I’ve recently spent a whole month in North America, about half of it in friends' houses and the other half travelling around. I’ve made a lot of photos, some of which you can see in the latter part of the blog post, but first let me mention a few of my observations.
North America is becoming Europe and Europe is becoming North America
My first visit to USA was 16 years ago in 2006. I remember everything seemed bigger to me then: cars, meal portions or skyscrapers. Now it seems that cars are about the same size as in Europe and the same with meal portions. Regarding cars, it’s a a world-wide trend to make the same models bigger each year.
However, North America is also becoming more European, because cities are becoming more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. In 2006, I was overwhelmed by the crowds in New York. You couldn’t even stop at the sidewalk to look around, the crowd would push you. Now they have closed certain roads and made them into pedestrian zones. You can enjoy the city much more now, though there's still too much asphalt.
|Parts of Brodway closed for pedestrians|
And of course, then there is Burlington in Vermont, which seems to have had a pedestrian zone forever.
|Burlington, the biggest surprise of the trip|
Walking is more pleasant than 15 years ago, but what about cycling? Me and Aňa explored Montreal and New York on shared bikes. The bike infrastructure is good especially near water but in the inner city you have to stop about every 2 blocks (200 metres) on a red light. I saw a lot of progress but with this rate of progress, New York will be like Copenhagen in 30 years and like Amsterdam in 100. It seems Montreal will get there quicker.
Where North America is seriously lacking progress is public transport. It doesn’t seem to be getting better, they are building new projects at a very slow rate and they are expensive.
The above are only things you can observe as a tourist, so take it with a grain of salt.
Random observations from the trip
I don’t want to bore you with a retelling of the whole trip, so here’s a few more observations and then you can look at the photos.
- National/state parks: USA takes really good care of their national and state parks. As a result, the US has some really nice forests where you can see a lot of wild animals. In Slovakia in 2022, we finally passed a law to forbid human interventions in large parts of all our national parks.
- Burlington, Vermont: this city was the biggest surprise of the trip. It’s like Vermont’s Trnava: big pedestrian zone and a lot of great restaurants and coffee shops reachable by foot.
- Inflation: inflation seemed to me about 50% since I visited the last time, at least for the things that tourists need: rental cars, restaurants and hotels. I’m not sure by the number 50% but according to my friend who tracks his expenses, this seems about right. And the weakening euro made this worse.
- Maple syrup fudge: one of the most addictive things I know. Luckily, I can’t buy it where I live.
- Culture in New York: I've been to New York twice before and this was the first I've been to a stand-up a Broadway show. There's nothing like it in Europe and I should have gone sooner!
I’ve made two bigger trips. The first was a camping and hiking trip to Catskills with Kolo, Liz and little Filip. Then when Aňa arrived, we went on a road trip from Boston to New Hampshire, Montreal, Vermont and back to Boston. We also visited New York just before flying back to Europe.
Here's link to a full album from all travels, a small selection of photos is included in the rest of the post.
Eating at a lake
Snakes and frogs
|Exploring Montreal on a bike|
|Manhattan from Brooklyn|
|American breakfast with M&M (Martin&Mia)|
|Before Book of Mormon|