Monday, July 8, 2013

Similarities and Differences

Obviously there is too much to analyze as far as things that are the same and different, but I thought I'd hit a few of my favorites really quickly.

Fast Food: There is virtually no fast food in Europe.  You'll see it around train stations, but for the most part if you're on the go, you're picking up a sandwich, something from a bakery, or nummy kebap.

Plants: It's pretty split on this one - I see a lot of familiar friends: Rose of Sharon, wild strawberries, roses, and many others. However, there are a number of shrubs and trees in particular I am unfamiliar with.  Below, I've added pictures from the Innsbruck hike of a wonderful smelling, unidentified shrub and some wild strawberries that became a delightful snack.

Animals: Songbirds, hummingbirds, pigeons, and children chasing pigeons are all present here.  I haven't really seen too many unfamiliar animals besides some sheep at one of our B&Bs - they had long, floppy ears and a long tail.  One animal friend that I never see in Oregon is a lizard, but they are here and they are wiley!  I've not managed to catch more than a quick photo of one before they scurried away.   We also found some turtles today!

Restaurants: I still feel like you get fairly large portions at restaurants here.  Complimentary hotel breakfast consists of a couple of cereal options, yogurt, pastries, rolls, sliced meats, sliced cheese, coffee options (emphasis on cappuchino), juice, milk, and some kind of fruit.  We haven't eaten breakfast out.  Cuisines from all over the world, much like in the US, are options.  Sometimes tip is included, sometimes its not.  It is difficult to know when/if it is expected unless they note it in the menu or on your receipt.  When you're done with your meal, you must ask for your bill - it is considered rude and rushing a patron to just bring it.  Depending on your location, smoking as well as pets may be welcome in restaurants - this seems to be more common in smaller towns.

Beverages: If you order water, you must first answer the question, "Still or with gas?"  Still water is what we're accustomed to - gas is carbonated tonic water.  It comes to you with a glass and always in a bottle.  Tap water, specifically, must be requested and there is often a charge.  Ordering a beverage with a meal seems to be very customary; you get funny looks when you do not want one.  We've only seen Pepsi once; Coke is king in Europe.  There are also a few sodas you don't find in the US - often an orange-cola or a lemon soda.  Matching stereotypes, beer is very common in Germany and wine is very common in Italy.  You see some wine in Germany and beer, while on the menu, is very rarely ordered in Italy.

People: People in Europe seem to be very friendly and accommodating.  We have yet to be waved off when we've asked for help or directions.  Even when there's a bit of a language barrier, gestures and a few words in either language are employed to make meaning.  We've even been craning our necks, looking for a stop on a bus, and been approached by another rider who has been able to help us.  We've met a few grumpy bus drivers, but their primary job is to drive, not be a tour guide, so I can't hold it against them.

Curious about anything?  Let me know if the comments and we'll keep an eye out!


1 comment:

  1. The other day two non-English speaking women approached me in the grocery store asking for help finding the non-gas water. There was a serious language barrier and it took me a few moments to figure out that they were wondering about non-carbonated water. In the end we figured it out, but that was my first experience with carbonation being referred to as gas in water.