Europe 2017

Whoops! Late to post again! Maybe I’ll get more serious about this, but probably not.

My family visited Europe this summer and it was a lot of fun and very interesting, much like the last time we visited (in 2011, when it was just my wife and me).

Same as before, we were there primarily for a photonics trade show in Munich, with a couple weeks of vacation tacked on.

There are a few significant differences I noticed from the US/California:

  1. Germany, or Munich at least, is far less credit-card friendly. Based on my experience, smaller vendors just don’t take cards. Cash only. Bigger restaurants and stores take cards, but the majority of mom and pops don’t. This was unexpected (apparently we didn’t pay attention last time because this surprised us). The Netherlands (or at least Amsterdam) was much more card-friendly).
  2. Bavaria seems to be far beyond at least Northern California in solar adoption! Everywhere we went we saw huge arrays of solar panels. It was great to see, but I do wish the North State was keeping up. We certainly have plenty of sun…
  3. In Amsterdam in July, it’s apparently still quite light at 10 PM. Here in Redding, it’s VERY dark by this time. It’s kind of trippy to have such bright nights.
  4. Nowhere did I see toilet seat covers. Some places have a seat sanitizer to use to clean the seat, which was kind of interesting, and one Paris public toilet cleaned itself after each use, but most were bereft of anything. I suppose I have to acknowledge that toilet seats aren’t actually that germ-laden but it’s hard to get past the idea. Also, the Versailles McDonald’s near the train station just… didn’t have toilet seats. At all. That was fun.

A real highlight of the trip would have to be the wonderful sights we saw. The most memorable for me were:

  • Neuschwanstein castle, at least from the outside
  • A working clog factory near Volendam
  • Sainte Chapelle (again, as we also saw this in 2011) — still the most amazingly gorgeous room I’ve ever seen
  • Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse… wow, definitely the most expensive meal I’ve ever eaten, but so enjoyable!
  • The Marienplatz U-bahn’s public restroom (no joke, easily the nicest public restroom I’ve ever been in… cost less than a Euro for entry, if I remember correctly)

A few photos:

I’m pretty amazed my phone took all of those pictures.

Anywho, good times.

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