August 2 - Eating out in Europe / Breakfast Around the World
Eating out in Europe
Outdoor eating and drinking in Europe is a major part of the European lifestyle.
It has many differences from the United States, which we found interesting
and unique. As we walked down the streets of London, Paris, Vienna, and many
other cities, there were outdoor cafes with huge awnings stretching as far
as you could see. We've also seen beer gardens (Munich and Salzburg) and outdoor
eating events. These three examples reflect the importance of eating and drinking
We have seen outdoor cafes in just about every place we've visited so far
in Europe. They're everywhere!! People will sit down hours at a time socializing,
and hanging out enjoying the sunshine. In the States you would never see as
many people spending that much time at a café. We have also seen people
sitting out at cafes at all times during the day. The other thing that we've
noticed is that people often order drinks such as tea, coffee, soda, and cappuccino
at these cafes. I can't imagine going to a café and not ordering food!
Another example is the beer gardens. Beer gardens are something that we
had never seen before. The first time we saw one was in Munich. It was a cheerful,
funny, and crazy scene that we had never experienced. About a hundred huge
wooden picnic tables were set up outside beside a lake. Near the tables were
stands where you could buy meat, sodas, and of course beers. The beers were
sold in 1 and one half liter mugs. Everyone got the huge liter mugs, except
my dad. We all got a kick out of a group of drunk guys singing songs, drinking
beers upside down, and falling asleep right on the benches. Everyone went
there to drink, including old men and woman. We also had a fun time watching
a big fat lady chugging down a one liter mug of beer. It was clear that the
beer gardens were a daily event for her!! We have seen many other beer gardens
since then (Salzburg and Vienna) and have concluded that they are much more
popular in German-speaking countries than other areas in Europe.
Outdoor eating events are also important to the Europeans. The most recent
one that we have attended was in Vienna. In the summer, there is a music festival
that takes place in Austria, particularly in the two main music cities Salzburg
and Vienna. In celebration of this festival, there was a huge screen set up
near city hall, which showed excerpts from operas every night. Hundreds of
citizens gathered in the square to see the opera. In the square was a huge
selection of foods from various countries across the world. Each country had
its own stand, where it displayed it's choices of food. Tables, ice cream
stands, and benches were all set up in the center of the square. This was
a huge social event and it seemed that everyone was there. The square was
so packed with people that you could barely walk. When we arrived, we saw
all these people, but not a single police officer. We also found it strange
when our food was served on glass plates and our drinks in glass cups. You
could easily just walk away with the plates and cups without being caught.
Europeans seem to be more trusted than Americans, which we have not only seen
in Vienna, but all over Europe. If an event like this was set up in the States,
there would be police everywhere, and plastic cups and dishes. The scenery
also contributed to this outstanding site. Beautiful fountains, trees, shrubs,
statues, and architecture were surrounding the square, which made this event
even more enjoyable. We were truly amazed at this great social event that
was so different from what we had ever experienced in our lives.
Breakfast around the World
Throughout the past four weeks, we have noticed many differences in breakfast
in each country that we have visited. So far, the breakfast in other countries
has been much than in the States. Our first different breakfast was an English
breakfast. Here we found that the morning meal consisted of eggs, bacon, ham,
mushrooms, tomatoes, and tea. In France the breakfast was very simple. It
was a light breakfast which included bread, croissants, jam, cereal, small
amounts of meat, and juice. At this point, we all couldn't wait to get back
to the U.S, and have a big stack of pancakes, waffles, bagels, and Mom's greasy
bacon. We now greatly appreciate the big and filling breakfast's back home.
The next three countries we visited were Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
The breakfast in these countries was similar, because each was German-speaking.
The breakfast here was more filling than in France, but still just wasn't
the same as at home. The main difference was that a major portion of the meal
was meat (salami, ham, and pepperoni). Besides the meat, there were also tomatoes,
cucumbers, cereal, bread, hard boiled eggs, jam, cheese, juice, and fruit.