*buildings lean and tilt at odd angles-not sure if the insides are as lopsided but the outsides sure are crazy
*with fries, you can get either ketchup or mayo–your choice but they may charge you .50 euros for the condiments FYI
*taxi’s are surprisingly upscale as many are Mercedes and even saw a Tesla–expensive rides for a taxi
*don’t expect street signs in English-there aren’t any. Pull out your map provided by your hotel and figure it out–nice locals will stop and ask if you need help. Say YES!
*you get menu’s for your weed selection in the cafes all over Amsterdam..coffee shop is code name usually for pot café served with a side of caffeine too
*people are impossibly thin and healthy and gorgeous–what they must think of us when they visit the US where we don’t live this healthy lifestyle and more food is considered better
*no need for gyms here with all the biking and walking–saw very few gyms
*no helmets on the bikers, even the kids, which is counter to all safety precautions in the US
*Thom and I are amazed that there aren’t bodies littering the streets with no stop signals and bikes/scooters/walkers/cars/trams going every which way but somehow it all works
*just like Vietnam, life is enjoyed on the sidewalks but in Hanoi locals are sitting on plastic stools eating phao and here they are reclining in wicker cushy chairs enjoying Heineken with friends under heat lamps
*not alot of public bathrooms so just like China, there are men pissing in the streets-day and night. In the train stations, you can find public bathrooms but have your .50 euro coin ready because you have to pay attendant to get in to use. If you are out and about, you can also usually just walk into any nice hotel and act like you belong and use their lobby facilities
*work days start at 10 a.m. with lunch and then off by 5 p.m. to enjoy happy hour–quite the life style but don’t expect to get a cappuccino before 8 a.m. when the cafés open up vs. Starbucks back in Seattle that open at 5:30 a.m. to provide caffeine for commuters
*people like to display their little collections on the ledges in their street level apartments–we saw Pez collections, photos, etc. Cool glimpse into their lives that they share.
*no big tacky mega stores like Target or WalMart–lots of little groceries, boutiques but not a lot of international brands-no Gaps, etc. that I saw
*bookstores everywhere and vinyl/cd stores–peeking into apartments, we saw lots of floor to ceiling bookcases just filled with books… my kind of place
*in the US you see folks at cafés on their devices but here everyone is just drinking and actually interacting with other human beings vs. their devices… very refreshing
*love the practice of getting a little ginger cookie with every cup of coffee-yum!
All in all, the European lifestyle is one of enjoying life to the fullest with families and friends, whether with food, music, art, literature, architecture, wine or beer. I think they have their “priorities in order” as Hermione famously told Ron in Harry Potter. 🙂