European Oddities

Learnt to speak slowly when communicating with the local Deutsch speaking people! I’m too fast and they are too slow:-(

I’m all for conserving water but seriously no water jets in toilets? You think paper is more clean over water and that is conserving natural resource? BAH!

Why do they serve bland Indian food in our 5-star restaurants citing  that westerners can’t handle spicy food. We went to 4 Indian food joints on our trip and all served nice spicy food. It was not made specially for us – the hotel owners told us that the local people loved it that way!

The Europeans enjoy our Indian Thalis not just the butter chicken and naan!

By default the first communication happens in their mother tongue and then they switch to English seeing your blank face. (We in our country first speak English and are not even well-versed with our mother tongues. Guilty party and makes me feel ashamed!)

Beer and alcohol is had at all times of the day at all places – markets, railway stations, underground shops,everywhere! I did not see any drunk, rowdy, misbehaviour on my entire trip – why do we in India and Middle East make a big deal about alcohol!

Europe is to be seen by road or railway travel – only then can you experience the ethereal beauty of this place.

Anyone will go out of their way to guide a tourist – irrespective of the country you are in or the nationality you possess.

Saw a lot of elderly/old people on our travels – they are amazingly independent, still go on treks with their walking sticks, love to talk and have a terrific zest for life! (Why do we make a big deal about expecting our kids to be with us all the time?)

For the first time on our journey, saw beggars as those in India in Vienna.

My sis in UK often jokes that in London we are still living in the 1800s! What she says is true – the cities, the houses look as if they have been preserved for ages. That is where lies the beauty of this place I think – preserving tradition. (Don’t you get a lovely feeling when you walk along the Fort Area in Mumbai – I wish the entire city was as beautiful – there is a different charm to it.)

Breakfast is pretty lousy unless you enjoy cold cuts! Most times I struggled with bread and butter alone! But awesome breads, even better ice-cream and lovely coffees!(A European couple remarked to me that Indian breakfast was the best – swelled with pride)

Did not adapt to the famous “fondue”, simply did not – the smell prevented me from trying it:-( But again I’m not great at experimenting so don’t get biased by my opinion.

Went on an art tour in Austria! I did not know the palace only stocked art paintings. Most kids in school are petrified of Maths, for me it was drawing and art. I could never understand it – even then, even now!

I’ve a fascination for public transports so I’m now a natural fan of entire Europe. Amazing systems – trains, trams, buses. Who needs a taxi! Enjoyed the tram rides the most. (Why did they shut those down back in Mumbai:-()

Walk and cycle is the motto of every place we visited. Never realised walking could be this fun!

Every city you visit has an old town, a famous shopping street (at most times named Bahnhofstrasse), a lake or river, a boat cruise, a walking tour, baroque and gothic architecture, a fortification wall, a hill, a famous bridge and a famous church.

Realised that population is the only reason the places are clean and systematic. (Admire India even more for dealing with the unmanageable population and still surviving, I’m sure these countries would have a terrible time if they had the kind of population that we do!)

The place makes you fall in love and you keep wanting to get back. I’ll be back again – to visit the remaining famous places.

P.S: The chronicle series for the remaining places will continue! Vacation has ended so decided to put up this post first!


Swiss Chronicles : Mt. Pilatus


Swiss Chronicles –Zermatt Matterhorn


  1. Amit

    This may not be one of the oddities you are speaking about, but the european hospitality seemd to be an “odd” surprise. Quite contrary to the feedback from all those who had travelled earlier.
    An elderly lady going out of her way to prevent us from getting on a wrong train, wonderful tourist office personnel, warm hosts at nearly every hotel (can’t forget Hotel Baeran where the host actually got up at 5:30 to have some breakfast packed for us)…

  2. @Divesh: Thanks:-)
    @Maneesh: Absolutely correct Maneesh about both ;-))
    @Neha: Welcome and thanks:-)

  3. Neha

    great observations Minal….

  4. The Legend Returns

    In India we dub ppl speaking in local languages as illiterate countrymen! Raj Thackeray would be proud of Europeans (minus the violence ofcourse). Agree fully on the alcohol part :-p

  5. Divesh

    Was really interesting to read your travelogue. More so being an Indian living in Zurich for four years now.

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