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First time outside of the United States.....Where to go?

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Oct 30th, 2013, 09:36 AM
  #1
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First time outside of the United States.....Where to go?

Hi everyone.
While I have traveled a bit, my husband has never set foot outside of the United States. We have a chance to take 2 weeks and travel to Europe. I need some seasoned people to offer very particular advice.
My greatest interest is that my husband has the chance to see that there are places in the world where people value art and culture, where food is not just made to stuff your face, where life is savored and family is valued, where people work to live and not live to work. I want him to see cities where not everything is owned by monolithic companies, where supermarkets are less frequent than "mom & pop" stores, to taste food that is not ALWAYS made of the cheapest ingredients, to witness the fact that some of the rest of the world REALLY cares about green living. Also, I'd like him to see some natural beauty.
I think that sums it up. So.... the question is, with all this in mind, which country in Europe should I focus on to achieve this goal?
Thank you in advance.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 09:43 AM
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Italy. Introduce him to the three hour Italian lunch
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Oct 30th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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i agree about Italy; when i stayed there for a week doing a language course i became aware really for the first time of how obsessed with food the italians are.

to get the full effect of this, though, i think that you have to get off the beaten track a bit - you won't be able to show him this if you stay in the big tourist centres all the time.

By all means go to see Rome or Venice, but I think that you need to spend time in somewhere like Puglia or Sicily to get a fuller appreciation of what you are looking for.

you should be able to find several threads here on both those places if you use the search engine.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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I can think of lots of places in the US that are like that. I don't know many people who live your stereotyped lifestyle in the US.

But, no one can answer this. You need to check guidebooks to see what places personally appeal to you and your spouse. Isn't there some place in particular he would like to go?
I don't understand your comment about green living. You can't find a recycle bin anywhere in much of Europe.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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Italy!
Away from flag waving tour groups and away from places that speak predominantly in English.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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I don't understand your comment about green living. You can't find a recycle bin anywhere in much of Europe.>>

???? perhaps my recycling boxes are figments of my imagination, like the bottle and paper banks at the supermarket. of course they are not things that tourists often see, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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as the guys say, Italy, away from the main tourist sites and larger cities. So Puglia would be good, but so would other areas in the south away from the tour bus. Hubbie needs to be prepared for a very different culture from US. Time is less important than is everyone happy.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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There must be places that call to you. Asking strangers means you'll be sent to those that call to them. Listen to your own imagination and, presumably, the husband will follow. Guidebooks, yes, but where do the settings for novels and movies make you long to be there? There are places that you describe all over the world, not just in Europe so maybe you aren't casting your net wide enough. Before you make a decision I suggest you do a lot of watching & reading & thinking. There will be a stand-out so let it come to you, pay no attention to us.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Annhig,
I didn't say they weren't there. I said (as a tourist) you can't find them.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:18 AM
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Goldens, we have had recycling bins in our hotel rooms in Europe.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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We have never had them. Whenever we have asked we were told to just throw them in garbage.
With the exception of Madrid, have barely seen recycling trash cans on street.

Also, the OP should be prepared for the smoking .
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:27 AM
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Italy and France both come to mind for what you request.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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"I don't understand your comment about green living. You can't find a recycle bin anywhere in much of Europe."

sorry old dear but you are a fair bit off on this one. Just back from Italy and could hardly throw anything away for walking into the public things.

Still maybe recycling is not the thing but reduced consumption is just as important.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Switzerland has the natural beauty and the pace and quality of life you are seeking, but the food's better elsewhere (generally speaking).
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Bilboburgler- your experience is different from mine.
I am not an "old dear" and don't appreciate bring called one.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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I think Europe will be a shock if you seriously expect cities to not have business that are chains or large companies. They all do in very single country I've been in. This is some idealized view of Europe from an old movie. And any big city can have a lot of bad food by mediocre restaurants.

I do find the green living thing the most unlikely statement as while you can find some recycling in Europe, it is not as common as in the US, actually, nor as extensive as where I live in the US. I don't know why one would think that. I have never found a recycling bin in a hotel room in Europe, actually.

Don't go to a big city as a lot of people work pretty hard in them in Europe, also.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Well, when I was in Milan, I noticed something as simple as the fact that the escalators had electric eyes in them, so that they did not run incessantly and needlessly. That is not recycling, but it is still green living. And in Amsterdam, I noticed that no one shops with plastic bags, everyone uses re-useable bags.
There are a GREAT many ways that Europe is more environmentally conscious than the US.

I am from NJ. In NJ, and most of the eastern seaboard, all food is bought from Supermarkets. One has to look far and wide to find a store for specifically meat, or a store for specifically cheese. Also the ingredients in the food in the USA is essentially soilent green.

In Spain, I noticed that people had a MUCH higher regard for the elderly than we do in the USA.

I agree that there are places all over the world which have these qualities, and I am - for this trip - focusing on Europe. Next trip will be further abroad.

Thank you all for your input so far!
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Oct 30th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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I have never found a recycling bin in a hotel room in the USA either, yet I am sure that there are recycling programs in the cities we visit.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 11:02 AM
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You can't find a recycle bin anywhere in much of Europe.

wat

You have clearly never visited Germany.
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Oct 30th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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Actually, my grandparents were German and I spend time there each year. We have just returned from Munich and Frankfurt.
For the average tourist, they are hard to find. I have not had one in any hotel in Germany.
No need to be rude. It was my personal experience.
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