All posts by Zhihong Zhang

Something different in Europe

After the weekends after trips, I starts to reflect what I learned from this trips.Compared with US, many things are different in Europe, culturally or habitually. Some are different in church ritual. In the most European churches we visited, communion provides shared cup of wine instead of individual cups. Even in the English church service we attended, the ritual seems to be longer and slightly different than in states.

What surprised some of us are that most German business does not run on Sunday except some stores in the train stations. Their law considered sabbath into their law. Compared with US, I felt it is quite interesting since the secularism is increasing in Europe. US has a quite high Christian population but still run business on Sunday. This difference is little bit interesting.

What make me miss a lot in Europe is the cheap drink options and free restroom. Due the historical reasons of drinking water in Europe, many countries developed their beer and even now it is not common for people to choose normal drinking water. Since the budget limits of the trip, it is hard to pick something to drink for the meal. During the time I really want to just get some normal water to drink. In addition, in the Europe the free bathroom is quite hard to find except in some museums. I never need to worry about it.

Based on my observation, almost all the European countries we visited used more small vehicle . And in many car stores I visited, the small vehicles are showed in some main area of exhibition and it makes me feel that they are important parts of their sales. Instead of using huge vehicles to carry many people, nice public transportation systems were well developed in these countries. Even in some small city in Europe, they also had their own public transportation systems. I felt it is really convenient and Eco-friendly.

In the Germany, bottle fees are pre-charged to every recyclable bottle. If people do not recycle, they will lose a lot of money from it. So I always saw people go to recycle bottles. Overall, European has a better conscience of recycling and saving.

I think what European did is related to the fact that they have relatively small amount of natural resources compared with US. But I think it is really good to use this sustainable lifestyle. I think this lifestyle can save a lot of resources and the future generation also can get benefits from it.

Interesting experience on communicating people without using English.

The time is shifting and these three week trips just ended. Besides knowing the history and culture of Europe, I also learns how to communicate with people who spoke a language which I cannot understood. For the people who concerns about language,I have to say that it is not a big deal for most English speakers to travel in Europe. In the most tourist places , English is dramatically common and almost everyone can speak it.This fun facts of the trips are that all the country we visited do not use English as their formal language. Based on these facts, I and my friends met many interesting situations.

I and my roommate always walked out of the tourist place to find place for eating. The nice thing is that compared with tourist attraction area, all the price becomes quite decent and foods are more local people favored. As drawbacks, sometimes the English menu is not available for guests.

Since a lot of people spoke good English in big cities like Amsterdam and Paris,we did not have any trouble until we spent time in Nürnberg. Since the people in some local places does not speak the English, we have to use little bit German and pictures of menu to order foods. At the place I ordered the schnitzel and the JT ordered the kebab.When the local restaurant owner asked us middle size or big size of water, we have no ideas about what is going on. Since the German word of middle is “mite” which sounds similar to meat, JT thought they are asking about meat. This misunderstanding let JT got some immovable water in the glass. Since the place we come provided a giant schnitzel and kebab in a quite good price and good tastes, it does not bother us too much. However, this let us to take care of some common words of a language.

Another time I interacted with local was when I stayed In Czech Republic. When we reached a local grocery store and try to buy some non-sparkling water. We had trouble since the employees does not talk in German and English. We had to use body language to let people understand. Fortunately late on one employee understand “gas” we mean and we got what we wanted. Although There are just two small things in the trips, I had a different but interesting experience.

For the future traveller, my suggestion is to know some common sentences of destination if possible. Also, sometimes body language will help a lot since it is generally work over countries.

a late post of the yesterday

Yesterday we departed from the Munich to Nürnberg and finally reached the Prague in Czech Republic. In the morning we firstly visited the Dachau concentration camp and then spent a lunch break in the Nurnberg.
In the concentration camp, although it was not my first time to visit the concentration camps, I was still impressed when I read through the description of the camp. Just within one century, some people were unfairly treated as slaves and killed just because of their races. These things were naturally wrong since it did invades free will of human and broke the common sense of equality.

Standing on the concentration camps, I was really glad that ally successfully stopped the war and brought peace to the human. I think that the history is something used to remind of offspring and let them never repeat bad things. May these dead people have peace.
We should remember this events and embrace more on these good life now.

Besides this trip,I think this trip is very valuable that it provides a good overview of European history and let me think of my own culture. Similar to Europe, my home country,China,also has a very long history. while we does not protect old buildings and architecture like what these European countries did. Instead of protecting old stuff, in many area, people are more eager to develop new things in a very fast paces in my country.
ALso, Europe used more energy-saving vehicle and highly conscience of environment-friendly.
The time is quite fast for me and it is already past half of the trip. I am excited to explore more in Czech Republic and the rest of Europe.