a short list of universality: a reflection

It’s been an ongoing conversation, with realizing the smallness of our world especially within Western Civ, and here’s just a few of our observations…

Some things are universal, like

-everybody hates Trump (it’s a great topic for starting conversation)

-racism & populism & propaganda (from the Czech-Roma problem that spans back hundreds of years and embodies lower education, poor employment opportunities, and profiling to the a drunk Brit explaining to us the platform of Brexit [who also explained that UK citizens don’t feel like Europeans])

-nationalism (the light-hearted rivalry that Austrians, ‘little brother’, have with Germany, or, bigger, each country’s pride in their alcohol, their flag, and their past leaders, as well as, contempt for those nations and leaders who took away their autonomy)

-public trans (trains/buses & airports) organization (from major stations with retail stores and food courts to the color designated train lines and letter designation to indicate the type of trans)

-ice cream/gelato (duh)

-coffee (Vienna’s coffee remains supreme)

-alcohol (duh)

-pizza! (double duh)

-selfies and/or selfie sticks (and tourists taking pictures of things, then looking at their photo instead of enjoying the view in front of them)

-American pop music (I’ve heard Despacito in every country thus far)

-escalator etiquette: stand right, walk left (or get patted on the back/told to move/pulled over my your comrade)

-landscape (besides the hills between Dresden and Prague, most of my window time on trains has been rolling hills with little towns next to farms of spiral bailed hay, like much of what you see in rural mid-Atlantic/east coast towns)


And some things aren’t, like

-long island iced teas (has become a side adventure for Charley, so far Amsterdam had no idea, Berlin’s tasted like rubbing alcohol, but Prague knew what’s up)

-stair size (they’re often very short and deep, but many times, are also uneven; the stairs down from Cesky Krumlov castle varied in depth by 3 inches and randomly)

-mandatory quiet hours (in Germany/Austria it is illegal to be loud in public between 10pm and 6am; Prague had a similar policy with bouncers outside to ‘shush’ the smokers)

-pedestrian crosswalk lighting (the best of which, in Vienna, is two people holding hands, standing lit in red with their hearts clear through, but when lit, the two holding hand, their hearts draw out and illuminated and walking together in green/or maybe the Ampelmann in east Berlin who was designed by a traffic psychologist and has become a city mascot of sorts)

-currency (duh, though a bit unclear because not all EU nations have Euros and some non-EU nations do)

-language (duh, except most everyone knows some English)

-hospitality/openness/general friendliness (embodied by the Austrians we met in a matter of 36 hours; the first our friend Florian, who picked us up at our hostel, drove us to his house, fed us chips, rented a movie and shared a pizza, gave us endless things to check out while sharing his love for Arnold in a legit Austrian accent, and not expecting a damn thing in return, and then, our friends at the film festival who pulled two park benches together and snagged a six pack along with a bag of pretzels, told us to come back because they’d put us up, and left us with hugs and hearts full)


Expect some expansions on this list, as we continue our explorations!  Tomorrow, first a workout, and then around Budapest.

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