FlyDeltaJets87
Topic Author
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My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:52 am

I recently returned after nearly two weeks of travel in Europe, my first time across the pond. (I'm undecided if I'll do a trip report - if I do, it will be one massive one for my trips to Hawaii, Europe, and my upcoming trip to Turkey). We went to Germany, France, Luxembourg, and technically Austria as we drove through the northwest corner before crossing back into Germany. I realize two weeks doesn't constitute a lot of time there, but this is my opinion and my opinion and my first impressions from those two weeks determined whether or not I will want to go back.

So in the Pro's and Con's and just Observations from my trip over there.

- Very clean, especially Germany. You don't see a lot of trash on the side of the road. Paris was dirtier than what you saw in Germany, but still better than what I often see in many streets in the US. Most of the buildings were generally well maintained and kept too.
- For the most part, very friendly people who if they recognized you as tourists struggling with a map or trying to find some place or even just struggling with the subway ticket machine, they would help you out.
- I don't think your train network is as cracked up as you all make it out to be. It's as expensive if not more expensive than flying, and service wise it's not any better than the air. It does have its advantages, like being able to show up at the station 5 to 10 minutes before the train leaves and just getting right off when you reach your destination. It was neat to try something different but anything longer than Kaiserslautern - Paris, and I think I'll take the plane. I will say the travel facilities we used (airports and train stations) were all modern and well kept and fairly user friendly.
- Dining is expensive, especially soft drinks. We ate at one restaurant in Paris, and it cost us €20, or almost $30 for 4 1/2 Liter bottle sof coke, and no refills to boot anywhere. A good chunk of the places, especially in Germany, charged you even for water. We found it was cheaper to drink alcohol, but the long term problem with that was dehydration. On top of that, having to pay to piss was annoying. That was another reason we drank less fluids over there - to avoid having to pay to go to the bathroom. You didn't see a lot of overweight people in Europe either, probably because you can't afford to overeat over there.  wink 
- Parisians are friendly people....until they're behind the wheel of a car. The drivers are nuts. If/when I go back to Paris, I'm taking the subway everywhere I possibly can, even though that was an experience in and of itself, haha.
- Normandy was spectacular. I wish we would have spent more than a day there, and if you really want to study the battle in detail, you know you could spend several days or weeks there.
- The German Autobahn wasn't as exciting as you make it to be either. Yea, there were parts where you could go 130 kph....for about 15 minutes, then you'd hit a slow down to 60 or 70 kph (just the speed limit, not traffic) and then you'd speed up to 110 kph for 10 minutes then hit another slow point again.
- The way the EU is setup is nice. We crossed over the border into Austria our first night there and no passport required, no customs station....nothing. Might as well have been crossing the border from North Carolina into South Carolina. Same thing when we drove to Luxembourg and when we got off the train in Paris.
- Heavy investments in wind generated power, especially in Germany- something the US needs to do.
- Don't take it as a con, but many of the hotel rooms we stayed in (three hotels in France and one in Germany) had small rooms, especially when compared to the standard hotel room in the US.

So that's my rambling on what I thought of Europe in two weeks. There will be more details in the trip report, should I decide to do one.
"Let's Roll"- Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93, Sept. 11, 2001
 
Mir
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:31 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Dining is expensive, especially soft drinks

Very true. My biggest frustration in Europe is the inability to get free water at restaurants.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
I don't think your train network is as cracked up as you all make it out to be. It's as expensive if not more expensive than flying, and service wise it's not any better than the air. It does have its advantages, like being able to show up at the station 5 to 10 minutes before the train leaves and just getting right off when you reach your destination. It was neat to try something different but anything longer than Kaiserslautern - Paris, and I think I'll take the plane.

It depends. Service-wise it's nothing special, but I find the train to be more comfortable than the plane, and as long as you aren't going a massive distance I find it to be worth the extra time just for the minimal hassle.

I took a train from Berlin to St. Malo (in Brittany) once. It took me all day, but flying into St. Malo would have been hard (closest airport is in Dinard), and since I had connections in Cologne and Brussels, I was able to leave my luggage in a locker at the station and walk around the city for a bit - something I would not have been able to do on the plane.

If you go back to Europe, try getting a Eurail Pass. It makes things a heck of a lot cheaper.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Don't take it as a con, but many of the hotel rooms we stayed in (three hotels in France and one in Germany) had small rooms, especially when compared to the standard hotel room in the US.

Which is normal for a more compact continent. Homes are smaller as well - just something you learn to live with.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
jush
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:54 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
The German Autobahn wasn't as exciting as you make it to be either. Yea, there were parts where you could go 130 kph....for about 15 minutes, then you'd hit a slow down to 60 or 70 kph (just the speed limit, not traffic) and then you'd speed up to 110 kph for 10 minutes then hit another slow point again.

Hi,

glad you liked Europe and especially Germany. Please come back if you feel to.

I don't know which Autobahn you were on but many foreigners don't realise that German Autobahn has a lot of speed limits. Only a few parts are free to go. But there you can go as fast as you can if traffic allows it.
Anyway the speeds you mentioned (130 kph) are considered slow as a tortoise in Germany  Wink

Regds
jush
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haggis79
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:12 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- I don't think your train network is as cracked up as you all make it out to be. It's as expensive if not more expensive than flying, and service wise it's not any better than the air. It does have its advantages, like being able to show up at the station 5 to 10 minutes before the train leaves and just getting right off when you reach your destination. It was neat to try something different but anything longer than Kaiserslautern - Paris, and I think I'll take the plane. I will say the travel facilities we used (airports and train stations) were all modern and well kept and fairly user friendly.

the speed of the connection depends heavily if high-speed-rail is avaiable... I agree about the cost, but flying isn't exactly cheap either over here. But at least we do have an ecologically friendly alternative to short-haul flying...  Wink

Besides, you wouldn't have had a chance to fly Kaiserslautern-Paris anyway... you would have had to go to Stuttgart or Frankfurt, easily adding 2h (by train  Wink) to your itinerary...

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- Dining is expensive, especially soft drinks. We ate at one restaurant in Paris, and it cost us €20, or almost $30 for 4 1/2 Liter bottle sof coke, and no refills to boot anywhere. A good chunk of the places, especially in Germany, charged you even for water. We found it was cheaper to drink alcohol, but the long term problem with that was dehydration. On top of that, having to pay to piss was annoying. That was another reason we drank less fluids over there - to avoid having to pay to go to the bathroom. You didn't see a lot of overweight people in Europe either, probably because you can't afford to overeat over there. wink

well observed... the difference is easily explained: most European restaurants make their money from the drinks they sell, not so much from the food... in turn, they generally won't more or less throw you out of the house once you're done eating ("any dessert? No? Ok, I'll make your check ready then"), because as long as you keep drinking (be it alcoholic or non-alcoholic) they make good money anyway.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- Don't take it as a con, but many of the hotel rooms we stayed in (three hotels in France and one in Germany) had small rooms, especially when compared to the standard hotel room in the US.

we just have less space...  Wink perfectly normal in space-constricted regions.... look at the hotel rooms in New York City as an example, as well...

besides, I never quite understand the obsession with the size of a hotel room when I'm in another town as a tourist anyway.... when I'm in Paris, the place I least want to be (except for sleeping, of course) is my hotel room!
300 310 319/20/21 332/3 343 AT4/7 143 B19 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 742/4 752/3 763/4 77E/W CR2/7/9 D95 E45/70 F50 F70 100 M11 M90
 
davehammer
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:45 am

Glad you enjoyed your trip!

Come to England the nest time you're over! Free tap Water has to be provided by all establishments.

On the issue of train v plane. The High Speed rail is still a work in progress. France's system is top notch and Germany's isn't far behind and in many cases if you get a rail pass travelling by train is easier than going by plane I found. I did a bit of both on my last trip round Europe and the lack of airport messing about made life a whole lot easier it has to be said. Particularly between city pairs that are well served by train e.g Milan-Paris, Milan-Rome, London-Paris/Brussels.
 
JJJ
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:54 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- Dining is expensive, especially soft drinks. We ate at one restaurant in Paris, and it cost us €20, or almost $30 for 4 1/2 Liter bottle sof coke, and no refills to boot anywhere. A good chunk of the places, especially in Germany, charged you even for water. We found it was cheaper to drink alcohol, but the long term problem with that was dehydration. On top of that, having to pay to piss was annoying. That was another reason we drank less fluids over there - to avoid having to pay to go to the bathroom. You didn't see a lot of overweight people in Europe either, probably because you can't afford to overeat over there.

In France ask for 'une carafe d'eau', in Spain it's 'agua del grifo'. Obviously most restaurants prefer people to drink bottled water/soft drinks, etc. but you can get free water. I am almost sure they're required by law.

As per paying to go the loo.... go to a McDonalds. It's the best source for free, mostly clean, restrooms in Europe.

Glad you enjoyed your time on this side of the pond.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:14 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Parisians are friendly people

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

OF COURSE WE ARE!!!  Smile

Thank you for the compliment - in the name of my fellow Parisians, I convey our warmest thanks to you and please be sure to come back.

 Smile
 
cgnnrw
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:03 pm

Nice observations and glad you enjoyed your first trip to Europe. However, next time think about focusing on one area. I think you get more out of it. For instance spend a full week in one city using the first two or three days to see the sights there and then do day trips to the outlaying areas. So many tourist overlook the smaller cities or sights when they are in big cities. I know how it is with American vacations..if you're lucky you are allowed two full weeks at once so naturally you want to see as much as possible. Just a suggestion.

the water issue - it took me years to get use to bottled water because it's almost always carbonated. In the past few years though non-carbonated has become very common as well. A tip...buy a small bottle of water at the supermarket or where-ever and just fill it up with tap water from the hotel. Tap water is really safe to drink in most of the EU and it doesn't really taste anyworse than US tap water. For some strange reasons Germans are appalled by the idea of drinking tap water but insist carbonating their water is healthier...I guess this can go on the "different country different customs" list.

Autobahn - yes, it never ceases to amaze me how many Americans think Autobahns are no limits. I think being used to driving 65MPH (approx. 90KHM) makes anything faster seem great.

pay public restrooms - it's called capitalism

trains - yes they're good for short and medium distances. If you book far enough in advance you can get good deals online and I'm sure you can book from the US as long as you have credit card.

Cheers!
A330 man.
 
slz396
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:30 pm

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Dining is expensive, especially soft drinks. We ate at one restaurant in Paris, and it cost us €20, or almost $30 for 4 1/2 Liter bottle sof coke, and no refills to boot anywhere. A good chunk of the places, especially in Germany, charged you even for water.

The exchange rate of the dollar is not in your favour, so even a cheap lunch is pretty expensive for Americans these days, but you're right, eating out in the EU is not really cheap.

The concept of a free refill is totally unknown in Europe too indeed: you buy a drink and when you want another glass, you buy another drink. period. If you order water, they'll always give you bottled water and charge you just as much as if you'd order any other drink. It's standard all over the continent really. You can however try to ask for a can of water and then you should receive a pitcher of tab water, but it is something really not done and don't be surprised if they charge you some sort of service fee for it as well, because the owner of the place is really not going to like this... When you are eating out somewhere, you're supposed to order a drink from their list and you pay per glass.

On the plus side: prices are all inclusive in Europe, meaning you're not supposed to add any tip to the bill at all, although Americans often do it out of habit, much to the liking of the waiters, nor are there any other fees to add. What you see on the price list outside, is what you pay inside. You were aware of that, didn't you? Otherwise you've paid a really really good tip, because there is already a 15% tip included in the list price!  

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
You didn't see a lot of overweight people in Europe either

That's true, although more and more people in the UK are starting to look like they're Americans as well... It's the fast food culture, which is (still) lacking overhere.

The reverse strikes me each time I go to the USA BTW,especially because you never see fat Americans on television in Europe, so when you come to the US for the first time, you're really surprised by the disconnect between what you see on the streets and what you have seen on television.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Many of the hotel rooms we stayed in had small rooms, especially when compared to the standard hotel room in the US.

Indeed, that's another one of those differences.

You really wouldn't be the first American who complains at the reception of his hotel about the fact he and his wife are put up in a single room despite having booked for 2, just because their is only one queen-sized bed in it.

The opposite is true as well: Europeans often book a double room in the USA, yet they stay in it with 2 couples, just because it is so big.

The difference may have something to do with your previous remark about the number of overweight people.....  


Now, I have a question for you: all in all, you sound pretty positive about your trip and you mention in the title it reflects your NEW OPINION about Europe... May I ask what your OLD OPINION sounded like and what it was based on?

[Edited 2008-07-14 05:37:55]
 
columba
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:35 pm



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
The German Autobahn wasn't as exciting as you make it to be either. Yea, there were parts where you could go 130 kph....for about 15 minutes, then you'd hit a slow down to 60 or 70 kph (just the speed limit, not traffic) and then you'd speed up to 110 kph for 10 minutes then hit another slow point again.

Wrong Autobahn  Wink, where have you been ?
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Braybuddy
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:40 pm

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- Don't take it as a con, but many of the hotel rooms we stayed in (three hotels in France and one in Germany) had small rooms, especially when compared to the standard hotel room in the US.

Just wait till you see the Cab Inn chain in Scandinavia . . .

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Dining is expensive, especially soft drinks. We ate at one restaurant in Paris, and it cost us €20, or almost $30 for 4 1/2 Liter bottle sof coke, and no refills to boot anywhere

Paris is out on its own here: it's not unusual to be charged ten euro or more for two bottles of mineral water in a pavement café, yet you can quite easily get a three course evening meal, with wine, for 40 euro a head.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
On top of that, having to pay to piss was annoying.

I agree. Seeing that there's no apparent accounting for the cash, some of these old dears manning the toilets must rake in very good money, considering they usually charge 40-50 cent.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 6):
Thank you for the compliment - in the name of my fellow Parisians, I convey our warmest thanks to you and please be sure to come back.

One of the biggest myths is the arrogance and rudeness of Parisians. They aren't, but you do need to make a stab at their language, even if it's just a s'il vous plait or merci

Quoting Mir (Reply 1):
Very true. My biggest frustration in Europe is the inability to get free water at restaurants.

Most restaurants here will provide tap water free (and it's very drinkable). Apparently in Denmark you can be charged for tap water.

[Edited 2008-07-14 08:06:57]

[Edited 2008-07-14 08:13:07]
 
StuckInCA
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:32 pm



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
I don't think your train network is as cracked up as you all make it out to be. It's as expensive if not more expensive than flying, and service wise it's not any better than the air. It does have its advantages, like being able to show up at the station 5 to 10 minutes before the train leaves and just getting right off when you reach your destination.

A key difference between the rail network in most of western Europe when compared to flying is that you can get virtually anywhere. When you include regional trains, it's a very very thorough network. If your trip comprised primarily of visiting larger cities then I'd see your point.

Also, when I was younger and more carefree, I'd just ride the train and then get off when I thought a place looked interesting rather than have everything planned out.
 
ANITIX87
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:15 pm

FlyDeltaJets, I'm very happy you've found this new opinion of Europe. So many Americans are shocked when I say I'd love to go live there for a few years. My parents are European, so I've seen a lot of the continent (accumulated about 2 years there) and I love the culture there. It's so different than the United States (not necessarily better, don't misunderstand) and a place I'd love to spend some time, especially since I have cousins there and have mastered 3 European languages, allowing me to travel virtually anywhere.

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 10):
One of the biggest myths is the arrogance and rudeness of Parisians.

I wouldn't say arrogance and rudeness, I would call it pride. Parisians are very hospitable people if you show an interest in their city and their culture. If, however, you are ignorant, refuse to even attempt a French phrase, and compare their city to another one, they tend to become defensive about their city. I don't mean any of this as an insult, as I think pride in one's culture is a great thing, but it can be a bit of a shock to Americans who are not used to new places and different cultures.


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Dougloid
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:31 pm



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- Heavy investments in wind generated power, especially in Germany- something the US needs to do.

Spend some time in Iowa or Texas. The money's going in fo sho.

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 12):
I wouldn't say arrogance and rudeness, I would call it pride. Parisians are very hospitable people if you show an interest in their city and their culture. If, however, you are ignorant, refuse to even attempt a French phrase, and compare their city to another one, they tend to become defensive about their city. I don't mean any of this as an insult, as I think pride in one's culture is a great thing, but it can be a bit of a shock to Americans who are not used to new places and different cultures.

Those folks sound an awful lot like us Americans. I'm starting to like the French more and more.

By the way,

Happy Birthday to France. I've changed my flag for the day.

Quoting Slz396 (Reply 8):
Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
You didn't see a lot of overweight people in Europe either

That's true, although more and more people in the UK are starting to look like they're Americans as well... It's the fast food culture, which is (still) lacking overhere.

The reverse strikes me each time I go to the USA BTW,especially because you never see fat Americans on television in Europe, so when you come to the US for the first time, you're really surprised by the disconnect between what you see on the streets and what you have seen on television.

I dunno. I've been watching the Tour de Lance all week and there seem to be some hefty folks cheering on the riders. Maybe not as many as you'd see wandering around hereabouts but most folks looked like they hadn't missed too many meals.

I've also been watching House Hunters International on HGTV (Hi! I'm Suzanne Whang) a lot lately, and I must say, if folks in Europe are getting shortchanged, it's in what they get for their housing euro when they make the decision to buy something-particularly in the amenities that most folks here in the states take for granted.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
NoUFO
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:32 pm

Sounds pretty fair.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- Parisians are friendly people....until they're behind the wheel of a car. The drivers are nuts.

This video gives you an idea how to cross a street in say: Rome or Paris:

http://service.tagesschau.de/multimedia-box/index.php?id=Wickert

Choose "Station 8".
The video shows former news anchor Ulrich Wickert crossing the Place de la Concorde in Paris without minding the cars too much.

(It's in German, but you will get the idea.)
I support the right to arm bears
 
ANITIX87
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:49 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 13):
Those folks sound an awful lot like us Americans. I'm starting to like the French more and more

There's a difference between immense pride and xenophobia...don't get me started on Europeans coming here and knowing enough English to get by while we go over there and can barely manage, "voulez vous couchez avec moi" thanks to a Christina Aguilera song.

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N1120A
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:02 pm



Quoting Mir (Reply 1):

Very true. My biggest frustration in Europe is the inability to get free water at restaurants.



Quoting JJJ (Reply 5):

In France ask for 'une carafe d'eau'

And in Germany "leitungs wasser". They have to give it to you and will be more than happy to do so if you have already ordered food.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
GDB
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:10 pm

An interesting account, thanks.

The flip-side I think, of the apparent smallness of hotel rooms, is how many visitors to the USA get to see, if they do more than stay in one city, the sheer size of the US, the distances between places.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:24 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 16):
And in Germany "leitungs wasser". They have to give it to you and will be more than happy to do so if you have already ordered food.

But don't order "Wasserleitung" as my first ex did once, to the consternation of the waiter. She had just ordered a piece of water pipe.  Wink

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
Dougloid
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:22 pm



Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 15):
There's a difference between immense pride and xenophobia...don't get me started on Europeans coming here and knowing enough English to get by while we go over there and can barely manage, "voulez vous couchez avec moi" thanks to a Christina Aguilera song.

"Lady Marmalade" was recorded by Patti LaBelle in 1967. Christina Aguilera wouldn't make a pimple on Patti Labelle's ass.

You can hear some of it here:

http://www.pattilabelle.com/

I think xenophobia has gotten a bad rap.

It's good to be the smarty pants.




 Wink  Wink  Wink
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
ANITIX87
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:51 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 19):
"Lady Marmalade" was recorded by Patti LaBelle in 1967.

20 years before my time, though I do know the name Patti LaBelle. Sorry for the youthful neglect, haha.

Xenophobia has gotten a bad rap because it stems from extreme patriotism. Being patriotic or pround, as I said above, is not bad, but when you start neglecting other cultures for lack of open-mindedness, it becomes an issue. And keep in mind that I say this as an American and as a Swiss citizen from the canton of Valais, where the people are admittedly very xenophobic. I do not mean anything I have just said as an insult, so to anyone who takes it as such, I remind you that I am, in that case, unashamedly insulting myself as well.

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MD11Engineer
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:52 pm

Concerning having to pay for using the toilet, years ago most public toilets in Germanywere free, but they were also very neglected. They were dirty, vandalized and you had junkies shooting up in them. Today, most public toilets have an attendant, who keeps them clean and provides items like toilet paper, paper towels and soap. His / her presence also keeps unsavoury people out (like junkies looking for a place to inject drugs).
Obviously the attendand wants to be paid.
For myself, I rather pay 50 Euro cents to be able to use a clean, hygienic place than go to a dirty place for free, especially if it is for a No. 2.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
Sabena332
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:23 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
The video shows former news anchor Ulrich Wickert crossing the Place de la Concorde in Paris without minding the cars too much.

A friggin' classic! Uli Wickert is a world-class journalist and I quit watching the "Tagesthemen" after he left, now I am a "heute-journal" guy.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 16):
"leitungs wasser"

It is spelled "Leitungswasser".  Wink

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- The German Autobahn wasn't as exciting as you make it to be either. Yea, there were parts where you could go 130 kph....for about 15 minutes, then you'd hit a slow down to 60 or 70 kph (just the speed limit, not traffic)

We don't have 60 or 70 kph speed limits on the Autobahn beside in construction sites. Sure, there are a lot speed limits and traffic jams but I can think of a lot of stetches where you can go 230+ kph in the late evening. Two weeks ago a friend and me went from Paderborn to Soest via the A33, at some point we reached 217 kph in my friend's VW Eos with the roof open... that was a fun experience! Big grin

Patrick
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iairallie
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:33 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 16):
And in Germany "leitungs wasser". They have to give it to you and will be more than happy to do so if you have already ordered food.

Though that often carries a charge as well. My favorite eatery in LEJ charges 1 euro for a glass of tap water about half the price of the bottled.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
N1120A
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:39 pm



Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 23):

Though that often carries a charge as well. My favorite eatery in LEJ charges 1 euro for a glass of tap water about half the price of the bottled.

I have never seen that if you order something else with it.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 22):

It is spelled "Leitungswasser"

Yeah, I didn't smash the words together to make it easier on them  Wink
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ThePRGuy
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:43 pm



Quoting Mir (Reply 1):
Very true. My biggest frustration in Europe is the inability to get free water at restaurants.

Thats the law here in the UK - If someone refuses, you can have them nicked by the plod!
Heathrow has been described as the only building site to have its own airport.
 
767Lover
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:46 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 13):
I've also been watching House Hunters International on HGTV (Hi! I'm Suzanne Whang) a lot lately, and I must say, if folks in Europe are getting shortchanged, it's in what they get for their housing euro when they make the decision to buy something-particularly in the amenities that most folks here in the states take for granted.

I watched an episode where a couple was looking for a house somewhere in Italy and none of the houses came with full kitchens...you had to "bring your own" cabinets, counters and appliances.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:04 pm



Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 10):
One of the biggest myths is the arrogance and rudeness of Parisians. They aren't, but you do need to make a stab at their language, even if it's just a s'il vous plait or merci



Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 12):
Parisians are very hospitable people if you show an interest in their city and their culture.

 checkmark   yes 

I am honestly touched and honoured by your comments - while I would not are compare us with Japanese or Thai people in terms of general hospitality and sense of welcoming, I do think that our reputation is much, much worse than what we actually are. Having had the chance to live extensively in Paris (20 years, born and bred there, 12ème et 13ème arrondissements  sun  ), but also in "province", I can tell you that I found people in "province" much ruder and generally grumpier than Parisians. You can discount my own personal bias here, but I honestly think it is true to a degree.

 Smile

In all, I cannot thank you guys enough for taking the resources (money, time and energy) to 1) visit France (and of course Paris), and 2) to be kind enough to send such a nice compliment our way. Be assured that it has not fallen on deaf ears and that a good word travels fast.

Thank you again.
 
N1120A
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:05 pm



Quoting ThePRGuy (Reply 25):

Thats the law here in the UK - If someone refuses, you can have them nicked by the plod!

Well, I don't think they will get nicked, but I bet they get fined by the relevant people.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
StuckInCA
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:40 pm



Quoting ThePRGuy (Reply 25):
nicked by the plod!

... and you've just alienated at least 99% of people reading your post  Smile
 
Dougloid
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:41 am



Quoting 767Lover (Reply 26):
Quoting Dougloid (Reply 13):
I've also been watching House Hunters International on HGTV (Hi! I'm Suzanne Whang) a lot lately, and I must say, if folks in Europe are getting shortchanged, it's in what they get for their housing euro when they make the decision to buy something-particularly in the amenities that most folks here in the states take for granted.


I watched an episode where a couple was looking for a house somewhere in Italy and none of the houses came with full kitchens...you had to "bring your own" cabinets, counters and appliances.

I saw that one. Amsterdam and Venlo were pretty bad too.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
FlyDeltaJets87
Topic Author
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:56 am

Wow....this threads got quite a bit of responses.

Quoting Jush (Reply 2):
glad you liked Europe and especially Germany. Please come back if you feel to.

Oh, I imagine my career in the US Air Force will bring me through Ramstein or somewhere in Europe at some point. That's why went this summer. My mom volunteered for a 120 day deployment to Ramstein, and we took two weeks to go over and visit her.

Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 3):
Besides, you wouldn't have had a chance to fly Kaiserslautern-Paris anyway... you would have had to go to Stuttgart or Frankfurt, easily adding 2h (by train ) to your itinerary...

Yea I know.  wink 
We took the ICE train and it originiated in Frankfurt, stopped in K-town where we picked it up, and a couple other places before continuing onto Paris. If I lived in FRA and wanted to get to Paris, I'd probably fly though.

Quoting Jush (Reply 2):
I don't know which Autobahn you were on but many foreigners don't realise that German Autobahn has a lot of speed limits. Only a few parts are free to go. But there you can go as fast as you can if traffic allows it.
Anyway the speeds you mentioned (130 kph) are considered slow as a tortoise in Germany

Well, I think part of it is we were in the hills and mountains in southern and southwest Germany (we stayed near Ramstein Air Base and we drove the Autobahn to Garmisch and Munich). Maybe it's better in the low country.

Quoting Slz396 (Reply 8):
Now, I have a question for you: all in all, you sound pretty positive about your trip and you mention in the title it reflects your NEW OPINION about Europe... May I ask what your OLD OPINION sounded like and what it was based on?

What I read and saw on here and other forums to be honest. Like the train system, for example. IMO, Europeans make a lot of hype about their rail networks and while it was a neat way to travel and convenient in some ways, especially as noted if you're traveling outside of the major cities, but I just didnt find it as great as I thought I would. On the flip side, I've heard about a lot of rude Europeans who are unfriendly and unhelpful to tourists, yet besides when Europeans are in driving or traveling on the subway mode, they're pretty friendly and helpful.

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 10):
One of the biggest myths is the arrogance and rudeness of Parisians. They aren't, but you do need to make a stab at their language, even if it's just a s'il vous plait or merci

My dad took French in high school and remembered enough of it to be able to say "Hello. I'm an American. I know some French. Do you speak English?" and a little bit beyond that. Around Ramstein Air Base in Germany, almost everyone spoke English so it wasn't a problem there.

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 4):
Come to England the nest time you're over!

I want to visit England because the people there speak the same language I do. They sound funny but at least I can talk to them without a problem.  silly 
In all honesty, I really want to get to the UK and Ireland to play golf though.  Smile

Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 7):
For instance spend a full week in one city using the first two or three days to see the sights there and then do day trips to the outlaying areas. So many tourist overlook the smaller cities or sights when they are in big cities. I know how it is with American vacations..if you're lucky you are allowed two full weeks at once so naturally you want to see as much as possible. Just a suggestion.

To an extent I agree. You could have spent a week alone in the Louvre. Our big thing to get to though was Normandy. Dad and I felt if we only got one place while we were in Europe, that was it. We did some things around Ramstein Air Base and Landstuhl. We made it up to Trier and drove across to Luxembourg to go visit the US Military Cemetary where Gen. Patton is buried.
But if I get stationed over there at some point, I'll get 30 days of leave or more each year for the military so I can take plenty of long weekends to go tour Europe. And it's a lot cheaper when you don't have to pay the plane ticket across the Atlantic to get there  Smile

Quoting Columba (Reply 9):
Wrong Autobahn , where have you been ?

Well, we spent the whole trip looking for the town of "Ausfarht", but couldnt find it.  wink 

Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 7):
pay public restrooms - it's called capitalism

I know. It was just something different, and mildly, annoying. I don't think that would fly in the US. The civil rights crowd might just throw a fit. At least if you used the restroom at one of the highway plazas, you received a credit towards your meal, and also the facilities were generally cleaner than what you see in the US though, at least the public facilities.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
This video gives you an idea how to cross a street in say: Rome or Paris:

Crossing the street there was like Russian Roulette. And I did decide if I go back to Paris and have to drive, I'm bringing an M-1 Abram as my vehicle of choice.  wink 

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 27):
In all, I cannot thank you guys enough for taking the resources (money, time and energy) to 1) visit France (and of course Paris), and 2) to be kind enough to send such a nice compliment our way. Be assured that it has not fallen on deaf ears and that a good word travels fast.

Well, "Merci" for the kind hospitality while we were there. We were shocked when we were within minutes of arriving and we were trying to figure out the subway ticket machines and when the people behind us saw we were struggling they offered to help us through the system rather than grumbling while waiting in the (quite lengthy) line behind us. Ironically, the same thing happened in New York City in 2001 when we visited. A local NYC resident saw my dad trying to figure out the subway ticket machine and helped him out. Other people offered directions and recommendations no problem. Another city that receives a stereotype that the locals are rude, but we didnt get that case at all. Just don't get in their way on the road though, in either city, and you're good.  wink 
I really enjoyed Paris, much more so than I thought, I would. We took a river cruise on the Seine our first night there, right around sunset and that was great. The architecture there is beautiful. Just really, really expensive to eat. Dad and I joked that when we got back to the States, we'd go to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and feel like we were getting a bargain.  silly 
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NoUFO
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:13 am

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Reply 31):
But if I get stationed over there at some point, I'll get 30 days of leave or more each year for the military so I can take plenty of long weekends to go tour Europe.


I know an American from OK who was stationed in Germany and came with a list of places he wanted to see. After eight years of service, he left with a longer list than the original one. He (American) can provide me (German) with wonderful tips on what to see in Bavaria, though.  

[Edited 2008-07-14 18:15:59]
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n229nw
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:09 am



Quoting Mir (Reply 1):
My biggest frustration in Europe is the inability to get free water at restaurants.

This totally varies from country to country. For France and Germany you CAN get free tap water in most restaurants (people above mentioned how to ask). In Belgium it is different, unless it has changed in the last couple of years. Last time I tried that in a couple of restaurants in Belgium they basically said "ha ha where do you think you are, in France? We don't do that here..."

In Russia, meanwhile, you don't WANT to drink the tap water. Moscow you might be able to get away with it, but in St. Petersburg it has a known parasite in it. I almost drank some by accident a couple times when I was brushing my teeth, by habit, but it also tastes like seawater, so you remember not to swallow it anyway!

Quoting Jush (Reply 2):
Anyway the speeds you mentioned (130 kph) are considered slow as a tortoise in Germany

One time I got a ride through Mitfahrzentrale (a cool rideshare program) in Germany, and the driver was doing 250kph. I was scared s**tless too because the other traffic was not going nearly as fast, and he was tailgating and yelling at other drivers. I thought I was going to die. We did however beat the ICE train on the same route...still, I don't wish to repeat that particular experience.
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N1120A
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:17 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Reply 31):
stopped in K-town where we picked it up

Funny, never head it called that by a German.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
TylerDurden
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:37 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
Parisians are friendly people....until they're behind the wheel of a car.

I'll agree to both. A friend and I got frustrated with trying to see the sights on foot (and didn't want to miss anything by going on the Metro) so we struck a deal with a very nice and informative taxi driver to haul us around for the afternoon. While I have no idea if anything he told us was true----his passion and knowledge on many subjects (including American politics) was refreshing---and very amusing.

For anyone shopping in Paris...it's the only way to do it. He was a maniac in trying to get us close to the stores....and was nice enough to refer us to a great restaurant and some night clubs.
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:11 am



Quoting Mir (Reply 1):
into St. Malo would have been hard (closest airport is in Dinard)

Dinard and St. Malo are close neighbours, the problem rather is that the schedules of Dinard are not very good

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 4):
Free tap Water

in Switzerland for example is available in most restaurants, while some DO charge

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 22):
"Leitungswasser"

"Leitungs-Wasser" would be easier to read, particularily for non-German speakers. The trend in German to put the words together without break and write words like Leitungswasserabgabelageplansachbearbeiter is a bit difficult for many outsiders !
 
tz757300
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:15 am



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 36):
Leitungswasserabgabelageplansachbearbeiter

German for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!
 
TLG
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:17 am



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 21):
For myself, I rather pay 50 Euro cents to be able to use a clean, hygienic place than go to a dirty place for free, especially if it is for a No. 2.

I rather like the US system where, for the most part, the restrooms are clean & hygenic, AND free!

-TLG
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:31 am



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
crossing the Place de la Concorde in Paris without minding the cars too much.

-
it is the only way to cross such roads in places like Paris or Cairo
 
Klaus
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:44 am



Quoting TZ757300 (Reply 37):
German for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

Not really — contrary to that one, composite words like the one given above actually make senseBig grin

It's not recommended, however, to drive it to such extremes in practice. At some point, hyphens or a modified description would be advisable.
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:49 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 40):
composite words like the one given above actually make sense!

-
of course, just like the famous Wienerdonaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft or what in Zurich used to be called the Zurichseedampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft or the Strassenbahnliniennetzplan or at ZRH the Ausweiszonenplan !
 
Klaus
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:55 am



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 41):
of course, just like the famous Wienerdonaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft or what in Zurich used to be called the Zurichseedampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft or the Strassenbahnliniennetzplan or at ZRH the Ausweiszonenplan !

I generally shy awy from monstrosities like those myself... As they say, not everything that can be done should be done...! Big grin
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:30 am



Quoting 767Lover (Reply 26):
I watched an episode where a couple was looking for a house somewhere in Italy and none of the houses came with full kitchens...you had to "bring your own" cabinets, counters and appliances.

This is the case in Germany as well. You buy or rent a place and you bring your own furniture (unlike in Ireland, where the landlord can charge extra for supplying the furniture, even if it is just junk from an auction).
I prefer to bring my own stuff, then I know it is according to my taste.

Jan
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ACDC8
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:00 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Thread starter):
- The German Autobahn wasn't as exciting as you make it to be either. Yea, there were parts where you could go 130 kph....for about 15 minutes, then you'd hit a slow down to 60 or 70 kph (just the speed limit, not traffic) and then you'd speed up to 110 kph for 10 minutes then hit another slow point again.

Were you driving the A40 by any chance? LOL!

130kph, how "touristy" ...  Wink  Silly

As already pointed out, there are several areas on various Autobahns that have speedlimits in place, usually between 100-120km/h. As Sabena332 also pointed out, you'll typically only see a 60-80km/h speedlimit in a construction zone.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
WunalaYann
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:13 am



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 43):
I prefer to bring my own stuff, then I know it is according to my taste.

Your taste? I didn't know "Germany" and "taste" had any form of association...  biggrin 

No offence, just some bad French joke.
 
ThePRGuy
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:21 am



Quoting N1120A (Reply 28):
Well, I don't think they will get nicked, but I bet they get fined by the relevant people.

Well, no, actually.

Recently some local pub owners who repeatedly refused to give away water for free were taken to court over it and given community service!
Heathrow has been described as the only building site to have its own airport.
 
ANITIX87
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:10 pm



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 27):
Be assured that it has not fallen on deaf ears and that a good word travels fast.

It's amazing how a stereotype (good or bad) can be created by just one or two people forming the same opinion. And I feel the same way you do when someone tells me they loved Switzerland and found the people hospitable. It gives a good sense of pride, no?

Quoting TylerDurden (Reply 35):
For anyone shopping in Paris...it's the only way to do it.

Unless you're like me. In 1998 I was looking desperately for a Zidane jersey and walked from my hotel about 5 blocks from the Eiffel Tower across the Seine and to the only ADIDAS store I could find. And then walked back because I'd spent all my cash on the jersey. I think I walked about 4 hours. Got to see the city though which was incredible!

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 36):
The trend in German to put the words together without break

I went to a restaurant in Berne for some roschti (spelling?) and I ordered veal sausage, roschti, and steamed vegetables. But it was all one word that couldn't fit on the page, so they'd hyphenated it. Very funny to see, and I didn't even TRY to pronounce it. I just pointed and said, "Das, bitte". About the extent of German I know, except for David Hasselhoff songs hahaha.

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ME AVN FAN
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:43 pm



Quoting TZ757300 (Reply 37):
Leitungswasserabgabelageplansachbearbeiter
German for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

-
A more sensible way of writing would be
Leitungswasser- Abgabe-Lageplan-Sachbearbeiter
-

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 47):
roschti (spelling?)

It is either "Röschti" or "Rösti", and you in Berne of course may have
Emmentaler-Röschti on the menue, and in Zürich it may be
Züri-Gschnätzlets mit Röschti
 
N1120A
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RE: My New Opinion On Europe

Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:51 pm



Quoting ThePRGuy (Reply 46):

Recently some local pub owners who repeatedly refused to give away water for free were taken to court over it and given community service!

In lieu of a fine I am sure. I don't think they were brought up on criminal charges.

Quoting TLG (Reply 38):

I rather like the US system where, for the most part, the restrooms are clean & hygenic, AND free!

For the most part? A huge number of "public" bathrooms in the US are filthy.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss

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