Saturday, July 30, 2005

List

I realized last now there are 2 very important things I left off my list of things I miss:
1) Clean feet. Somehow, no matter how hard you scrub the dirt just won´t come off.....it doesn´t make sense but its true. My feet are disgusting looking. Now I´m not one of those people who believe feet are attractive in general and mine are no more or less so than others, but this is REdiculous. I fear I shall never be able to wear sandals again. I keep promising my tootsies a pedicure when they get home, but they seem determined to blister, peel, scab, and coat themselves in every surface I walk on. I have a sinking feeling they´re getting even with me for years of mistreatment.
2)My ring. I really don´t think this needs explanation, but thanks to Jenna for reminding me.

And on another note, I think there is a mass conspiracy who hordes important information away so that people traveling will get the full experience. I´m so over that! And in that vein I have compiled 2 useful lists for the traveler.
Things no one tells you about Europe
1)You have to pay to use the toilets....and the costs vary. With that in mind don´t go charging in and paying whatever they ask, if you´re able to shop around you may get a better deal. Most of the time the ones in train stations cost the most, but if you wait till you get on the train its free! Now I heard a rumor you´re not supposed to go when the train is not moving becuase it ends up on the tracks, but if they don´t want me to go on the tracks than maybe they shouldn´t charge for the bathroom (and guys, its cheaper to use the urinals than the stalls).
2)In Europe, no one drinks tap water....of course not! Not when they can charge you $3 for a glass of bottled water. And is there anything wrong with the tap water? No, Europe (and especially Austria) has some of the best filtration systems in the world.
3) Europeans must be the most dehydrated people in the world. (See above). Drinks here (other than beer and wine) are about 4 times smaller than in the US, twice as expensive and non refillable. A small glass of coke is $4, a small glass of juice is $6. And the only people who carry bottles of soda or water with them are the tourists....where are the rest of the people drinking? Is there some secret place they go and fill up when no one´s looking?
4) Pizza is a universal food. The Italians may claim credit, but you can find it ANYWHERE and quite often. There is a pizza stand about every 2 stores so anyone who complains about European food is a liar...they could always eat Pizza. I thought only Americans were crazy about the stuff....boy was I wrong.
5) One of the books I read said Europeans don´t eat corn, its considered food for livestock...The book lied. There is corn on almost every piece of pizza in this country.
6) The national food of Austria is ice cream. No joke, I´ve never seen so much ice cream consumed in my life. Remember how I told you how prevelant pizza is? Well ice cream dominates. And they eat it 24 hours a day, rain or shine, cold or hot (the weather not the ice cream- that´s always cold).
7) Ice coffee is coffee with ice cream in it. Actually this was a rather pleasant discovery.
8) While it may be okay to bring flip flops on your trip, I would highly advise against the $3 target ones..........
9) with the previous in mind I should note that any shoes you bring will pretty much not last the trip....especially if you only have 2 pairs and do a lot of walking....which you will. Except sneakers....sneakers will last you but they´re not real classy if you´re going for the European look.
10) Washing machines are waaaaaaaaaayyyy smaller here.
11) Drying machines are for really rich people. When you dry your clothes by hanging or laying it out they get real....crispy. Not sure why, but it seems to be a common problem.
12) I think kuchel wache is fabric softener, not detergent....not entirely sure though....
13) No matter how cute and summery you want to look DO NOT BRING WHITE CLOTHING. It´s white for about 30 minutes and then its various shades of yellow or brown that do not seem to go away....but this could be due to #12
14) The weather here is either unbearably hot or raining. No in between.
15) Stores close Saturdays at 5 and do not open till Monday morning...REALLY wish someone would have told me that one.
16) I don´t know why people talk about nude beaches...everywhere here is clothing optional...fountains, parks, gardens, rivers, pools............and "changing room" is an unknown concept.
17) Even with a railpass you often have to make a reservation for a train (this would have been nice to know before waiting 4 hours in a Paris train station)
18) Alcohol is way stronger here.
19) air conditioning is a foreign concept

Things no one should have to tell you
1) Taxis are the most expensive form of travel, so if you´re going to take them don´t bitch about the price....there is public transportation avaiable everywhere.
2) If you know you´re going to be walking, wear comfortable shoes.
3) A castle is not a palace don´t try to compare them.
4) If you drink beer and then go bike riding I hardly think the bike company incurs liability when you do something as stupid as crash into a wall.
5) All the prices are in Euros, not US dollars
6) There is a pretty good chance the menus are not going to be in English
7) Europe has expensive food, but they have cheap food too...where do you think the Europeans eat?
8) more people speak english than you think......so maybe you shouldn´t talk about them right beside them.
9) When someone doesn´t speak english saying it louder doesn´t usually rectify the problem.
10) There´s a pretty good chance the chinese food in france isn´t going to live up to your expectations...that being said, any non national food (other than pizza) probably isn´t going to be as good as a national food.
11) Europe is full of museums and churches........
12) When you get into a smoking car on a train, there will probably be some people smoking.....and they´re allowed to...
13) Most people in Europe travel by train....its fast, easy, and convienient. If you don´t like trains, this is something to consider.
14) All train stations have lockers where you can leave your bags, so leave them there instead of carrying them around.

I may add to this later, but that´s it for now.

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