Last month, I was in Europe for a week on business. Madison to Chicago, To London to Milton Keynes, to Zurich, back to London and then to Chicago and Madison.
Was a real good trip (the business side, and seeing UK and Switzerland), but there were some things that just seemed.. well, weird.
Driving on the other side of the road.. yet using Miles instead of Kilometers in the UK. Also, instead of using “feet” for exits (Exit 1500 feet) they use Yards.. the only thing I know that uses yards is American Football. And that there are 3 feet in a yard.
GBP.. the pound. or lbs or # .. since I don’t have GB English keyboard setup. First off, the exchange rate is crazy, and then, the coins?! It was hard keeping all the denominations straight. 1 pence, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 lb, 2 lb then 5 lb note and onward. Bills were too big for my wallet too.
The signs. “Give Way”, “Kill your Speed”, “Mind the Gap”. and so forth..
Sandwiches.. what is up with the sandwiches in the UK? Tons of different types and “flavors”. Odd for an American I guess.
Internet: no free wifi. Anywhere. UK or Switzerland. You pay by the hour, or 24 hours. What a rip.
Mobile service. Roming charges are through the roof, data roaming 20$/1MB – wtf! 50 cents an SMS..
Food.. proper english breakfast every day.. and for dinner, random things .. everything is similar to US, but slightly different. Just odd.
Country Pubs – loved these in the UK.. very laid back, my type of place.
Bacon. – wtf? real bacon is called streaky bacon. UK bacon is like, canadian bacon/ham ..kind of. Give me real bacon, any day.
Public transport – trains, the “tube” (subway) and other things, just way more advanced than here. Things are closer together, you can walk.
Roundabouts – there are like 6 in Sun Prairie, about 600 in Milton Keynes.
Beer – usually good beer on tap, no Bud, Miller, Coors, etc, etc. The crappy beer is good beer in the US.
Toilets – I never met one that flushed right, or some at all
TV – in the UK.. BBC 1,2,3 and Sky.. and thats it. In Switzerland, a few more channels, but after 11 PM, every commercial was an ad for .. well.. x rated things. Much different than USA
Zurich airport was the cleanest I have ever seen. Welcoming too.
Easyjet – boarding from the Tarmac
Downtown Zurich – very nice. Tons of bikes and walkers and train riders. Cobblestone walkways, just a good area.
Swiss Francs – worse that GBP. More denominations (1/2 francs?!?) and the conversion rate is horrible, not only that , but inflation rate is horrible. 2 beers for 17 francs? phhhh
Swiss.. most people can talk “baby” words in English.. Hi, Bye, Yes, No, Thanks, etc, etc.. some are real good at english, some have none. Your mileage may vary. If you go to a bar, just as for “Beer” and you might get something good, or bad.
Soccer – world cup was going on. I could hear vuvuzela’s everywhere i went from the TV’s having the games going.
Taxi drivers take credit cards in Zurich.
You can get Kangaroo and Ostrich Fajitas in Zurich..
There is a huge snow dome in Milton Keynes. You can go snowboarding any time of year.
The weather was nice, didn’t rain at all, 70’s.. but learn to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.. since they all report in Celsius.
The iPad made it from Chicago to London, on the whole time, reading a book, and lost only 40% of the battery.
The trip was awesome, I had a good time, learned a lot about our business in Europe, met some great people, put faces to names, and just all in all had fun. The only downsides were, I missed my family and I wish had more time with each country and group in Europe. Two conflicting things!