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Ice cubes, skim milk, places with AC, & tap water in restaurants--what a spoiled US citizen missed most about home when visiting Europe

Ice cubes, skim milk, places with AC, & tap water in restaurants--what a spoiled US citizen missed most about home when visiting Europe

Jul 14th, 2006, 06:07 AM
  #1  
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Ice cubes, skim milk, places with AC, & tap water in restaurants--what a spoiled US citizen missed most about home when visiting Europe

I'm just back, and we had a great time. But, the weather was on the hot side which takes some of the pleasure out of being a tourist. Is northern Europe hotter than usual this summer, or is it just my perception?

(Trip reports from some unique places--a trip around Lithuania & a rural Munsterland Germany bike trip--to follow next week.)

I have to admit, these are the comforts of home that I most missed and was happy to get back to. I'm sure the feeling goes both ways. Those who visit the US from Europe must have things from their home countries they long for too. It was quite apparent who the Europeans were and who the Americans were on the plane yesterday. All of the Americans were asking for ice in their drinks while the Europeans didn't want ice.


julies is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 07:25 AM
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Okay, I'll get you started. Thankfully, we didn't get the heat wave this June, but last year we suffered in a couple places without A/C. Trains! They are hot and the Europeans don't open windows (or close them when you do, lol)
Freshly squeezed orange juice. Never saw it in Switzerland. Beans and tofu. Not in Switzerland, at least. Soap in hotel rooms. Lots of places used "gel" packs. Litter! Just kidding. Billboards! Kidding again. I did miss my morning crossword puzzle.
LLindaC is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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I live in Texas, and I love the huge glassed of iced tea, with unlimited refills. I get so thirsty in Europe. I drink wine with meals, but sometimes I just want some iced tea!
missypie is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 07:37 AM
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I'm a Coca Cola addict, and I miss my red can of Coke when I'm in Italy. Though Coke is apparently the dominant soft drink over there (thank the Lord, for my sake), there's nothing like an ice cold can of the stuff.

CheBird is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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I usually miss having an ice-cold can of Diet Coke! The AC in the summer is important to me also. I can't sleep well when it is hot and on vacation I need my sleep - there's too much to experience and I want to be awake for it!
cls2paris is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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I guess that's what travelling is all about. To learn and experience how others live. Actually if you did ask in Germany, you would have gotten free tap water. They are supposed to give it to you. As for ice cubes and skimmed milk, of course they exist but perhaps, the restaurant may not stock them.

I'd rather not be given ice cubes though. Last week my daughter ordered a 0,5l iced tea. The glass was filled to the brim with ice cubes and then the iced tea filled in. After we got rid of the ice cubes, it was only half full and we paid quite a lot for that!

As for the weather, be thankful that it was hot. Sometimes, there is no summer!
munich_madl is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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I guess I'm one of those Europeans that doesn't want ice. I can't stand it when you ask for a drink and get a glass full of ice cubes. It's hard to drink and then they all melt and your drink is all horrible and watered down.
The only exception I suppose is iced water, where it doesn't matter whether your drink is watered down!!
hanl is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Having grown up in Mississippi, I am an ice cube fanatic. But most of the Europeans I know have this complaint about iced drinks: "we want the pure stuff -- orange juice, Coke, alcohol or whatever, not stuff diluted in a lot of melting ice."
And when you think of it, so many American things are watered down, not just the drinks.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 14th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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This is an unusually hot summer for Lithuania. Don't forget to include wedding details in your reports!
Marija is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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I admit to an occassional craving for a giant diet soda with ice. Not at meals - but if it's warm and you've been walking a lot. In my experience the only place you can get them are a local MickyD or Burger King - which you can find almost anywhere except really small towns.

As for AC - I won;t stay at hotels without it.

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Jul 14th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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I'm with NYtraveler. I love ice and seek out McD's for a tall diet Coke and of course their free bathooms. I am a Diet Pepsi drinker, and I am so thankful that I can buy it in grocery stores - for a long time, Coke was the only American soft drink sold. At home, we drink iced tea with lots of ice all year long. Tea Java is great, nothing but tea, no framboise or abricot flavor - just straight tea. Trader Joes has it for 99 a quart, supermarkets sell it for $1.60 plus.

What I miss most is my own pillow - too big to travel with.

Nina
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Jul 14th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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LlindaC,

You don't have to miss your daily crossword puzzle while in Europe. The International Herald Tribune, available almost everywhere, has one.

I just love to sit at an outdoor table, drinking something nice, and reading the IHT. My wife does the crossword puzzle, not me. I'm too busy switching between the European slant on the news, and watching the passing parade.

nukesafe is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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hsv
 
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Apparently I am among the minority of Europeans who really have a craving for ice cubes and ice cold drinks. A can relate perfectly to the pain of not being able to get enough of that.

Talking about ice-cold Diet Cokes: Now that Coke Zero is out here in Germany, too (it has been on the market in the US for a while), can anybody explain the difference between a Diet Coke and Coke Zero to me?
I notice the taste is slightly different, but not much, so why does Coke bother to offer to products of about the same taste and with the same concept? Just curious.
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Jul 14th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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In the last sentence it shoulf read "two instead of that "to", of course. Editing is not one of my strenghts...
hsv is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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When in Europe I enjoy trying to live like a European, otherwise, I would stay stateside. What I do miss is a "Smoke Free" envirornment.

Jj
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Jul 14th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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Americans have been formed by their environment as much as anyone. A couple of centuries in a hotter climate than Europe has caused us to like our drinks colder than Europeans. I love Guinness Stout beer but I like it very cold. Thus Americans are addicted to ice in everything but wine and beer. Mixed drinks are better without ice but a frozen glass from the freezer works wonders.
GeorgeW is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 11:42 AM
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"Americans have been formed by their environment as much as anyone. A couple of centuries in a hotter climate than Europe has caused us to like our drinks colder than Europeans"

Really - would have thought that Spanish climate is generally warmer than say NY.
wombat7 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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And is France still the only country that sells Coca-Cola Blak, the ultra caffeine soda?
kerouac is online now  
Jul 14th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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hsv - Coke Zero and Diet Coke uses different sweeteners; and in my opinion, they taste very different. Coke Zero tastes a lot more like real Coke than Diet Coke.

People here in the US are very fussy about their softdrinks. Many people are used to Diet Coke, so that formula has to stay. At the same time, many also don't switch from regular Coke, or just drink less Coke, because they don't like the taste of Diet Coke.

Actually, there's a 3rd no-calorie cola from Coke in the US these days. That's "Diet Coke with Splenda", which tastes different from those two as well.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 12:02 PM
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I understand about ice for drinks, but I don't get the comment about air conditioning. If you are willing to pay a bit more you can find hotels with AC easy enough, at least in the major cities of Europe.
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