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Old 06-23-2016, 05:00 PM   #21
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One fine memory I have of my DS was we were on a family trip to England. While my DW and DD were having high tea at the Roman ruins in Bath, I offered to let my son pick where we would have lunch. Of course he picked Pizza Hut, just down the street from the ruins.

It was packed with locals (it seemed) and the food was, well, standard Pizza Hut. He enjoyed it after so many meals eating the local grub. A 13 year old can get tired of eating at gastropubs...
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:01 PM   #22
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The free wifi is a big selling point. It's why I visit starbucks occasionally too. Where else can you spend the equivalent of a US buck or two and sit in air conditioning with wifi for as long as you want to cool off, relax, recharge your batteries (literally and figuratively), check out your guide book/app, and enjoy a cold beverage and/or ice cream?
Well - I have free data in Europe from my T-mobile plan which is good enough for keeping up with emails, google maps, and early-retirement.org. So I can go sit down in a regular cafe, LOL! I'll be surprised if the McD's ice-cream is anywhere near as good as the 100s of gelaterias around. Unless they are serving the local gelato too!
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mpeirce View Post
One fine memory I have of my DS was we were on a family trip to England. While my DW and DD were having high tea at the Roman ruins in Bath, I offered to let my son pick where we would have lunch. Of course he picked Pizza Hut, just down the street from the ruins.

It was packed with locals (it seemed) and the food was, well, standard Pizza Hut. He enjoyed it after so many meals eating the local grub. A 13 year old can get tired of eating at gastropubs...
In some countries like England, the options are indeed more limited as compared to France and Italy. My brother always goes for Indian in England.

We haven't yet run out of cool places to eat in Brussels, Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria or Italy. I'm not worried about Barcelona either.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:16 PM   #24
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T mobile is supposedly allowing full 4g data in Europe in July and August this year.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:18 PM   #25
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I'll be surprised if the McD's ice-cream is anywhere near as good as the 100s of gelaterias around. Unless they are serving the local gelato too!
A guide in Firenze advised me to avoid the franchise gelaterias with huge containers of whipped gelati on display. She said they are made with preservatives and artificial flavor enhancers. She recommended Gelateria dei Neri, a family run business close to the Uffizi. I was not disappointed!

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restauran...e_Tuscany.html
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:28 PM   #26
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T mobile is supposedly allowing full 4g data in Europe in July and August this year.

Nice!

This is excellent timing for us. We're headed to Europe for four weeks this summer. It's nice to know we'll have quicker speeds while we're there.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:45 PM   #27
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A guide in Firenze advised me to avoid the franchise gelaterias with huge containers of whipped gelati on display. She said they are made with preservatives and artificial flavor enhancers. She recommended Gelateria dei Neri, a family run business close to the Uffizi. I was not disappointed!
We sampled the gelato at Vivoli on Via Isole delle Stinche and it was pretty much as good as it gets. Since it was February, it was all locals enjoying themselves when we stopped in.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:46 PM   #28
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T mobile is supposedly allowing full 4g data in Europe in July and August this year.
Whatever we got has been fast enough when out and about. I think we see 3G often depending on location.

July and August but not September?

Yep - https://newsroom.t-mobile.com/news-a...-unleashed.htm.

Well we'll get to enjoy it for the first 4 days of our trip!
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:55 PM   #29
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There used to be one directly across from the Pantheon in Rome; it had a huge patio and was a spectacular place to people watch. I don't know why it closed. I've lived off and on in Rome and the several McDonalds there are always packed to the gills with people of all nationalities and ages as well as hoards of Italian school kids.
The McDonalds in Europe have separate coffee/expresso counters, and sell pastries/cakes, etc. for breakfast. They do a pretty good morning business at these counters.

I seldom eat at McD's 1/2 mile from my house, however it actually tastes pretty good in Scandinavia when you've been paying $60 at TGI Friday's for two burgers/fries/Cokes. And to think, a Big Mac meal deal's only $9 in Europe.

We see some McDonalds locations to have ordering kiosks inside the front door to keep you from taking an employee's time taking your order. The same systems are also coming to the U.S. shortly.
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:15 PM   #30
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A guide in Firenze advised me to avoid the franchise gelaterias with huge containers of whipped gelati on display. She said they are made with preservatives and artificial flavor enhancers. She recommended Gelateria dei Neri, a family run business close to the Uffizi. I was not disappointed!

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restauran...e_Tuscany.html
We tried that one - but preferred Carapina - on the other side of the Uffizi. We ended up there 2 or 3 times on our last Florence trip. And kept running into the same German family who had kids our kids age.... We saw them there twice... and at the playground in San Gimignano and when we were exploring the Chianti Sculpture park.

But good gelato is soooo much better than regular ice cream.
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:30 PM   #31
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I've never been to Europe but plan on spending next summer there unless we find somewhere more appealing to visit. We'll probably hit McDs occasionally.

The free wifi is a big selling point. It's why I visit starbucks occasionally too. Where else can you spend the equivalent of a US buck or two and sit in air conditioning with wifi for as long as you want to cool off, relax, recharge your batteries (literally and figuratively), check out your guide book/app, and enjoy a cold beverage and/or ice cream?

<snip>
We utilize McD when travelling for similar reasons.
We might find ourselves walking all day in an urban area, too far from the hotel, can't find a park bench, and just need a bit of a respite. Buy some fries, maybe a drink and you're generally anonymous enough that no one will hassle you or give you the evil eye for not spending enough for monopolizing a table. As mentioned, typically A/C, wifi, clean washrooms (a very nice to have for the missus), charge up your devices, and figure out where to go to next.

While I'd rather save my meals for something more interesting locally I may try a McD menu item that's unique to the country though too.
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:43 PM   #32
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Santiago Chile

This is our take on dining in a foreign country:

While on my way to a local market around the corner from our hotel, I saw a restaurant called “Miguel Torres-Vinos & Tapas”. Their blackboard menu looked interesting, so we went there for dinner. We dined on the second floor balcony overlooking one of the main streets, so we could watch the passing parade of people.
Our waiter was named Bastian, and he came from Cologne, Germany. Since I had been there, we talked a little about the city and what he was doing in Chile. Needless to say the service was excellent, and the food and wine were also. In fact we decided to dine there the following night also. The funny thing was, in speaking to a couple of others in our group. They went to a TGIFridays! My thought was I did not fly 13 hours to eat at a place 5 miles from my house!
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:43 PM   #33
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We tried that one - but preferred Carapina - on the other side of the Uffizi. We ended up there 2 or 3 times on our last Florence trip. And kept running into the same German family who had kids our kids age.... We saw them there twice... and at the playground in San Gimignano and when we were exploring the Chianti Sculpture park.

But good gelato is soooo much better than regular ice cream.
+1 on Carapina.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:46 PM   #34
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We utilize McD when travelling for similar reasons.
We might find ourselves walking all day in an urban area, too far from the hotel, can't find a park bench, and just need a bit of a respite. Buy some fries, maybe a drink and you're generally anonymous enough that no one will hassle you or give you the evil eye for not spending enough for monopolizing a table. As mentioned, typically A/C, wifi, clean washrooms (a very nice to have for the missus), charge up your devices, and figure out where to go to next.

While I'd rather save my meals for something more interesting locally I may try a McD menu item that's unique to the country though too.
Heh, with 3 ladies in our family, a couple bucks for some fries and a drink is a cheap price to pay. And I've certainly made use of the McD's restroom in a few situations where other alternatives weren't forthcoming.

I can't believe no one else uses McD's abroad like we do. Guess we're weird.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:49 PM   #35
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I would go there to pee.

Buy a small drink, toss the cup inna trash, pee and leave.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:55 PM   #36
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Well - I have free data in Europe from my T-mobile plan which is good enough for keeping up with emails, google maps, and early-retirement.org. So I can go sit down in a regular cafe, LOL! I'll be surprised if the McD's ice-cream is anywhere near as good as the 100s of gelaterias around. Unless they are serving the local gelato too!
So far in my international travels I've done okay with offline maps/gps and relied on wifi around town to get by. Looks like my cell provider finally has a sim chip and service for Europe so I'll probably do that if I end up there next year. I like that at McD's (or really anywhere without wait staff) you can sit for an hour or two and never be bothered or rushed to free up the table.

I'll let you know whether Mcd's has gelato and how good it is. Is there such a thing as bad gelato?
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:57 PM   #37
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I would go there to pee.

Buy a small drink, toss the cup inna trash, pee and leave.
I think peeing there is free. If it's #2 time, that's when you're obligated to buy a drink.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:04 PM   #38
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I like that at McD's (or really anywhere without wait staff) you can sit for an hour or two and never be bothered or rushed to free up the table.
That's how cafes in Europe work. Once you have the table, it's yours. They don't rush you out. In fact, they won't bring you the check unless you ask for it because they think it's rude otherwise.

And there were a lot of nice places in Belgium and Germany to get a local specialty beer, and sit and while away a couple of hours if you wanted. No problem. That's what everyone else is doing.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:06 PM   #39
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That's how cafes in Europe work. Once you have the table, it's yours. They don't rush you out. In fact, they won't bring you the check unless you ask for it because they think it's rude otherwise.
Good to know. Do they typically have waitstaff or is it more commonly counter service?
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:44 AM   #40
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They have waitstaff but you aren't pestered every 5 seconds. It's usually easy to get their attention. And read up on tipping before you go. It's minimal.


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