One Week

When I was a kid we used to make fun of people who booked a 5-8 day tour of Europe, landing in Paris on Monday, train to Zurich and Lucerne on Tuesday, Rome on Wednesday, etc. Conventional wisdom was it took between 2 weeks and 2 years to see a country.

Suddenly, at one moment, I saw the point. I was talking to or watching someone who had done one of these trips. The point was that this person had a VisceralImage? of Rome. They had actually been there, heard the raucous sounds, had the smell of the place. Talking with such a person about Rome is quite different from talking about Rome with someone who has never seen it. A person who has not been there has no anchor for the information. So the retinal image (complete with sound and smell) is incredibly valuable.

The intent is not to understand the lifestyle and literature of 10 cultures. It is to imprint the taste or sight of a place to anchor other information.

(P.s. This page started because of the discussion on GettingUpToSpeed. One of the small goals of a getting up to speed talk might be to create a visceral image of the domain).

-- AlistairCockburn


Which Rome did he see? The one that smells of dirty laundry or the part that smells of fish and fresh olives, or the stuffy Roman road, at the outskirts of town? What kind of music did he hear? I prefer to talk to someone who read a good book at the local Italian restaurant to talking to someone who ate at Mac Donald's after a two-hour fast rush through the Vatican. I'll never understand them, sorry. And I often have to work with managers who went to half-day courses, sometimes by big names. No fun explaining them that everything is [not?] as easy as it sounds! -- MartineDevos


I was that man ... or rather boy. When I was 12, my Mum and I did a whistle-stop 10-day tour. We hit France (Paris), BelgiumEurope (Brussels), SwitzerlandCountry (Bern, Lucerne), and Germany (Bonn, Freiburg?), and a number of other towns/cities by coach. At the time I lived in AustraliaCountry, so this was part of a trip "back home" to the UnitedKingdom.

It was exhausting, but the memories have stayed with me ever since - the trip through the Alps especially. I couldn't have absorbed the culture at that age, but I got "a feel" for each of the countries.

In fact I have more detailed memories of those 10 days than of the remaining 4 weeks we spent in EnglandCountry. The only other lasting thing I took from that visit here was that I made good friends with an 11-year-old girl who came to visit me in Australia 10 years later. We've just had our 15th wedding anniversary.

As a contractor/consultant I often drop into projects which are already underway. I usually immerse myself deeply in the "culture" and jargon of the project for the first week without worrying too much about detailed requirements etc. I then find I have a strong framework into which I can slot the more detailed information as it is presented to me later. Without this frame of reference, I have no overall picture and find it hard to separate the key design details from mere implementation trivia as they are thrown at me.

-- KeithDerrick


Assuming you're going to visit Europe again, then AllOfEuropeInJustOneWeek is a good way of getting an idea of what bits you want to see in more detail.

I think this is an applicable tactic in ComingUpToSpeed. When I need to do that, I read all the documentation I can get my hands on (I still get strange looks when I say I've read all 8 volumes of the SunOS documentation). The point isn't to learn and remember everything that's in there - it's to build a mental map of the territory. When I next need to know something in more detail, I know where to look. -- PaulHudson


If the choice was between AllOfEuropeInJustOneWeek and never going at all, I'd do the one-week bit. But it wouldn't be my first choice.


There is also the inverse of AllOfEuropeInJustOneWeek: Europeans getting stuck in a merit-free place like Richland, Wash., for several weeks. This has happened to me more than once and it is very instructive. -- AndrewQueisser


I never tried such a tour. I went to one country (NetherlandsEurope) and got to know it well. -- DavidBrantley


The question seems to be if you should take a look at Rome for one week or take a look at Europe for one week. Of course, Rome could be any other city.

Obviously, both approaches have advantages and disadvantages:

It is better to go only to Rome because It is better to look at all Europe because
All of Europe in just one week is far better than none of Europe ever. It will impress upon you that places seen are not as one has imagined, however fertile the imagination is. In Europe you will see what it means to be old but not out of date, what is meant by unhurried urgency, and how one can have wide diversity in geographically close quarters.

-- DonaldNoyes 200610
See also FooOneOhOneInSevenDaysForDummiesInaNutshellSuperBibleUnleashed, TeachYourselfProgrammingInTenYears

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