What was your biggest culture shock, going to Europe in 2017?
I am an American and I travel a lot. I have lived in two European countries, so now in 2017 I feel no noticeable culture shock. I feel comfortable.
However, not so my French wife! After 30 years of living outside of France when she goes back to France now she's often shocked-by the many changes she sees. One of the things that shocks her is the proliferation of McDonalds restaurants. She can't understand why her people, known for their fine cuisine, can be so in love with their McDo burgers.
We moved from NY to Belgium in April 2017. I have traveled to Europe often before, but never through Brussels airport. What shocked me was the security measures instituted since the terrorist attacks last year. You are not allowed to be dropped off or picked up in front of the airport, only in a separate drop-off area which feels like miles away when you are dragging luggage. You walk through a long narrow tunnel to get into the airport (not sure of the purpose - maybe to be x-rayed?). I have never seen so many K-9 dogs in an airport and the cement barriers around everything, even the escalator entrances. And that is all minor compared to the number of heavily armed military and the extensive questioning by agents to even get into the ticket area. It might make some feel safer, but it felt both sad and extreme that we have come to these measures.
Though it might not seem like a big deal, my first stop in Europe was Zurich, Switzerland.
It is possible to sneak into the public transport without having a ticket. It is actually a common practice across Europe as I found out while traveling.
But I'm sure that the system is working well, if not they would have to change it to make sure everyone pays.
Coming from Singapore, we have a travel card which we need to use to tap to get into trains and buses. I am pretty sure the system in Europe won't work in my country.