Friday, May 24, 2019

European Union Open House Experience

Fred and I were excited to have a full day ahead of us at the European Union Open House in Washington, D.C. After only spending a few hours at the Around The World Embassy Tour, we were ready to learn a lot at the Open House! Once again, this was a free event, but I was given a press pass which meant we were able to go straight into the embassies and not have to wait in line. You can see more of our experiences if you check out my Instagram Stories.

We started the European Union Open House at the EU Delegation. They're an incredible resource when it comes to learning about the relationships between the United States and the European Union. There are 28 countries represented in the EU, 24 official languages, and the Euro is used by 19 of the countries. We actually enjoyed the different learning stations as we walked through the Delegation.

From there we drove to the Spain and Poland embassies. Having lived a lifetime ago in Spain, I was excited to see their embassy. It was absolutely beautiful! The tile work on the walls and the floor made you think you'd just walked into a Spanish mansion. They also had amazing food which was affordable. I would highly suggest them for your lunch if you plan on experiencing the Open House.

Poland was a must. We grew up believing on my dad's side of the family that we were Polish. We were always joking about being Polack. There was no shame in our game! Turns out we weren't exactly Polish, but more Bohemian and Czech. Close enough I'd guess. lol This embassy is definitely a must-see! It was decorated beautifully, they had a young boy playing piano, had all kinds of tourism booklets, and had fun food to sample for free!

Next we headed to the Czech Republic. One of the cool experiences of visiting this embassy is that the Ambassador's house is on the same grounds and we were able to take a look at a few of the rooms and the grounds. They had musicians playing outside the embassy and inside a few learning stations. There were also police officers there with a Malinois, which is somehow connected to the country? They were doing a demonstration, but without a mic it was hard to hear what the officer was saying. We grabbed some desserts that were for sale so we could sample some of "the people of my country's" treats.

We drive over to the United Kingdom and Italy to check those countries out. We didn't have a heck of a lot of time because we spent so much time at the other embassies and more we wanted to see. First stop was Italy. It was one of the more modern embassies. As you walked in, out on the great lawn were several Ducati where you could hop on each one for a photo opp. Inside they had a fun opportunity to answer several questions around the grounds to win a prize.

The United Kingdom is just down the road from Italy. We walked around much of the outside, but didn't get around the whole grounds. The line, once you got onto the grounds was very long and there wasn't any way to move to the front of that line. They had an amazing display of Bentleys which are stunning vehicles. Honestly, I'm not sure what we might've missed out on seeing since we detoured back the way we'd started. I did manage to grab a picture with a couple men dressed in English garb.

As time was running out we rushed over to Portugal because my sister-in-love is Portugese and all of the ladies are planning to take a trip there in 2020, fingers crossed. They let people in by groups of about 50. They keep you in a room to watch a tourism video and in the same room display artisan creations. Pretty smart if you ask me! Outside in a tent they had food to sample and you could win a trip to Portugal!

Lastly, at 3:45, we made it to Ireland. Sadly, they had just closed the embassy to visitors. Thankfully, I had my press badge, flashed that bad boy, and in I went. What I didn't realize was Fred wasn't behind me. lol I just wanted to go in and take a few pictures. Obviously since they were basically finished there wasn't much to see or interact with. Outside they were finishing up their music and dancing.

As you can see, with a press pass we made it through 7 embassies and all 28 were represented at the Open House. Just like the AWET, you need to plan the ones you want to see the most and start there. If you can group the embassies together, all the better. We drove to each grouping we wanted to experience and didn't have to pay once for parking believe it or not. It took us a few minutes to find parking near each location, but we did it! Also, with the EUOH, they had 4 shuttle bus routes so that would be an option to get to each embassy group.

Be sure to take your ID with you. Believe it or not, we were asked for our ID at the Italian embassy. If possible, don't bring backpacks. Usually the embassies will give free reusable bags so if you start piling up free stuff from each of the embassies you can use those bags. Not having a big backpack helps you get through the line easier.

I'm already making a list of the countries I want to visit next year. We're going to start off with France & Germany who actually combine their embassy experiences. Then we'll check out the countries we really know nothing about because there's so much to learn!


Good Better Best Food said...

What a great experience. It's so wonderful living in tbe DMV isn't it!


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.