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Old 09-17-2018, 02:41 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
9,065 posts, read 4,016,128 times
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Originally Posted by city living View Post
Pierre, where would you live in Belgium? I didn't care for Brussels but I loved Bruges. I visited Antwerp and Ghent as well but honestly, I couldn't tell you anything different about them anymore, they're kind of a blur. I did a day trip to Salzburg in Austria and I'd LOVE to go back. I thought it was beautiful. As for Germany, parts of Munich felt run down to me and Berlin felt a little more like NYC, I think, than any of the other places I visited while I was over there.
Given my propensity to travel, I'd likely go with Brussels. With the Eurostar, you have easy access to Paris and London from there. They also now have service to The Netherlands as well. That said, I've seen parts of Antwerp and Ghent, and both are BEAUTIFUL. The main square of Ghent (The Grand Place) is very elegant, especially during the holidays. It's interesting because it's the Flemish part of Belgium, so you have this cultural mix there (same deal with Antwerp). There was a great Belgian place down in Greenwich Village called "Bruxelles" that I frequented upon returning from Europe that closed some years ago. A good friend of mine is part Turkish (from the European side of Turkey) and a third Belgian so he took me to that place for moules-frites and my first Duvel. I've been a fan ever since. There was also Markt on 6th Avenue in the 20s at least for good Belgian beer and Belgian dishes, but they closed recently too earlier this year. That used to be down in the Meatpacking District, but they moved to Chelsea several years ago and it was one of my brunch spots on weekends.

I have a good friend who is half German and he lived in Cologne (he now lives in NYC). His favorite European city is Salzburg. They are very big on Mozart there (and Beethoven too) and it's sort of this very picturesque place almost untouched by time in terms of the architecture and such. Switzerland is also great but extremely expensive given the high standard of living that the Swiss have. Salaries even for the lowest of workers is thus much higher than in other places. My boss regularly goes to Switzerland for business and brings us back Swiss chocolates from the local chocolatiers there. Good stuff...
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:54 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
9,065 posts, read 4,016,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by city living View Post
As for Germany, parts of Munich felt run down to me and Berlin felt a little more like NYC, I think, than any of the other places I visited while I was over there.
Forgot to comment on Germany... I didn't do as much travel in Germany as I would like. I was surprised at how little English Germans speak there, but I was able to get by with the German that I do speak, but I think Berlin is much more hip. It's become quite expensive like most of the Western European capitals these days. It seems like a more young, liberal artist part of Germany with the graffiti and such all about.

Denmark is another interesting place. I'd like to get to Copenhagen. When I lived in Florence, there was a classmate of mine who I'd meet at my flat for a project we were working on. He was always taking trips to Copenhagen (via train ) basically every week. I'm like dude, what's in Copenhagen? He said he just liked going up there... I had my suspicions as to why...
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:12 PM
 
5,522 posts, read 5,448,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrepont7731 View Post
Given my propensity to travel, I'd likely go with Brussels. With the Eurostar, you have easy access to Paris and London from there. They also now have service to The Netherlands as well. That said, I've seen parts of Antwerp and Ghent, and both are BEAUTIFUL. The main square of Ghent (The Grand Place) is very elegant, especially during the holidays. It's interesting because it's the Flemish part of Belgium, so you have this cultural mix there (same deal with Antwerp). There was a great Belgian place down in Greenwich Village called "Bruxelles" that I frequented upon returning from Europe that closed some years ago. A good friend of mine is part Turkish (from the European side of Turkey) and a third Belgian so he took me to that place for moules-frites and my first Duvel. I've been a fan ever since. There was also Markt on 6th Avenue in the 20s at least for good Belgian beer and Belgian dishes, but they closed recently too earlier this year. That used to be down in the Meatpacking District, but they moved to Chelsea several years ago and it was one of my brunch spots on weekends.

I have a good friend who is half German and he lived in Cologne (he now lives in NYC). His favorite European city is Salzburg. They are very big on Mozart there (and Beethoven too) and it's sort of this very picturesque place almost untouched by time in terms of the architecture and such. Switzerland is also great but extremely expensive given the high standard of living that the Swiss have. Salaries even for the lowest of workers is thus much higher than in other places. My boss regularly goes to Switzerland for business and brings us back Swiss chocolates from the local chocolatiers there. Good stuff...
It's very easy to travel from Brussels, I agree, but it was my least favorite city to walk around in and if they didn't have the huge clean-up crews on the streets in the mornings, it would be pretty gross. Ghent and Antwerp are nice to walk around in and we even took a stroll down the red light district in Antwerp. I also found it much easier to walk around in the other cities, whereas I'd sometimes find myself confused in Brussels.

I thought I would love the frites, but alas, I do not. I made sure to try them multiple times from multiple places.

Salzburg was beautiful but I thought it was funny to hear all of these tourists singing songs from The Sound of Music. Like GROUPS of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrepont7731 View Post
Forgot to comment on Germany... I didn't do as much travel in Germany as I would like. I was surprised at how little English Germans speak there, but I was able to get by with the German that I do speak, but I think Berlin is much more hip. It's become quite expensive like most of the Western European capitals these days. It seems like a more young, liberal artist part of Germany with the graffiti and such all about.

Denmark is another interesting place. I'd like to get to Copenhagen. When I lived in Florence, there was a classmate of mine who I'd meet at my flat for a project we were working on. He was always taking trips to Copenhagen (via train ) basically every week. I'm like dude, what's in Copenhagen? He said he just liked going up there... I had my suspicions as to why...
Really? I found most of the Germans spoke English in the major cities. I can say, "Ich mochte essen." Which is good enough for me, though I don't have the umlaut here. ;-)

I went during Oktoberfest---something I probably would not go back for---just SO many people---and I hate crowds.

There are really just too many places to go. I'm heading down to the Caribbean soon, because I love the Caribbean and SCUBA diving far more than a lot of other things but we were planning on possibly going to Japan. Then my husband changed his mind to Italy. Now I am thinking of going out west of this great country, because we are really outdoorsy people, and I want to just spend two weeks seeing the sites. I'll bring my backpacking tent, no problem.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:57 PM
 
2,862 posts, read 3,696,624 times
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I've lived in four states other than New York, Canada (Montreal), spent about a year in Spain and Italy, and I've spent several months in a few other places (Romania, Brazil and France).

I had a great time everywhere I went, but I loved Spain because people were so open, friendly and fun (it was the south). I also had a great experience in Romania, but it was so long ago so I don't know what it's like there now. At that time there were so few foreigners that people just assumed I was Romanian despite considerable evidence to the contrary. The first day I got to Romania I stayed in a hotel and was probably the only person there. I ended up having a great time though.

Italy was beautiful, but way too many creepy and aggressive men, and I didn't find Italian women to be very friendly either. Men in Italy were on your tail Also some cities (like Florence) are so overrun with tourists at certain times and feel like a big museum.

I have a couple of Dutch friends and they say that Brussels (and Belgium in general) is really boring. I was only there once and it looked nice though. Amsterdam seemed like a cool place to live, but the language is supposed to be so hard to learn.

Last edited by yodel; 09-17-2018 at 08:34 PM..
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:48 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
9,065 posts, read 4,016,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodel View Post
I've lived in four states other than New York, Canada (Montreal), spent about a year in Spain and Italy, and I've spent several months in a few other places (Romania, Brazil and France).

I had a great time everywhere I went, but I loved Spain because people were so open, friendly and fun (it was the south). I also had a great experience in Romania, but it was so long ago so I don't know what it's like there now. At that time there were so few foreigners that people just assumed I was Romanian despite considerable evidence to the contrary. The first day I got to Romania I stayed in a hotel and was probably the only person there. I ended up having a great time though.

Italy was beautiful, but way too many creepy and aggressive men, and I didn't find Italian women to be very friendly either. Men in Italy were on your tail Also some cities (like Florence) are so overrun with tourists at certain times and feel like a big museum.

I have a couple of Dutch friends and they say that Brussels (and Belgium in general) is really boring. I was only there once and it looked nice though. Amsterdam seemed like a cool place to live, but the language is supposed to be so hard to learn.
LOL! I’m sure the Belgians say the same about the Dutch. All of those “cafés” in Amsterdam for you know what. At least they’ve cleaned the place up a bit from what it was like.... As for Florence, there are tourists for sure, but you have to live AWAY from the City Centre. I considered a place on via delle Belle Donne (gotta love the name ). Looked great online. It was under $2,000 USD, but I didn’t want to be that close to the action, so I settled on a place a few blocks from the Palazzo Pitti. My entire building consisted of Italian professionals that could afford the higher rents (doctors, and others). My neighbor was an older lady who was rarely home so I usually was alone on the top floor. It was a walk-up but so worth it. I sometimes would step out of my bedroom window and venture on the roof (the apartment was called Il Tetto fittingly). I’d take cloves of garlic and throw it at the pigeons on nearby rooftops. The way that I look and dress, I wasn’t always a give away as being an American. My Italian is basically native and I speak with a Tuscan accent in Italian, so I can pass as someone who grew up there. In Sicily where part of my family is from, they all thought I grew up there. I spent most of my time in a small town just above Palermo (Monreale) at the recommendation of some of the locals who I was traveling with from Rome to Palermo on a direct train. It was a lot of fun.

Like the Swedes, most of the Dutch speak very good English since those Northern European languages are close to English. Dutch is a very rough language, similar to German. They have those very long words that they build together I believe. Even the numbers are a pain. To say twenty-one for example, in German they go “one and twenty” but it is one word (einsundzwanzig). Crazy...
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:54 AM
 
25,190 posts, read 18,502,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrepont7731 View Post
We're being invaded by transplants that's why!!

LOL... That and it's overpriced...
They improved the city big time, thank goodness. And more are coming so don't you worry.

And aren't your parents from Italy so who are you to call someone a transplant if you're a first generation American? Some of these people have families in the US for centuries. It's their country they can move where they please.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:31 AM
 
202 posts, read 90,224 times
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Originally Posted by NyWriterdude View Post
They improved the city big time, thank goodness. And more are coming so don't you worry.

And aren't your parents from Italy so who are you to call someone a transplant if you're a first generation American? Some of these people have families in the US for centuries. It's their country they can move where they please.
If you are a native born US citizen you are free to comment on any immigration policy, or on transients to your native born city. Imagine you telling someone who is let's say 85 years old born in this country and fought in Vietnam that "their parents came from another country." LOL. Puh lease.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:06 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
9,065 posts, read 4,016,128 times
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Originally Posted by NyWriterdude View Post
They improved the city big time, thank goodness. And more are coming so don't you worry.

And aren't your parents from Italy so who are you to call someone a transplant if you're a first generation American? Some of these people have families in the US for centuries. It's their country they can move where they please.
No, grandparents are. Parents were born here...
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:10 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
9,065 posts, read 4,016,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by city living View Post
It's very easy to travel from Brussels, I agree, but it was my least favorite city to walk around in and if they didn't have the huge clean-up crews on the streets in the mornings, it would be pretty gross. Ghent and Antwerp are nice to walk around in and we even took a stroll down the red light district in Antwerp. I also found it much easier to walk around in the other cities, whereas I'd sometimes find myself confused in Brussels.

I thought I would love the frites, but alas, I do not. I made sure to try them multiple times from multiple places.

Salzburg was beautiful but I thought it was funny to hear all of these tourists singing songs from The Sound of Music. Like GROUPS of them.



Really? I found most of the Germans spoke English in the major cities. I can say, "Ich mochte essen." Which is good enough for me, though I don't have the umlaut here. ;-)

I went during Oktoberfest---something I probably would not go back for---just SO many people---and I hate crowds.

There are really just too many places to go. I'm heading down to the Caribbean soon, because I love the Caribbean and SCUBA diving far more than a lot of other things but we were planning on possibly going to Japan. Then my husband changed his mind to Italy. Now I am thinking of going out west of this great country, because we are really outdoorsy people, and I want to just spend two weeks seeing the sites. I'll bring my backpacking tent, no problem.
Well Brussels can have that international sterile feel with the EU there and all. I think Ghent and Antwerp are great though. Charming little Flemish parts of Belgium. The Germans have been coming around just like the Spanish have. It used to be that fewer of them spoke English. With the younger crowd now and things being more international, I'm sure more are learning English. The ones that come over here certainly speak well, but for whatever reason they still have a very strong German accent when speaking English (Und das ist nicht gut!! ), so much so that you know they are German. The Dutch have an accent, as do the Swedes and the Danes, but it doesn't seem as profound in most cases. When I was in Frankfurt I didn't feel as if I was free to just walk around speaking English, though perhaps I should have, but most of them did speak English without me having to speak too much in Deutsch.

Italy may be a place to skip at the moment. Too much turmoil right now with the illegal immigration crisis. I predict that Spain will start having a fit as Italy keeps refusing all of those boats from Africa and Spain is taking those people in. The Europeans are not used to "integration"...
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:04 PM
 
2,862 posts, read 3,696,624 times
Reputation: 1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrepont7731 View Post
LOL! I’m sure the Belgians say the same about the Dutch. All of those “cafés” in Amsterdam for you know what. At least they’ve cleaned the place up a bit from what it was like.... As for Florence, there are tourists for sure, but you have to live AWAY from the City Centre. I considered a place on via delle Belle Donne (gotta love the name ). Looked great online. It was under $2,000 USD, but I didn’t want to be that close to the action, so I settled on a place a few blocks from the Palazzo Pitti. My entire building consisted of Italian professionals that could afford the higher rents (doctors, and others). My neighbor was an older lady who was rarely home so I usually was alone on the top floor. It was a walk-up but so worth it. I sometimes would step out of my bedroom window and venture on the roof (the apartment was called Il Tetto fittingly). I’d take cloves of garlic and throw it at the pigeons on nearby rooftops. The way that I look and dress, I wasn’t always a give away as being an American. My Italian is basically native and I speak with a Tuscan accent in Italian, so I can pass as someone who grew up there. In Sicily where part of my family is from, they all thought I grew up there. I spent most of my time in a small town just above Palermo (Monreale) at the recommendation of some of the locals who I was traveling with from Rome to Palermo on a direct train. It was a lot of fun.

Like the Swedes, most of the Dutch speak very good English since those Northern European languages are close to English. Dutch is a very rough language, similar to German. They have those very long words that they build together I believe. Even the numbers are a pain. To say twenty-one for example, in German they go “one and twenty” but it is one word (einsundzwanzig). Crazy...
I'm not the Brussels expert, but I think it's a pretty widespread opinion. A quick search got this:

https://euobserver.com/news/25826

How long were you in Italy Pierrepont? You got to native fluency without speaking it at home before you went to Italy? How well I speak anything is directly related to how often I speak it. It's harder to maintain Italian here because it's just not that common.

What I like about New York is that there are all kinds of people and there is no one color, ethnicity or look that denotes a native. I felt like I stood out too much in southern Europe because I'm not the right hue and the places I lived were very homogeneous. In Romania, people assumed I was an ethnic minority, who don't speak Romanian perfectly, so that wasn't an issue.
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