The mention of “Europe” does conjure up images of cobbled stone pathways, artistic edifices seeped in history and some in mystery, castles and forts, the renaissance and reformation, Da Vinci and Michelangelo and so on. It also brings to mind the beautiful cities of Paris and Venice, famous structures like the leaning Tower of Pisa and Eiffel Tower, invaluable sculptures like David and the Pieta, the pristine picture perfect Swiss Alps; the list is endless. And the fame and hype over each of these and such other places, structures and artwork are fully justified and well deserved. When you actually stand in front of them you cannot help but be awestruck. It is indeed a great feeling to absorb these timeless treasures. Travelling in Europe can be journey through time if you go to the right places and not just stick to the big cities.
However, while driving across in western Europe one would get to know you have pay to use toilets (that too exact change where the turnstile system is implemented), unwieldy paper towel dispensers (since it is recycled and after usage reels back in), pay for extra ketchup in fast food outlets, almost everything is more expensive than in the U.S., the public transport shuts down after midnight in most places like London, Paris etc. and is replaced by a night loop, stores close by 8 P.M. (not only is entry stopped but in some places customers are asked to leave before the closing time), places like Venice and parts of Paris are terribly crowded, need to beware of pick pockets in some places – its like, what is a ‘rose’ without a couple of ‘thorns’. But you can enjoy the rose without pricking on the thorns if you are careful.
But this made me realize one thing. What a wonderful place good old U.S.A is! I love this place – nothing can beat this place in terms of comfort, facilities, the friendly people. No cobbled stones here, no David or Pieta, but the sheer comfort bordering wastefulness looks inviting after you experience something other than what you are used to. So from a totally selfish and self indulgent point of view, “nothing can beat U.S”. I don’t have to pay for using the restrooms here!