Monday, July 18, 2011
Top Ten Worst And Best Things About Europe
There are some things I loved about our trip to Europe and some things that kind of annoyed me. Here's the top ten worst and best things about traveling in Europe.
Let's start with the worst:
10. store hours - Now I can deal with a store opening at 10am and closing at 4pm. It's a little annoying but what really bugs me was the stores that would randomly close in the middle of the day without notice. Seriously people.
9. bottled water - If you do not specifically ask for tap water and just ask for water at a restaurant chances are you will a bottle of sparking mineral water. It's not like we were in Mexico. The tap water is fine in the places. It's like you're a hobo if you ask for tap water. Man, and I though Americans were silly about their bottled water.
8. body odor - Parisians especially, let's raise that bar a little bit. If you think a crowded El train in Chicago is stinky try a crowded subway train in Paris.
7. 24-hour time - Yes, it makes more sense but I got REALLY sick of having to do math in my head trying to figure out time in PM time.
6. metric system - Again, yes this system is more logical, I get it. However I can't help what I was born into and what simply makes more sense.
5. money - In Switzerland they use Swiss Francs and in Frances they use Euros . . . in the Amsterdam airport they accepted American dollars but could only give change in Euros . . . what?!?
4. bill chasing - It's like the waiters don't want to be paid in cafe's and restaurants. If you want to get a check ask for it about 20 minutes before you actually want to leave or else you will spend the next half an hour trying to find your waiter.
3. street names - Hey, it's incredibly confusing that your street names change almost every block. Oh yeah and posting street names on the sides of buildings in cute traditional looking fonts. This is NOT charming, it's frustrating for people trying to get around and only increases the number of lost and wandering tourist.
2. electrical outlets - I'm okay with using an adapter but what is up with the connect the dots situation on the outlets?
1. hotel standards - It's a very different game over in Europe when it comes to hotels. Bad situations like a hotel sending you to another hotel that is sub-par (which I described in this post) happens. Be careful, double-check your reservations and don't assume anything about the hotel you have booked.
Now for the good stuff. Here's the top 10 best things about traveling in Europe:
10. mass-transportation - Europe has a rail system organized across 22 different countries. I don't think America could even get 22 states to agree on anything. The system in Europe works, it's clean for the most part and makes traveling much more affordable and convenient
9. green space - Because of the way that many Europeans cities are set-up, farms are closely integrated into many cities. This adds to the level of green space which is always a nice thing.
8. Orangina - this stuff rocks, it should be everywhere.
7. bottled water - If you're going to drink stupid amounts of bottled water, at least be classy about it like the Europeans. Get it in nice bottle and make some claims about "minerals."
6. the dollar coin - It's incredibly convenient. I loved the Sacajawea coin we had and I don't think people really gave it a chance.
5. fast food - A quick snack in Paris is a freshly baked croissant or crepe. In Switzerland it's lovely role with cured meats and flavorful cheeses. It doesn't have to be fancy to be good and it doesn't have to be deep-fried to be fast.
4. alcohol - Beer and wine seem to be available everywhere. This isn't a good thing because it meant that I could be drunk all the time but rather it reflected a relaxed attitude towards drinking that was more about appreciation and not so much about getting drunk.
3. restaurant service - If you are trying to get in and out of a restaurant in Paris in 40 minutes, just go to McDonald's because it's not going to happen in a nice Bistro. So just give up on that idea, embrace the European restaurant experience which can last as much as two hours or more and enjoy a long and relaxed meal service.
2. punctuality - It's a great concept. If you think that a train leaving on time in stressful think about a train consistently being late anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes when you are trying to get somewhere by a certain time.
1. dogs - Dogs can go anywhere in Paris and Switzerland and it's awesome. In Switzerland it is illegal to cut off dogs tails for cosmetic reasons (which is a regular practice for many breeds in America) and dog owners are required to take training classes with their dogs. This results in dogs walking off leash in public places who are well-behaved. We saw many dogs in restaurants in Paris and no it wasn't gross and as much of a health code nightmare as Americans think. It was fine, it was cute and showed that America's limitations of dog owner's rights based on worst case scenarios really are both silly and irrational.