Every day on tour is memorable. But if a traveler’s birthday happens to fall during their time abroad, that’s especially true. Being able to celebrate your birthday in a city like Paris, Rome, Barcelona or Beijing—with many of your friends right there by your side—is an experience not to be forgotten.
On my first EF tour to Rome and Paris earlier this year, one of the girls in our group was celebrating her 16th birthday. After an afternoon spent admiring the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, our group gathered for dinner at a nearby restaurant. We devoured all the Flamkeuse, or traditional flatbread pizza, that we could eat as we compared notes on our favorite Louvre masterpieces.
As the waiters brought out our dessert, they dimmed the lights and delivered a special flan for the birthday girl, complete with a candle. Our entire group of 40 began serenading her with “Happy Birthday,” which drew a few looks from the restaurant’s regulars. They may have been a bit taken aback by our impromptu sing-a-long, but no one really seemed to mind. It was a nice touch by our Group Leader, and certainly a birthday dinner this girl will never forget.
Celebrating a birthday on tour doesn’t have to be elaborate. Even a small gesture—a card at breakfast, a song on the bus, a candle with dessert—can make someone’s day. And if they happen to be missing their family and friends back home while being so far away on their birthday, it can help bring a smile to their face.
As we realized in that restaurant, birthdays are celebrated in many different ways around the world. Part of the fun of learning about new cultures and customs is learning about the birthday traditions in the countries you are visiting. Here are a few examples:
When a girl turns 15 in Ecuador, she wears a pink dress during her big celebration. The father puts on the birthday girl’s first pair of high heels and dances the waltz with her.
No matter when—or where—you celebrate your next birthday, we hope it’s a happy one.
-Ed / Google+