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You're back from Europe. You had a great time. You noticed that the Europeans do something much better than we do it in the U.S. What is it?

You're back from Europe. You had a great time. You noticed that the Europeans do something much better than we do it in the U.S. What is it?

Sep 23rd, 2000, 11:21 AM
  #1  
Travel
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You're back from Europe. You had a great time. You noticed that the Europeans do something much better than we do it in the U.S. What is it?

I appreciated the practice of having a restroom attendant in public bathrooms, even if you had to pay a small fee to use the facilities. In the U.S., the restroom (for women) is often a frighteningly dirty place, often without toilet paper and frequently with urine right there on the toilet seat. In Europe, paying the equivalent of 25 cents got me a spotless facility to use. Even though lots of Americans in our group were complaining about paying to use a public bathroom, I think it is a fine idea.

Now we ladies will have to figure out how to get building architects to allocate more restroom space to women for additional stalls to eliminate the ever-present lines at the ladies room.
 
Sep 23rd, 2000, 12:01 PM
  #2  
Gina
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*Enjoy life*. In Europe, dinner out is a leisurely, multi-course, conversation-filled event that takes up the better part of an evening, not a mad dash through Denny's where either you, the wait staff, or both are in a rush to get you out the door. I loved dinners in Paris and Chamonix, Venice and Amsterdam, where my travel companion and I would sit and talk and sip wine and savor individual courses for two hours or more.

Good wine, good food, good conversation--Europeans seem to really know how to appreciate these things and take time for them. Oh, and walking! People in Europe don't seem to drive everywhere the way we do in the U.S., which I think is a big health booster both physically and emotionally.

And while I know this is also a wild generalization, people in Europe seem far less stressed than people in the U.S. Granted, I probably would have seen a lot more stress had I been spending most of my time in Parisian office buildings rather than in Parisian flea markets, side streets, museums and cafes, but still...I saw plenty of people who clearly lived and worked in Paris walking by on the street, and they seemed a lot less *tense* than the people I see on the street here in Washington.
 
Sep 23rd, 2000, 03:04 PM
  #3  
s
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walk.
eat (yes, gina!) & cook (???).
read (the newspaper, I mean).
coffee.
outdoor cafes (why do we put them next to parking lots?).
Maybe I oughtta put those together: reading the paper at an outdoor cafe and drinking good coffee -- this seems to be a young art in the US.
personal responsibility (a clerk takes time and care in fulfilling ordinary tasks [except that one Bob Brown tangled with . . .] and can do his/her job without asking for help or responding that "it's not my job. . .").
vacations.

s
 
Sep 23rd, 2000, 03:42 PM
  #4  
Kristin
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Perhaps it goes without saying -- public transportation systems! How wonderful to get almost anywhere in Europe without a car.
 
Sep 23rd, 2000, 04:11 PM
  #5  
Linda
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Public transportation and recycling!
 
Sep 23rd, 2000, 07:32 PM
  #6  
lola
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Europeans seem to relax better. They don't seem as driven. There seems to be more time to sit and schmooze and read and people watch. The squares are filled with cafes for downtime. And they use their legs better--they walk, and so do I when I get there.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 04:36 AM
  #7  
Maira
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Europeans seems to appreciate quality rather than quantity.

They seem to take their time to walk a street and notice things.

Better appreciation for leisure conversation, good food, better wine.

They learned their history better than we do ours.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 04:38 AM
  #8  
Maira
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It is probably time that I explain my typos; I learned English 12 years ago. So, for the ones out there who keep score, hope this relieves your anxiety.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 04:56 AM
  #9  
Walker
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Mass transit, esp. an extensive, reliable, and affordable rail system.! There's nothing the US does worse in comparison to Europe.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 06:22 AM
  #10  
Karen
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Wants and needs seem to be alot less than Americans. They seem to be content with "making do" and not keeping up with the Joneses. Far less ostentatious. Our relatives in Scotland tell us they didn't even start to recover from the War till the 60s and most people didn't have cars or learn to drive till then or after.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 07:00 AM
  #11  
Dan
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Even though I'm essentially a private person, I like the way they make use of seating at restaurants. In our case, my wife and I arrived at a Paris restaurant that looked hopelessly full, but they seated us immediately at a table for four that was already occupied by a French couple. My wife was a little taken aback when it happened, but I was fortunate enough to have read about this before the trip, so it didn't surprise me at all.

Other than some brief hellos, the French couple went on with their conversation and left us alone to our dining and conversation.

I'd much rather do things this way than wait 30-60 minutes to be seated. Nice!
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 08:13 AM
  #12  
Alice
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In Paris, both the on-street parking and the laundromats used a 'centralized' payment system... There is one coin box for a block of parking, and it dispenses a ticket to put in your window. The laundromat had one coin box that has numbered buttons to activate your washer or dryer. Seems a more efficient way to manage collecting the money.
Of course the transportation system is supreme, but the relative compactness of the continent, compared to US, partially contributes. We Americans are very 'married' to our cars and don't really support mass transit in most areas (with exception in major urban areas).
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 08:16 AM
  #13  
Bob Brown
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This is a very thought provoking question. (I will chalk up to experience my skirmish with the ticket seller at the rail station Lauterbrunnen. It takes a guy like him to make the good people more valuable. He didn't prevent me from buying a ticket, but his attitude did catch me by surprise.)
I think European cities run public transportation better than we do. And the French train system, with the TGVs is a marvel. And the Swiss federal system is a model of punctuality. (The agent I ran into worked for a private line -- the Berner Oberlandbahn.)
Also, I prefer to eat in French restaurants because the service is usually good and they leave you alone until you need them. And, I think the pastries you can buy walking along the street in Paris are better than what I find in the USA. I found it hard to walk past some of those places without going in. And, yes the restrooms in Paris at any rate are not the stink holes you so often find in the USA. We are dirty and nasty that way.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 10:53 AM
  #14  
Lori
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Public transportation in Europe is far superior to any we have in the U.S. That has got to be the #1 thing Europeans do better then the U.S. does.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 05:09 PM
  #15  
Dr. Fordor
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The bakeries, delies and parfumaries in France are without compare. For one thing, we do not have parfumaries except the large commercial kinds like "The Body Shop," let alone shop keepers that ask you if you are buying the perfume as a present so that they can better serve you in your selection. I should say that I noticed in Italy, in and around Florence that the delies were also exemplary. The distinguishing factor is having your pastries handed to you in an exquisitely decorated box in France or in Italy, your deli sandwiches wrapped up in Beautiful paper and tied with a ribbon. We just don't get presented with that kind of care with our food and our products, particulary the ones that are designed to delight the senses. It's a wonderful touch.
Dr. Fordor
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 06:38 PM
  #16  
Annalynn
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I love bathroom stalls in Europe - the doors and walls go from floor to ceiling, and provide an unbelievable amount of privacy. Why this never caught on in the US, I don't know.

And ditto all the previous posts on the transportation system.
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 08:56 PM
  #17  
pk
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1)RELAX
2)travel -public transportation
3)did I mention RELAX?
 
Sep 24th, 2000, 10:52 PM
  #18  
Jenna
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I love the way all the businesses and workers just come to a halt in the middle of the day to rejuvenate and relax, whether it's a two hour lunch in France or 4:00 p.m. tea time in England. And the way the tea and food is served! Not paper plates and styrofoam cups, but porcelain and silver, with little doilies under the cup! So nice to have such special touches with your cup of tea or coffee, and so great to be able to relax like that in the middle of a business day. Can any of you Americans imagine being able to close shop and taking a two hour lunch or a spot of tea? Wouldn't that be wonderful?
 
Sep 25th, 2000, 01:28 AM
  #19  
Paige
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I love the bread stores! Fresh bread everyday, in so many varieties!
I love how waiters leave you alone until you ask for the check. When I go back to the states, the waiters seem so rude and phony. Like, how fast can we free up your table and how much tip can I get out of you?
Ditto on the public transportation.
I love all the 'real' ethnic restaurants. Seems like in the states they modify the food to suit American tastes.
 
Sep 25th, 2000, 06:26 AM
  #20  
J T Kirk
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They speak foreign languages better than we do.
 

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