New York Minute: iPhone in Europe

Kristi Evans
Columnist from  Money-Makin' Manhattan
| Published: July 13, 2010


All I wanted for my birthday this year was to have dinner in Paris. You know, just a small and humble request to be whisked away for the weekend to an exotic land of wine, art and romance. Lucky for me, my better half obliged but he convinced me that just a weekend was not enough and what we really needed was a full-on Eurotrip, a two week jaunt through Europe stopping in three countries and leaving a trail of fat, lazy American dust in our path. We gathered a group of ambitious travel companions and set off on our adventure, but not before switching my iPhone to the International Plan and proving once again that this little gadget is truly man’s best friend.


First stop: Amsterdam. What a cool town. We only stayed for a day and a half but I was able to use the OpenTable iPhone app to make a reservation at a highly recommended restaurant. I use the app frequently in NYC, but it was very impressive that they have such a vast database of restaurants in their system spanning the entire world. The Van Gogh museum was a must-see as was Rembrandt Park, the canals and their infamous coffee shops. The Concierge at our hotel was incredibly UNhelpful,  so we looked up train times to Paris on my iPhone. Sweet Pappy Johnson! The Thalys is expensive, especially when booking last minute. We parked ourselves in the barcar and made the most out of our pricey transfer while I beat Plants Vs. Zombies on the iPad.


Three and half hours and two space cakes later, we were in gay Paree, greeted by a rude cab driver and aromas of aged Cabernet and duck confit. We brought an adapter with us to Europe but between a laptop, two iPads, an iPhone and a Blackberry, there wasn’t enough juice to go around. My iPhone was dead or on dangerously low battery for some of the trip so I didn’t take as many pictures with it as I wanted to. I used a digital camera for that and saved my battery life for the most important thing: GOOGLE MAPS! I’ve never wanted to kiss an app before but oh my God, what ever did we do without it? From Paris to Versailles and back to the Eiffel Tower, we were all over Maps like a teenage girl and Justin Bieber. Big thanks to my dad for convincing me to take French in High School because you better speak a little bit over there or you’ll feel the glare of a thousand Parisians eyes.


Unfortunately, Catalan language is not an option in our schools so we were struggling to communicate in Barcelona which was the next and final stop on our journey. Our knowledge of Spanish was useless since it’s a completely different language. This would be a good time to break out the iPhone and my Translate app, I’m thinking. I was able to go grocery shopping, albeit slowly, and with many funny looks as I studied a box of milk on a shelf (apparently they don’t keep their milk or eggs refrigerated). “Leche frio” meant nothing to them. At least Sangria is Sangria in any language. After spending time at Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, we hit up Park Guell and La Rambla, where Foursquare was having a meetup. It was cool checking in at the Plaza Catalunya with 25+ others and Dennis Crowley, the CEO himself. We spent the next night at the giant electronic music festival Sonar, which was out-of-control awesome and my 3GS’s video capability allowed me to capture some of LCD Soundsystem’s set (Noah’s favorite band).


The iPhone literally replaced a travel guide, a map, a translation book, a video camera, and most exciting for me, a Concierge. Imagine if people could answer their own questions? A girl can dream, can’t she?

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