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France: On The Road

Paris, the city of love and a thousand other clichés, still holds a certain mystic. But no matter how many written words this great city has commanded - however familiar this town may appear - Paris will always remain an enigma, a magnet for millions of visitors from around the world.

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Full Name French Republic
Capital City Paris

547,030 sq km
211,208 sq miles

Population 60,400,000
Time Zone GMT/UTC +1(Central European Time)
Daylight Saving Start last Sunday in March
Daylight Saving End last Sunday in October
Languages French (official)
Religion 86% Roman Catholic, 8% Muslim, 2% Protestant 1% Jewish, 3% unaffiliated
Currency Euro (Euro)
Electricity 230V 50HzHz
Country Dialing Code 33


Eating on a Budget in Germany Austria and Switzerland

Eating in Europe can be as expensive as you want to make it, same as it can be in the US or Canada. Some people will tell you they can't find a decent restaurant meal for less than 25 dollars, others will eat happily for 10 dollars; these people will be doing the same in Europe. Notice we are not talking fine dining but at the same time we are not going hungry or thirsty and we can splurge occasionally on a good restaurant meal if we choose our spots. And go with the flow; drink wine in wine countries, drink beer in beer countries. Drink and eat the local stuff with local people in local bars, cafes or restaurants. Here are some ideas for the first time visitor to Europe to explore when the hunger pangs set in.

Germany is the place to be for the "meat and potatoes" crowd. In small towns 10 dollars will buy you a hearty meal with some kind of meat, perhaps the local Wurst and either potatoes, spatzle, or perhaps some sauerkraut which will be better than any you ever had at home. In the springtime, you will find many country inns (Gasthaus) in the western area of the Black Forest advertising their fresh asparagus and ham (spargel mit schinken) - an asparagus lover's dream come true. If you are near the Rhine or Mosel rivers, white wine is the drink, in Bavaria drink the beer. You'll find a brauhaus or a weinstube with no difficulty whatever in any city, in small towns look for the local Gasthaus.In bus and train stations, look for the sign "Schnell Imbiss" for a fast food stand; try their version of a hot dog "Würstchen auf Brötchen mit Senf" of simply "Eine Würstchen, bitte" with the hot German mustard (Senf).

If you feel like a sit down meal while waiting for your train, check out the second class buffet if there is one. In big cities, you can generally eat better for less in an ethnic restaurant, Greek, Turkish or Italian for example.Here are a few key phrases to help you eat well in German: Food=Essen breakfast= Frühstück lunch=Mittagessen dinner=Abendessen Bread=Brot cheese= Käse soup=Zuppe salad=Salat meat=Fleisch Chicken=Hahnchen fish=Fisch fruit=Obst vegetables= Gemüse dessert=Nachspeise Delicious= Köstlich I am a vegetarian=Ich bin ein Vegetarier.

A Gasthaus or Gasthof is where to go if you want to try out traditional Austrian food at reasonable prices. Usually they offer menus including a soup and a main dish and in some cases a dessert too. Prices are typically around ten dollars US for this menu (except for very touristy areas). Menus are written in German, though most of the restaurants have English menus as well.

Keep in mind that tipping is expected throughout all restaurants in Austria. Rounding up the price given on the bill is usually enough tip.Wiener Schnitzel (a bread-crumbed and fried veal escalope) is something of a national dish, coming in a myriad of ways and Knödel are a kind of dumpling which can be made either sweet or savory depending on which part of the meal it is served with. In Vienna and eastern Austria the Tafelspitz (boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish) is traditionally served on Sundays and is normally accompanied by clear broth with dumplings and herbs. In Innsbruck, be sure to try the "Forellen blau", a kind of mountain trout that's advertised in the window of any restaurant that offers it.

Austria is renowned for its pastries and desserts, the most well-known of which is probably the Apfelstrudel, a many-layered pastry dough filled with apples, raisins and nuts and the Sachertorte, a chocolate torte with chocolate icing and filled with apricot jam. Both come with fresh whipped cream, called "Schlagobers".In Switzerland, if you are trying to keep to a budget, then your best bet is to look for a Migros or Co-op grocery store and picnic! Oddly enough some of the most reasonably priced meals are to be found in the most inaccessible places, like mountain huts, hostels, or inns clinging to the sides of mountains. The reason is that many of them are subsidized by the government tourist bureaus, even to the point of flying supplies in by helicopter. Raclette is a standard in these places, along with rosti (hash-browns with onions) and of course fondues. In the big cities, a reasonable priced meal can usually be found in the second-class buffet at the train station.

Basic food - rosti, sausages and eggs - but wholesome and filling.

.Michael Russell.Your Independent guide to Travel.

By: Michael Russell

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