Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Speaking of trivia - observations throughout Europe!

I have recently returned from a holiday in Europe. It is always good to get outside of New Zealand from time to time and look back into our country. It tends to give you an appreciation of what a good place New Zealand is to live and how sometimes we get pre-occupied with trivia when compared to the challenges the rest of the world have. 

Speaking of trivia here are a few observations of mine from my travels throughout the UK, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands:
  1. 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.
  2. Tattoos are in vogue. Again the young predominated, but intensive tattooing with brightly coloured tattoos seemed to be common among the Europeans.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
I found Europe to be generally in a relaxed mood with people simply getting on with their lives. Of course it is always great to come back to our beautiful country with clear skies, blue rivers and lots of wide open spaces. We really should continue to appreciate how lucky we are.

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