Author Topic: Traveling  (Read 1733 times)

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Offline Tatyana

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #60 on: August 22, 2019, 02:43:09 AM »
I have often wondered what it would be like to live in Europe where you can drive for a few hours and be in a completely different country with a different language and different customs. Its mostly about the food for me. We have a little of that here but not to the extremes I like to imagine people have there. Or am I being naive? 

When you cross from one country into another is it obvious (other than signs or flags) Is it like Epcot where you cross a line then the architecture, language and food changes? LOL  Obviously not that extreme but you get what I am asking.

The only thing that really lets you know you just crossed into another state here in the US other than signs is some crappy roadside store selling you something you could not purchase in the previous state. (fireworks, porn, stronger beer, liquor, marijuana, abortions, etc)   >:D

There is a certain look to the city centres in European cities as far as I can tell, although I am not extensively travelled in Europe, I have gaping holes like Spain and Portugal.

For example, there are a lot of Victorian Era Neo-Classical building everywhere in Europe.

Paris is overrated but probably the prettiest big city in Europe, Rome is one of the best cities in the world, London is always interesting, Amsterdam is a fun toytown, and Budapest is enchanting and a much better place to visit than Paris (PS Rai, I loved Hungary but couldn't link the right wing politics to anyone we met there, is it more of an issue in smaller cities).

European cities often have multiple 'centres', like loads of little villages squished together as people walk or catch public transport to a greater extent.





It is far more obvious when you look at the residential areas,

Offline Rai

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #61 on: August 22, 2019, 03:19:01 AM »

I have often wondered what it would be like to live in Europe where you can drive for a few hours and be in a completely different country with a different language and different customs. Its mostly about the food for me. We have a little of that here but not to the extremes I like to imagine people have there. Or am I being naive? 

When you cross from one country into another is it obvious (other than signs or flags) Is it like Epcot where you cross a line then the architecture, language and food changes? LOL  Obviously not that extreme but you get what I am asking.

As everywhere, borders in Europe are completely arbitrary and there is almost no culture shock-value of crossing one. Usually, people living next to the border would speak the same language and have a similar culture. There are subtle changes, but the transition is usually very smooth.

However, going between capitals and major cities can be a huge shift as they are markedly different. There are architectural similarities, especially within cultural blocks (Francophones, post-Habsburgs, Northern Slavs, Scandinavians, Southern Balkans, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, etc.), but they are all quite different.

The only shocking thing is the technological/wealth differences between some parts of the East and West.


and Budapest is enchanting and a much better place to visit than Paris (PS Rai, I loved Hungary but couldn't link the right wing politics to anyone we met there, is it more of an issue in smaller cities).

Budapest is still great to visit, but it is very depressing to live there.

Tatyana, when were you there? Things have been getting exponentially worse in the past 10 years or so. The politics are everywhere, but you aren't really going to encounter it as a foreign visitor. Hungarians don't like to talk politics in general, and those who speak decent English are generally not fascist supporters, though this is also changing.


Offline daniel1948

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #62 on: August 22, 2019, 11:22:00 AM »
... Perhaps you should read Bill Bryson’s book ‘Downunder’ ...

After I read his book "In a Sunburned Country" it seemed to me there were too many scary critters there and I decided not to go there. Then while planning a trip to New Zealand, and not finding a month-long tour (the length of time I wanted to stay) I ended up booking two weeks in NZ and  two weeks in Australia. It was literally right after hanging up the phone, after giving my credit card for the tour, that I remembered I was scared to go. I ended up having a wonderful time and didn't get killed by any of the scary critters. Though we did see some we thought were probably venomous. The highlight was three days on the Great Barrier Reef, where I snorkeled because I was not yet a diver. But the whole thing was great.

I was in France in 1966, give or take a year. It was not a friendly place. Nor was Germany where a total stranger threatened to beat up my friend for being an American. (Too soon after WWII?) Rome was filthy. Scandinavia and the Benelux countries were wonderful. Didn't visit Spain on that trip because of Franco, but I was there for a year and a half, starting in 1999. I liked Spain except that nearly everyone smoked nearly everywhere. And after 4 1/2 years in Mexico, the food in Span was decidedly bland. But by then I was eating seafood, which is very good there.
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Online bachfiend

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #63 on: August 22, 2019, 02:24:31 PM »
... Perhaps you should read Bill Bryson’s book ‘Downunder’ ...

After I read his book "In a Sunburned Country" it seemed to me there were too many scary critters there and I decided not to go there. Then while planning a trip to New Zealand, and not finding a month-long tour (the length of time I wanted to stay) I ended up booking two weeks in NZ and  two weeks in Australia. It was literally right after hanging up the phone, after giving my credit card for the tour, that I remembered I was scared to go. I ended up having a wonderful time and didn't get killed by any of the scary critters. Though we did see some we thought were probably venomous. The highlight was three days on the Great Barrier Reef, where I snorkeled because I was not yet a diver. But the whole thing was great.

I was in France in 1966, give or take a year. It was not a friendly place. Nor was Germany where a total stranger threatened to beat up my friend for being an American. (Too soon after WWII?) Rome was filthy. Scandinavia and the Benelux countries were wonderful. Didn't visit Spain on that trip because of Franco, but I was there for a year and a half, starting in 1999. I liked Spain except that nearly everyone smoked nearly everywhere. And after 4 1/2 years in Mexico, the food in Span was decidedly bland. But by then I was eating seafood, which is very good there.

In Australia, more people are killed by horses than by sharks or crocodiles.  More people are killed by bees, than are killed by snakes.  Australian snakes have an ill deserved bad reputation.  Deaths from snake bites are very, very rare, owing to the ready availability of antivenin.  Australian snakes aren’t aggressive, and will get out of your way if you give them the opportunity.  And their venom is largely anticoagulant and neurotoxic, meaning you’ve got time to get the antivenin, unlike other snakes which have venom which causes direct tissue destruction at the bite site.

Personally, I find Germany very friendly.  Of course, it depends where you go.  There are some places in Australia I’d never think of going owing to feeling of personal danger, although they’re few.  The same applies to all other countries.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #64 on: August 22, 2019, 03:39:01 PM »
... Perhaps you should read Bill Bryson’s book ‘Downunder’ ...

After I read his book "In a Sunburned Country" it seemed to me there were too many scary critters there and I decided not to go there. Then while planning a trip to New Zealand, and not finding a month-long tour (the length of time I wanted to stay) I ended up booking two weeks in NZ and  two weeks in Australia. It was literally right after hanging up the phone, after giving my credit card for the tour, that I remembered I was scared to go. I ended up having a wonderful time and didn't get killed by any of the scary critters. Though we did see some we thought were probably venomous. The highlight was three days on the Great Barrier Reef, where I snorkeled because I was not yet a diver. But the whole thing was great.

I was in France in 1966, give or take a year. It was not a friendly place. Nor was Germany where a total stranger threatened to beat up my friend for being an American. (Too soon after WWII?) Rome was filthy. Scandinavia and the Benelux countries were wonderful. Didn't visit Spain on that trip because of Franco, but I was there for a year and a half, starting in 1999. I liked Spain except that nearly everyone smoked nearly everywhere. And after 4 1/2 years in Mexico, the food in Span was decidedly bland. But by then I was eating seafood, which is very good there.

In Australia, more people are killed by horses than by sharks or crocodiles.  More people are killed by bees, than are killed by snakes.  Australian snakes have an ill deserved bad reputation.  Deaths from snake bites are very, very rare, owing to the ready availability of antivenin.  Australian snakes aren’t aggressive, and will get out of your way if you give them the opportunity.  And their venom is largely anticoagulant and neurotoxic, meaning you’ve got time to get the antivenin, unlike other snakes which have venom which causes direct tissue destruction at the bite site.

Personally, I find Germany very friendly.  Of course, it depends where you go.  There are some places in Australia I’d never think of going owing to feeling of personal danger, although they’re few.  The same applies to all other countries.

More people are killed by mosquitos than by any other animal, but a charging rhino is scarier than a buzzing mosquito. In Australia one of our stops was at a working cattle ranch. We were given the opportunity to go horseback riding, which I declined, because I knew a girl who was paraplegic after being thrown by a horse. The alternative was 4-wheeling, which I also declined. It wasn't the best part of that trip.

Most fears are not rational, and we are, irrationally, not scared of some really dangerous things, like riding in a car. The book scared me with its stories of venomous bugs and snakes, and the story of a woman who was dragged into a pool of water by a crocodile and (IIRC) all they ever found were her shoes. Okay, I'm probably remembering the story wrong, but still... Bryson loves Australia but the book seems designed to scare people away.

Germany might well be very different now than it was in 1966. The friend I was there with spoke a bit of German, but we couldn't even get anyone to give us directions. People would pretend they didn't even see you. In contrast, in the Netherlands, if you put your bag down for a moment the first person to pass would offer to help with directions or whatever you needed. I retained a strong prejudice against Germany and Germans until I met a family of Swiss and German descent in Canada who are wonderful people. (Of course, they're Canadian.) I retained a dislike of the French (who were not friendly when I was there) until France told GWB to go soak his head when he wanted their support of his invasion of Iraq.
Daniel
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #65 on: August 22, 2019, 07:50:26 PM »
After I read his book "In a Sunburned Country" it seemed to me there were too many scary critters there and I decided not to go there. Then while planning a trip to New Zealand, and not finding a month-long tour (the length of time I wanted to stay) I ended up booking two weeks in NZ and  two weeks in Australia. It was literally right after hanging up the phone, after giving my credit card for the tour, that I remembered I was scared to go. I ended up having a wonderful time and didn't get killed by any of the scary critters. Though we did see some we thought were probably venomous. The highlight was three days on the Great Barrier Reef, where I snorkeled because I was not yet a diver. But the whole thing was great.

You did the right thing. Australia is great (biased here, but still) and not at all as dangerous as it is sometimes made out to be. And yes, Australians do sometimes like to play up the danger for dramatic effect. That is a thing that we do.

More people are killed by mosquitos than by any other animal, but a charging rhino is scarier than a buzzing mosquito. In Australia one of our stops was at a working cattle ranch. We were given the opportunity to go horseback riding, which I declined, because I knew a girl who was paraplegic after being thrown by a horse. The alternative was 4-wheeling, which I also declined. It wasn't the best part of that trip.

It is absolutely your decision to make and I 100% respect your decision, but I'd like to point out that the places that offer horseriding treks have the most docile, boring horses ever. You're more likely to fall asleep while riding one of these horses than get thrown. In fact, the horse is too. They are trained to follow the horse in front and they do nothing else. The feistier horses are ridden by the instructors and people who indicate that they have equestrian experience.

Most fears are not rational, and we are, irrationally, not scared of some really dangerous things, like riding in a car. The book scared me with its stories of venomous bugs and snakes, and the story of a woman who was dragged into a pool of water by a crocodile and (IIRC) all they ever found were her shoes. Okay, I'm probably remembering the story wrong, but still... Bryson loves Australia but the book seems designed to scare people away.

The book is designed to sell books. You know how that works.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #66 on: August 22, 2019, 08:52:09 PM »
Again, fears are not rational. I like horses. But I feel no particular need to sit on one. I'd have preferred hiking, if that had been offered. I once cared for a horse for 3 or 4 days during a North Dakota winter. I was living in rural ND, across the road from my landlord. When he and his wife took a winter vacation he asked me to look after his wife's horse. I had to feed it, shovel out its stall, and break the ice on its water trough, twice a day. I also brushed it, though that was not required. I probably did a piss poor job of brushing but I like to think the horse enjoyed it. They had no livestock other than this one riding horse.

I imagine you're right about the horses in Australia. But this was too soon after meeting the paraplegic girl. Thinking back, and considering your post above, the horse that threw her was a race horse. Her job was exercising race horses. Not running them hard, but I suppose they would have been high-spirited horses. This didn't occur to me in Australia, but I still would not have ridden one. Plus, it didn't seem kind, to sit on an animal. (I don't eat them either.) And it was very rough terrain. Hell, the horse could get spooked by seeing one of those inoffensive snakes.  8)
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #67 on: August 22, 2019, 09:28:43 PM »
Again, fears are not rational. I like horses. But I feel no particular need to sit on one. I'd have preferred hiking, if that had been offered. I once cared for a horse for 3 or 4 days during a North Dakota winter. I was living in rural ND, across the road from my landlord. When he and his wife took a winter vacation he asked me to look after his wife's horse. I had to feed it, shovel out its stall, and break the ice on its water trough, twice a day. I also brushed it, though that was not required. I probably did a piss poor job of brushing but I like to think the horse enjoyed it. They had no livestock other than this one riding horse.

I imagine you're right about the horses in Australia. But this was too soon after meeting the paraplegic girl. Thinking back, and considering your post above, the horse that threw her was a race horse. Her job was exercising race horses. Not running them hard, but I suppose they would have been high-spirited horses. This didn't occur to me in Australia, but I still would not have ridden one. Plus, it didn't seem kind, to sit on an animal. (I don't eat them either.) And it was very rough terrain. Hell, the horse could get spooked by seeing one of those inoffensive snakes.  8)

Right, and as I said, I absolutely support your decision not to do it for any reason, or for no reason. Horses have been bred to be good at carrying people for many centuries, and riding can be a lot of fun if you're good at it. Personally I haven't been on a horse for over 20 years, but I'm sure muscle memory would kick in if I did get on horseback again. :)
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #68 on: August 22, 2019, 11:29:12 PM »
Personally I haven't been on a horse for over 20 years, but I'm sure muscle memory would kick in if I did get on horseback again. :)

Yeah, it's just like riding a bicycle, except, the horse does all the work.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #69 on: August 22, 2019, 11:49:04 PM »
Personally I haven't been on a horse for over 20 years, but I'm sure muscle memory would kick in if I did get on horseback again. :)

Yeah, it's just like riding a bicycle, except, the horse does all the work.

Not all of it. The boring docile ones, yeah, but as soon as you start getting into some advanced riding, it starts to become very physical.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #70 on: August 23, 2019, 12:13:02 PM »
I'd probably fall off the horse if it hiccuped. I can't ride a bike, either. I also have misgivings about the whole idea of "breaking" a horse for riding. I.e., breaking its spirit so that it won't object to being used that way. If they really are being bred to be that docile, I have a problem with that. But then, I have a different attitude about animals than most people do. If you're okay with eating animals, breaking their spirit probably seems like a small thing. And I actually enjoy providing my own motive power. Hiking or paddling. And I'm sure I'd enjoy cycling if I could do it.

I fear the above sounds judgmental. My apologies if that is the case. I do more than my share of bad stuff and I have plenty of hypocrisies. I'm just trying to explain why horseback riding does not interest me.
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Offline Tatyana

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #71 on: August 23, 2019, 06:21:28 PM »

I have often wondered what it would be like to live in Europe where you can drive for a few hours and be in a completely different country with a different language and different customs. Its mostly about the food for me. We have a little of that here but not to the extremes I like to imagine people have there. Or am I being naive? 

When you cross from one country into another is it obvious (other than signs or flags) Is it like Epcot where you cross a line then the architecture, language and food changes? LOL  Obviously not that extreme but you get what I am asking.

As everywhere, borders in Europe are completely arbitrary and there is almost no culture shock-value of crossing one. Usually, people living next to the border would speak the same language and have a similar culture. There are subtle changes, but the transition is usually very smooth.

However, going between capitals and major cities can be a huge shift as they are markedly different. There are architectural similarities, especially within cultural blocks (Francophones, post-Habsburgs, Northern Slavs, Scandinavians, Southern Balkans, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, etc.), but they are all quite different.

The only shocking thing is the technological/wealth differences between some parts of the East and West.


and Budapest is enchanting and a much better place to visit than Paris (PS Rai, I loved Hungary but couldn't link the right wing politics to anyone we met there, is it more of an issue in smaller cities).

Budapest is still great to visit, but it is very depressing to live there.

Tatyana, when were you there? Things have been getting exponentially worse in the past 10 years or so. The politics are everywhere, but you aren't really going to encounter it as a foreign visitor. Hungarians don't like to talk politics in general, and those who speak decent English are generally not fascist supporters, though this is also changing.

May 2018. We took the train in from Bratislava, Slovakia and went to Lake Balaton and Budapest.

I must admit the outskirts of Budapest looked a bit depressing, as did the tube/train station to travel to Lake Balaton.

That lake is fabulous, and again, we loved Budapest, and we stayed outside the centre.

As well, two of the best engineers I have met were from Hungary. One has since gone back, and Sandor might go to Sweden, but I think language is an issue.....

Anyway, it is hard for my brain to resolve the politics in Hungary with the Hungarians I have met and those that I know.

Online bachfiend

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #72 on: August 23, 2019, 06:43:16 PM »

I have often wondered what it would be like to live in Europe where you can drive for a few hours and be in a completely different country with a different language and different customs. Its mostly about the food for me. We have a little of that here but not to the extremes I like to imagine people have there. Or am I being naive? 

When you cross from one country into another is it obvious (other than signs or flags) Is it like Epcot where you cross a line then the architecture, language and food changes? LOL  Obviously not that extreme but you get what I am asking.

As everywhere, borders in Europe are completely arbitrary and there is almost no culture shock-value of crossing one. Usually, people living next to the border would speak the same language and have a similar culture. There are subtle changes, but the transition is usually very smooth.

However, going between capitals and major cities can be a huge shift as they are markedly different. There are architectural similarities, especially within cultural blocks (Francophones, post-Habsburgs, Northern Slavs, Scandinavians, Southern Balkans, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, etc.), but they are all quite different.

The only shocking thing is the technological/wealth differences between some parts of the East and West.


and Budapest is enchanting and a much better place to visit than Paris (PS Rai, I loved Hungary but couldn't link the right wing politics to anyone we met there, is it more of an issue in smaller cities).

Viktor Orban is the Hungarian Donald Trump.  Hungary is dying, owing to demographic factors.  The fertility rate is far below replacement rates, just like Japan’s.  But he’s opposed to immigration, preferring very weak financial incentives to increase births, which have never worked anywhere.

Whether the population of Hungary should drop (along with the rest of the world) is another question (global warming might be less with a smaller global population, unless it’s accompanied with a higher standard of living, which historically has been associated with higher energy consumption, usually from fossil fuels), but it’s a question that’s going to be answered in the coming decades.


« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 09:51:51 PM by bachfiend »
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Traveling
« Reply #73 on: August 25, 2019, 09:16:11 PM »
I'd probably fall off the horse if it hiccuped. I can't ride a bike, either. I also have misgivings about the whole idea of "breaking" a horse for riding. I.e., breaking its spirit so that it won't object to being used that way. If they really are being bred to be that docile, I have a problem with that. But then, I have a different attitude about animals than most people do. If you're okay with eating animals, breaking their spirit probably seems like a small thing. And I actually enjoy providing my own motive power. Hiking or paddling. And I'm sure I'd enjoy cycling if I could do it.

That's not quite what "breaking" a horse means any more. There was a time when it was true, and the term is still used, but it's more like training a dog. Horses are intelligent and wilful, but they can be trained using rewards for good behaviour like a dog can.

That said, there are still people who train horses in inhumane ways. There are people who treat dogs in inhumane ways too.

I fear the above sounds judgmental. My apologies if that is the case. I do more than my share of bad stuff and I have plenty of hypocrisies. I'm just trying to explain why horseback riding does not interest me.

And like I said, it's entirely your choice and I respect that. I'd just hate for you to have done so based on misinformation. :)
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Re: Traveling
« Reply #74 on: August 26, 2019, 05:23:02 AM »
Forget whale-watching from a big boat! Come to Maui in winter and come out whale watching in a kayak or an outrigger canoe. There's only one way to observe whales that's better than in a self-powered tiny boat at water level, and that's...
The cruise ships have kayaks. I was lifted out the water by two whales. They carried me to the shore.

I am confused by this post. I suspect some kind of a joke, but jokes often go right over my head. (And then other times I find something unbearably funny and other people can't figure out why I'm laughing.)

I've got nothing against cruise ships. I just would never want to go on one. So much easier to paddle out from shore. If the cruise ship allows you to take a kayak out when there are whales around, that's great. Do they allow this? I don't think the cruise ships that come to Maui have their own kayaks. They'll book you an outing with a local kayak outfitter or whale-watch boat, and probably charge you twice what you'd pay to the outfitter directly. And it's a crap shoot whether they'll book you with one of the better outfitters or just with the cheapest one.
The ship I was on was self-contained. They were ready to get you close to the whale wherever they were encountered. They had two and three person kayaks for novices to be assisted if needed.
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