Reading Week

2 Dec

For my reading week I travelled to two different places.  First, I went to Munich, Germany.  Upon arriving in Ireland in September, I had the misguided opinion that all of Europe was basically the same.  Throughout the semester I’ve been slowly learning that most countries in Europe are very different.  While in Munich, we did a fair amount of shopping.  I felt that the clothing was much more “European,” while the clothing in Ireland is definitely different from that of the US, but much closer in style to the US than the clothing in Munich.  Also, while in Germany, I learned that “nothing is free,” at least that is what I was told a waiter in response to my request for tap water.  At that same restaurant in Germany there were pretzels on every table.  We had assumed that because they were on the table, they were free.  We assumed wrong.  Nothing like this has happened to me in Ireland.  They are much less tricky about their ways of getting money from people.

One large difference between the countries I’ve travelled to is the public transportation.  In Dublin, there are buses that run throughout the city and are priced differently depending on the distance the bus travels.  In addition to buses there is the Louis and the Dart.  All of these are monitored systems of transportation and it is difficult to sneak onto them.  When we were in Munich, we used the subway, trams, and buses.  We bought one group three-day pass, which only cost us less than five Euros each and could be used for all means of public transportation.  We never had to use our tickets.  Not only were they incredibly cheap, but no on ever stopped us for them.  We could have very easily not purchased any tickets and would have been perfectly fine.  Amsterdam, the second place we went during reading week, was completely different.  We only used the tram once, but it cost us about three Euros each for one hour of tram use.  Every country, and even city has very different systems of public transportation.  Another difference I noticed in Amsterdam was that cars would stop for pedestrians.  In the entire three months I’ve lived in Dublin only one car had stopped for me.  In Amsterdam, just in one day at least five cars must have stopped for me.  Overall, even though the countries in Europe are so close together that does not mean they are overly similar.

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