During our travels throughout Europe, we visited quite a few large cities. Amsterdam, Paris, Prague, and Berlin were the largest cities that we spent spent a lot of time in. The whole time we were in these large cities, I kept thinking about how they are so different from large cities in the United States. The main differences I noticed between big cities in the United States and Europe were the buildings, roads, and sounds.
The most obvious difference when comparing cities was the age of the buildings. A lot of the buildings in Europe were hundreds of years old and made from brick and stone. This was always awesome to see because in America most of the buildings are newer and made metal with large glass windows. Also, the size of the buildings were very different. In Europe, the cities were usually large sprawling areas with 2 or 3 story buildings. In the United States, every large city is mainly made up of hundred story sky scrapers.
Another major difference was with the roads. When I think of American cities, I think of large grid like road systems. Most of the time they are packed with cars and pedestrians and traffic moves very slow. In Europe, most of the roads are very old and we’re not built in a grid like fashion. Because of this, there was never crazy amounts of traffic in the cities. Many people walked, biked, or took public transportation instead of taking cars.
The last major difference I noticed was the sound. Throughout our trip, it was very obvious that European culture is a lot quieter than American culture. People talk quietly in groups and this leads to quieter cities. Also, I heard only a few car horns while in Europe. In places like Chicago or New York, you can hear a car horn every few seconds. People are always in a rush and want to get wherever they are going as fast as the can. Because the European culture is much more laid back, I think that people have more respect for each other and don’t really care if they are going to get to their location a few minutes later.
Before coming to Europe, I thought that the big cities in America would be very similar to what we saw in Europe. After spending a lot of time in Europe, I learned that this is not true. European culture is much more laid back and not so urgent, and it leads to a pleasant experience.