I see Sam was posting up a storm keeping the readers engaged in my absence, fortunately, I’m back with fascinating content from around the world. Well Europe at least. I have returned from 10 days abroad which was the longest solo stint I’ve personally completed visiting 6 cities. Even as I’ve gotten far superior with traveling light, transportation, and the general discomfort of being a foreigner, it’s always challenging to make it go as plan when you forget your charger and contact solution on minute 1. In the next few days I’ll give a rundown on the hotels that I stayed at, the differences between American and Euro culture, and a general overview on traveling.
I’m going to start with a few feelings that come to mind in a foreign land as they don’t operate they way I’m used to. Here is:
What I Miss
- No American Breakfast – You want scrambled eggs and a big cup of coffee? I don’t think so pal. I write this somewhat tongue in cheek because hotels will serve these types of breakfast but good luck sitting down at a diner. Not only do these people not start moving until 9am, they dine on croissants and pastries with tiny cups of expressos for breakfast. One breakfast host said to me, “these seats are reserved for later, do you plan on being an hour?” I was done in 15 minutes.
- Soccer. More Soccer. And Rugby! – The time difference of 6 hours makes American sports an afterthought in Europe. On a Saturday I sat in a pub and watched rugby and soccer for a few hours and these games are slightly below what American sports are in entrainment value. Basketball is often on as well and their Euro leagues are just a step slower than the NBA. Also, there are only a smattering of bars that will show a game. There was only a selection of 3 to watch the Champions league game last Tuesday in Innsbruck. Sports bars are not prominent unless it’s an Irish or Aussie pub.
- Still Water – I have no idea how water with gas is standard. Even calling the sparkling water gas makes it ridiculous. You learn quickly to ask for still water, but it’s the complete reverse in the States where still water is normally served. Drinking from the tap was the best way to go, specifically in Austria where it was so clean. For me, the carbonated water doesn’t feel hydrating, it’s more like a soda.
- A Friend – Traveling alone in a foreign country inevitably makes you feel very lonely. I did have about 4 people along the way who I met up with, so I wasn’t completely by myself, but I miss not having the bartender know your name. I’ll touch more on this later, but some places are not a welcoming environment for people who they don’t know. Even having a person to sit at a table with who said nothing would make me feel less out of place. You’ll hear everyone say that you can get by fine with English, but they don’t tell you that you’ll still feel completely like an outsider when you can’t understand any words people around you are saying.
- Sports Betting – Watching these games would be more fun if you could bet on them, and I’m sure it’s possible, but it’s frowned upon and you come across as a degenerate. It’s a bit less stigmatized in the US (at least in my mind). Considering the amount of sports bars, and the people I see who are in the betting parlors, it’s clear that most citizens are not associating themselves with such an activity.