Speaking of trivia here are a few observations of mine from my travels throughout the UK, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands:
- Smoking is still pervasive in Europe. Smoking in restaurants in most of the countries I visited is common and young people in particular seem to be doing an awful lot of it.
- Tattoos are in vogue. Again the young predominated, but intensive tattooing with brightly coloured tattoos seemed to be common among the Europeans.
- I think I had two drinks of water out of taps while I was in Europe. Everyone is consuming water out of bottles and there must be millions of plastic bottles filled with water from consumption every week in Europe. The fact that local tap water is not fit to drink is really an indictment on us all.
- The roading systems in Europe are functioning well. Italy in particular impressed me with the quality of its motorways. Of course you pay for them through tolls and it is not cheap. But they are highly efficient, fast, safe and well designed.
- We hear a lot about economic crisis (particularly in Greece), the refugee situation, and the troubled interface between Eastern Europe and Russia. While all those issues are rumbling away in the background as you interact with Europeans, generally speaking they are not at the forefront of conversation.