Western Europe


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Culture and Contrasts

Visiting Western Europe was both reliving old memories and also seeing new sights.

We had been concerned that Europe would be expensive - we had heard tales! However, apart from Norway, everywhere was quite reasonable - from a tourist's perspective anyway. Even Switzerland wasn't too bad.

Certainly Western Europe is well geared for the tourist - even in winter. There are plenty of really "tacky" souvenirs made in China, but also you have opportunities to buy something typical of the country that is actually made in the country.

Europe definitely treasures its culture and heritage. While the churches are the main storehouses for art and music treasures, there are also plenty of galleries and concert halls where you can indulge in "culture vulturing". Beautiful old buildings have been lovingly restored rather than torn down and replaced with "utilitarian design". Small towns in particular are still beautiful and apparently there are restrictions on developments to ensure they stay that way.

From an Australian perspective, Europe is comfortable, easy to get around in, awash in unbelievable architecture and art and mostly walkable. Plumbing however always hides some surprises! In Rome, one lever for the flush and one for the bidet. We were not expecting a combined toilet/bidet. It would have been nice to have been seated when the bidet let fly unexpectedly!