Just as I was about to put together a list of the things ‘we love Europe for’, I received an email from my Parisian friend, who is in the midst of planning her vacation next month, even though, as I recall, she just took one two months ago. She told me that this time she is going to New York for a week or longer and than she will spend some quality time with her friends in Los Angeles (she just can’t get over the open pool at the Standard West Hollywood with a city sky-view.) And even though, we, as the proud residents of DC, don’t have to really plan a trip to New York, all we have to do is to reserve a space on the next weekend’s Megabus DC-NY, we still can’t get over the “unfairness” of the longevity of our American vacations.
So, here are the things that we love Europe for (agree or disagree, please feel free to contribute to the list.)
1.5 months of vacation.
A 29.99-Euro airfare from London to Rome, from Rome to Berlin, from Paris to Athens…
Women wear no bra tops on the beach
…and everyone is OK with both of the above.
Italians and Russians call subway – metro, Brits – tube, Germans – untergrundbahn, Portuguese - passagem subterranean…
Brandy and Glühwein (mulled wine) is ok to drink at lunch in Germany, on a work day.
Absinthe is legal, in some parts of Europe.
Almost all of Europe can be reached via rail, and most European countries offer great passes throughout Europe for those sixty years of age and over, and for people under 26 years of age can take advantage of reduced fares for youth passes.
You don’t have to smile if you have a stomach ache, or you broke up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or you just spilled coffee on your new suit…you are a human being and they do understand it in Europe.
You don’t have to justify your sick days and your vacation time.
Europeans actually do take vacation, unlike 40% of the Americans (what’s up with that, are we trying to earn all the money in the world and then have a heart attack at 40 and take all our money to the grave?)
Europeans actually want to see Paris at 16, London at 20, Rome – at 25, Amsterdam – at…as early as possible (they do not believe that you’ve got to travel when you are at the age of having grandchildren.)
Europeans value friends – they actually mean it when they say “I’m here for you whenever you’d need me…”
Europeans actually do mean when they say at the wedding “Till death till we part” (and not “till you have a slight problem then we part!” 50% of marriages in USA end up in divorce. Source: AboutDivorce.org.)
Europeans actually enjoy spending Christmas and/or New Year’s with the family. Many people make up excuses not to visit the families.
Europeans do not believe in having “strawberries available year around, 24/7”; Europeans believe in seasonal harvests because they do want to enjoy strawberries that smell and taste like strawberries and not like foam. They do believe that watermelons are at their best in August, strawberries – in June and truffles in the fall.
When Europeans invite friends over, they don’t just offer chips and salsa, they actually do offer food and drinks.
Europeans live to enjoy life; they do not live to enjoy work.
Europeans not only know the name of their own prime minister, but they also know the names of foreign authors, politicians, scores of soccer games and Forum One racers, as well as what languages are spoken in what countries, and what flora and fauna inhibit in other locations.
Europeans have other things in life to obsess about: culture, politics, economy, family & friends. (Maybe that is why they do not wear the latest jeans from 7 For All Man Kind and do not fancy hair extensions and fake sun tan from the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson.)
Europeans do not discuss their underwear, toilet habits and what they ate for breakfast.
Europeans marry earlier, they divorce less and they try to avoid babysitters at all cost (perhaps it’s because European grandmothers do baby-sit their grandchildren.)
Europeans actually do try to speak a local language when they go to visit a foreign country (French does not ask a Portugese bystander if he/she speaks French, Greek does not ask an Italian if he/she speaks Greek.)