April 21, 2021

The Christianville Spirit: My Fascination with Europe III


                  The Christianville Spirit 

                    The Spirit that Keeps Giving 

April 21st, 2021 –TCS # 728 


Hola, Ciao, and Bonjour, My Readers! Wow! I have not done a Triple Greeting in a while! These Greeting are What We can refer to as “The Three Greetings of Romance”. Respectively, They mean Hello in Spanish, Italian, and French. I call them that for Two Reasons. One, of course is Their Root Language, Romance. Not Romance as in Love, Romance in This Context as Descending from Rome. Italian, French, and Spanish are referred to as “Romance Languages”. If You notice though, That if You were to speak Spanish to Italian or Vice Versa, They would somewhat understand you. Same Thing with French, I bet if You spoke French to an Italian, They would understand you. Speak French to a Spanish Person and They may understand just a little less. Only because French looks more like Italian than Spanish. While We are at Spanish can sound like Italian. The Second, of course refers to The Love Romance of The Romance Languages. The Three Romances, I can picture From a Guy Side, a Girl with a French or Italian Accent and It sweeps off your feet. The Girl’s Side, The Same Thing. A Guy saying Bonjour or Ciao in a Deep Voice would be enough to sweep a Girl off Her Feet too! See What I mean! I am sure that You are swept off your Feet too! 

Anyway, These Greetings are One of Many Reasons why The Continent of Europe is Fascinating to Me. Think of This as Part 3 (III) of My Fascination with Europe Newsletter, Which I am going to Rerun in a Little Bit Here! So, Onward We Go! Ahh Europe! Very Fascinating Continent! Very Close Together Continent! That makes Sense when You look at it on a Map but How about Driving It?! Well, I will put it This Way. I Live in US State of Texas and The Greater Dallas-Fort Worth Area. It takes 45 Minutes to Drive from My House to DFW Airport to get on a Plane. In an Hour and a Half, You could be in Fort Worth. 5 Hours, You could be in either San Antonio, by the Riverwalk or in Houston. 7 Hours South, You could be in The Rio Grande Valley. And, Those Distances, You are still within The State of Texas! Going East, It takes 3 Hours to get out of Texas to get to Atlanta, Georgia where The Smith Family lives! You get the Idea! Texas is Big. The United States is Big. However, in Europe, It is completely Different Story! If You Lived, Let’s say Northern Italy, You could drive to Austria, Switzerland, and Even Little Liechtenstein, Different Countries, All within One Day! 5 Hours could get You across Germany, East to West! The Point being that Europe is Very Dense. One Cool Thing about Driving Europe is that, Driving comes with Playing “There’s Someone from XYZ Place” Game, only instead of US States, You get Countries or in This Case, “Member States”. It is Their Version of making Driving into Another Country No Big Deal. Where US Plates are Rectangle with a US State Name, Design, and Sometimes even a County Label in Certain States (like Georgia, Mississippi, or Florida to name a Few). Europe keeps it Simple, They are Long and Skinny Rectangles with a Small Blue Stripe with A Letter Code or in This Case, a Country Code that says What Country They are from. Generally Speaking, European Union “Member States” have a Their Yellow Starred Circle that They use on Their Flag in The Top Part of The Stripe. Non-European Union Members usually have Their National Flag on The Top Part of The Stripe. The Bottom Part of The Stripe is The “Country Code” goes. Now, This is Where it gets Interesting! 

Ahh Yes, The Country Codes! Have You noticed that Whenever I mention a City in Europe, There is always some odd Letter next to it? That is The Country Code for That Country! To Know Them are in Some Cases, Easy and Some are Harder. Some Country Codes use The English Name for The Country like France (F), Italy (I), Austria (A), The United Kingdom/Great Britain (UK/GB), Ireland (IRL), Portugal (P), Belgium (B), “Czechia”/Czech Republic (CZ), Poland (PL), Norway (N), and Sweden (S). Just to Name a Few!  Now, Of Course, Then The Sort of Tricky Ones that All You need to Know is The Local Name for It. For Example, Spain. Spain’s Local Name is España, The Country Code being (E) or Germany’s Local Name is Deutschland. Therefore The Country Code is (D). The Netherlands and Italia are Sort-of Easy. The Netherlands is Locally known as Nederland, Country Code (NL). Italy is Italia, Country Code (I). Then, The Three Confusing Ones! Slovakia (SK) & Slovenia (SLO), Latvia (LV) & Lithuania (LT), and The Most Confusing, Switzerland (CH). You would think, It would be SI, SW, or SU but, I think that would further confuse Switzerland (CH) and Sweden/Sverige (S)! CH, In case You are Wondering stands for The Official Long Name of Switzerland in Local Form Confoederatio Helvetica” or Swiss Confederation in English. Now, That You know The Country Codes, You can Play The “License Plate Game” with Loads of Fun! However, There is One More Use for The Country Codes. The Road Signs!  

Now, In The United States, The Signs to a City in another State is More than Likely to just have The City Name on It without The State’s Initials. Sort of like The US Version of Country Codes but, Not as Cool. Now, There are Signs sometimes that have State Initials. I do remember seeing a Picture of a Sign in Massachusetts for I-95 North and South the other day, saying I-95 South: Providence RI and I-95 North: Portsmouth NH. But, Generally Speaking, They usually have Just The City Name!  

On Our Trips to Atlanta, I see the Sign right before Birmingham saying “I-459 North: Gadsden/Atlanta” and I know that We are One City away. If They were More “State Code” Based. It would be “Gadsden/Atlanta (GA). Come to Think of It, That would be a lot of Codes to put on The Signs, especially in Atlanta. The Signs in All but Two Directions out of Atlanta would say Birmingham (AL), Montgomery (AL), Greenville (SC), and Chattanooga (TN). That would be a Little Annoying only because They are Different States, Not Different Countries where They speak Different Languages. The Country Code Signs are Easy to Figure out Verona (I) & Innsbruck (A) are signed on E-60 leaving Munich, Germany, You know are headed Toward The Austrian Alps and Italian Dolomites. Bern (CH) Signs heading South from Frankfurt mean Switzerland. However, What about a Country like Poland/Polska (PL)? Where They speak more of a Slavic Language versus a Germanic Language. Well, Then, You have Two Choices; Either put the Sign in The Local Language. In Italia (I), Signs to France in Little Towns like Ventimiglia (Neighbour to Menton (F), By The Way) or In The Olympic Areas of Torino point to Franica (F). Another Example is The Sign to Get to The Gydansk (PL) - Nynashamn (S) Ferry, They have Signs pointing to Stockholm, Sweden (S) as  

Sztokholm (S). Or The Other Option is to Put a Sign that is Multiligual 

An Example is on Autohahn 11/European Route 28 in Germany lists Port City of Szczecin, Poland (PL) written The Following WayStettin (Szczecin) without The Country Code. But, Written in Both Local Language of German and The Neighbouring Country of Poland (PL). On Autobahn 17 South of Dreden (D), The Signs say Prag/Praha (CZ) with The Country Code of “Czechia”/Czech Republic. Last Example, I known that in Irelandthey have the signs in English and The Local Language of Irish Gealic. 

Anyway, I hope You enjoyed This History and Geography Lesson! Now, It is Time for The Original! Enjoy The Fascination! 

This Newsletter was Originally Written on July 13th of 2016. (Refer to Newsletter 504) 


Hej, Ciao, and Bonjour, My Readers. I am saying Hello to You in Three of My Favorite Languages; Swedish, Italian, and French. Funny, My Mom’s Side of The Family is both German and Italian. Personally, I like the Italian Side, The Food and Music side of them. But, Of Course, Who wouldn’t like Italian Food! If You didn’t, an Angry Grandmother would be after You. You-a No Like-a My Food?! Anyway, on to This Week’s Newsletter. So, In My Newsletters in The Past, I have mentioned about wanting to Expat to Europe, My Fascination about Europe, All about Europe. So, I am sure that Most of You are wondering Why exactly. Well, There are quite a Few Reasons Why. So, Let Me Explain. Now, I have to say, bearing in Mind, that to some people This is a One of those Oh-So-Sensitive Political Situations, But, I am going to make this more about The Fascination and Passion for This Part of The World. So, Here We Go! The First Reason is something that for Most of The World is most likely The Craziest Idea but If You see a Map of Europe, You would understand why. It is something called Schengen. As In The Schengen Agreement. What is that? Well, It is basically an Agreement named after a Town called Schengen in Luxembourg that is literally a stones throw from France and Germany. That is All! Just Kidding! There is much more! The Best Thing (or Worst thing to some people) is the fact that You can Freely Travel between Countries (in Europe, They refer to them as “Members States”) without having to Stop at The Border Crossing and Have Your Passport Ready. You just drive across The Border and Continue on, that is as long You follow the Rules in Imports and Exports. Now, The Police of The “Member State”, will check Your Passport at Your Hotel or Other Business. That is only so “Member States” can make sure that You are following The Rules. Now, The Best Part of Schengen (“Freedom of Movement”, Europeans say) is that You can Live in One Country and Work in another. For Example, You could live in France and Work in Italy and Vice Versa. Schengen covers Most Countries across Europe with the Exception of a Few. Now, There is an Option that You can Opt-Out of Schengen. Countries like The United Kingdom opted-out of Schengen but, Oddly, They have their own “Freedom of Movement” Condition in Their Area. One of My Favorite Youtubers, CGP Grey (Who explains Europe very well!) claims that because The UK is part of The British Isles and They are an Island, that they should not do Schengen. That is Okay though. So, The Next Reason, It ties together with The Schengen Agreement, in fact It kinda led to The Schengen Agreement. After World War II, Europe was torn a part and Europe needed to a way to come together via something that was then The European Community, now known as The European Union. So, Just so We are Clear, some “Member States” are not part of The European Union but, are part of the “Schengen Area” like Norway and Iceland. The People of The European Union came up with the Name, “Member States”. To Explain how Schengen and The European Union (or EU) work, is that it is like The “Member States” are sort of like Their Own US State, only with Different Flags, Road Signs, Country Sign, and Language. Basically, Crossing International Lines in Europe, to an American is like Crossing a State Line only with The Things I mentioned above, hence the Term “Member State”. When You do cross a Border, You see a Sign that has The Country’s Name in It’s Own Language usually with The European Union’s Blue Flag with a Circle of Stars instead of a “Welcome to “Member State” like The US. For My Favorite “Member States”, You would see Italia for Italy, France for France, and Sverige for Sweden. By The Way, I have Many More Favorite (actually, Favourite) “Members States” but, those are a Few Examples. After You see “Welcome” Sign, Then You see the Speed Limits Sign (A Speed for Inside “Urban Areas”, Outside “Urban Area”, and Motorways) usually The Speed of Motorways is about 120 to 130 Kilometers an Hour. (That is except for Germany’s Motorways or “Autobahn”)  

Now, The Whole Thing that I mentioned about Flags, Road Signs, Country Sign, and Language is a Fascination of it’s Own. It is Amazing how You can drive across Europe and See/Read Signs that are in Different Languages. Each Member State has it’s own Road Signs in Different Fonts AND Languages. Talk about a Road Geeks Dream, right there! Each Country has a Different Flag on top of that, and It’s own Country Sign to make it easier for Europeans to know what Country is What and By The Way, Some of the “Country Signs” are confusing. So, One Time I was googling pictures of Road Signs around The World, when I came across a Sign that had “Country Signs” and Capitol Cities of those Countries. As I explained one time about How Close Bratislava, Slovakia and Vienna, Austria are. I found a Road Sign Pointing to Those Cities and More. I will post The Picture of Them on My Newsletter. One Sign going strait say E-59 (called European Routes) to “Wien” (Vienna, the Capitol of Austria), Then, on The Right side You have E-60 West to Linz/St.Pollen with D. D means Deutschland (Germany), and E-60 East say CZ (Czech Republic), SK (Slovakia), and H (Hungary). Further down, E-59, You will see a Sign that says “Wien-Centrum” (Vienna City Center), Prague-CZ (Capitol of Czech Republic), Bratislava-SK (Capitol of Slovakia), and Budapest-H (Capitol of Hungary). Another Sign I saw and Took a Screenshot of a Sign with Wien and E-60 with  The Country Signs of H (Hungary), SK (Slovakia), SLO (Slovenia), and The easiest one, I (Italia). So, While We are talking about Roads, Europe has an Interstate-like System called The E-Road System. I found out yesterday that They are called European Routes. Think of it was an Interstate, only an Inter-Member State. Hehe, Get It? Anyway, These European Routes (or E-Roads) take you across Europe from One Member State (or Country) to Another. I could tell you how to get from Malmö to Milano, Italia. E-20 to E-45, E-45 to E-43, and E-43 to E-35 respectively. I could tell you what Member States too! Danmark (Denmark), Deutschland (Germany), Öesterreich (Austria), Suisse (Switzerland), and Italia (Italy), again respectfully. I will tell My Mom that and Her Head would Explode. Like What to Where?! And, Finally, The Final Fascination, You can literally drive on a Train to go from France to The United Kindgom or Vice Versa. So, The Fact that You can do that is just beyond Crazy! It is much shorter, I am told to drive onto the “Eurotunnel” versus going on The Ferry. Just remember, as They say to Drive on The Left in The UK and Right in France. In Case, You are wondering The UK and Ireland are The Only Ones in Europe  who drive on The Left. All in all, Europe is a Very Fascinating Part of The World and I really want to see it’s Fascinations before They are all gone. I am thinking that I might have to start a Go Fund Me account to help me do this! 


Thanks (Gracias and Gratze) for Reading The Christianville Spirit. Oh! The Places You can see in The World!