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Seven Less Traveled Cities to Visit in Europe

Seven Less Traveled Cities to Visit in Europe

Rome, Paris, London — these are among the typical stops for every traveler coming to visit Europe. If you are looking for the big museums and major attractions, these go-to places are indeed your first choice. But if your goal is different, if you strive to get a sniff of true Old World charm away from the masses of tourists and in the company of the locals, then you might try a different approach.

As parts of Europe were destroyed during the wars and the population boomed in the subsequent decades, you can run into ugly towns and neighborhoods that simply consist of nothing more than concrete midrises and grocery stores. However, by getting off the train or bus in just the right town, you might find a quiet, less traveled pearl that is waiting for your attention.

1. Epernay, France

Get away form Paris and go to the Champagne region to indulge in as much bubbly liquid as you can hold. Epernay or Reims would typically be your first choice when it comes to visiting the champagne houses, but when you’re in the neighborhood, do stop by Vitry-Le-Francois. In summer, their food fairs can be in full swing, and you might be able to score bottles of champagne for just two food tickets and blend in with the locals.

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2. Aarhus, Denmark

University city Aarhus, the second largest town of Denmark, might not have all the sights and wonders of Copenhagen, but it gives you a good glimpse of the Jutland peninsula (the rest of Denmark consists of islands).

Grab a bike, tour around this lovely city, spend the afternoon in one of the many coffee places while enjoying Danish rolls, and then enjoy a typical dinner while having a Tuborg or Carlsberg. The Danish surely make life look effortless.

3. Girona, Spain

Just an hour outside of Barcelona lies one of the major cities of Catalonia. With its cathedral, fortifications, and the beautiful houses painted in hues of red and ochre along the Onyar river (Cases de l’Onyar), Girona combines Catalan industriousness with Mediterranean charm. Girona makes a perfect day trip from Barcelona or the Costa Brava, but can also be a great location from which you can explore Catalonia and the Costa Brava in their entirety.

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4. Lier, Belgium

Only 15 minutes by train from Antwerp and 30 minutes from Brussels, this tiny historical city combines a Unesco world heritage beguinage (which still has inhabitants, unlike the museumized beguinage in Bruges), the wonderful works of watchmaker Zimmer (including the Zimmer tower and the wonder clock), cobblestone streets, delicious cuisine, and independent fashion boutiques.

Explore the sights, walk the green belt around the city (de vesten), enjoy a free concert on a summer evening, discover the banks of the Nete river, and then settle down on the Zimmerplein to drink a Belgian beer and enjoy a steak with fries (at Brasserie Louis, for example) — discover the Burgundian attitude that still lingers in Belgium.

5. Koblenz, Germany

Where the Rhine and the Moselle confluence, this lovely Rhineland city is a gem close to the more frequently visited Aachen and Cologne.

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Offering great boat tours on the rivers, a cable car going into lush green hills, historic churches, and a beautiful castle, Koblenz can offer you all the pleasures of traveling the Rhineland, where you can enjoy cooled draft beers or fresh local white wines.

6. Utrecht, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague are the largest touristic cities in the Netherlands, but when you go slightly more to the East of the country, you can discover lovely, laid-back Utrecht. This city is again a great place for visiting historical places, sampling great local food and drink, shopping in the many stores, and hanging out along the canals.

7. Diekirch, Luxemburg

With only over 6000 inhabitants, Diekirch really is the smallest city on this list. Luxemburg in itself is too often forgotten by tourists or dismissed as simply a place for getting cheaper gas or doing some fishy banking by their neighboring countries. However, set in luscious hills like the south of Belgium, Luxemburg combines great cuisine with a very friendly atmosphere. Diekirch is mostly known for it’s brewery, so take your hiking boots to explore the hills and then relax with a great beer. How else would you go and explore Europe?

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What are your favorite lesser-known cities in Europe?

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Eva Lantsoght

Eva is a university professor and a professional structural engineer. She writes about achieving excellence and success in life on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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