Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some thoughts I had In Europe last week (in no particular order)

1. Europeans do not dress in special clothes to ride bicycles.

2. If you spend time in small cities in Italy and Germany where hardly anyone knows English and then go to Paris, it will seem like everyone in Paris is speaking English.

3. It is strange to find it easier to understand a 30 minute academic lecture in Italian than instructions on how to use the telephone in the hotel room.

4. There was more leg room in coach on my hour flight from Paris to Milan than on my seven hour flight from Pittsburgh to Paris.

5. It is possible to arrive too early for a flight in Europe.

6. I was upset when my train from Milan to Mantua was canceled and I had to wait two hours for the next one until I remembered that if a train from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia were canceled, one would have to wait until the next day for the next one.

7. Most people would not take a copy of every single newspaper available for free in the waiting area of the airport.

8. European airlines have not yet figured out how to cut costs like American airlines and I am happy about that. (This was a thought I had while reading my free copies of the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Financial Times, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Corriere della Serra, and El Pais in the Paris airport waiting for my flight to Milan.)

9. I will never master the subtleties of when to tip and how much to tip in Italy.

10. Mantua is a little hard to get to but tortelli di zucca makes it worth it.

11. I eat a lot of things at hotel breakfasts that I don't eat for breakfast at home.

12. Why do hotels put up environment-friendly notices advising guests to hang up towels that don't need to be replaced with a new one--and then fail to have enough hooks or bars to hang the towels?

13. It would be helpful to have the city map before getting to the hotel.