So what's so different about Europe than the USA? My brief conclusion after seven weeks time in Belgium, France, and...well, that's about it.
1) People are happy to wait. Wait in line, wait for food, wait for someone to arrive. Not everyone is in the biggest rush of their life.
2) Bread--it must be freshly bought each day in the morning.
3) Commuting by bicycle is the best way to get around town. Consequently there are no obese people. Yes, there are lots of overweight people, but no one is obese. I believe there is a direct correlation between commuting by bicycle every day and the lack of obese people.
4) Every town has a "centrum" area were there is no traffic, and a lot of outdoor shops and dinning. Kind of like State Street, but in every town to a different degree.
5) All TV is Americanized. I can watch pretty much all of my favorite TV shows every day in Belgium...on English channels, with no subtitles. I would say half of the channels here are in English.
6) Music that doesn't make it in the USA comes to Europe and shines. All the top hits are long forgotten in the USA. Justin Timberlake? Brittney Spears? Ugh.
7) TV lacks censorship like the USA. If there is a news story about a catastrophe, they will show people dying and crying and screaming all over. They will play a video of a little girl crying for her dead mother to come back. It really opens your eyes to how much US news is "toned down".
8) Mullets are cool here. And necessary to fit in with the crowd.
9) Riding bicycles is way cool. Anywhere.
10) Finally....everything here is so old!
My time here in Europe is almost up for this year. Although I look forward to getting back to home in the good ol' USA, I'll miss the life here too. It really is not too bad once you get used to it.
Races to come: Oudenburg UCI 1.12 on Wednesday, maybe a kermesse after that, and possibly...one more big big race. Time to race hard for just one more week this season.