A little article about how things change, but first of all, here is a note for your diaries of something which hasn't changed since I started noticing it, some 35 years ago-or more.
THURSDAY 19th November - 3rd Thursday of November:
The only good thing about November -
BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU ARRIVES....!
(even if it is over-rated nowadays, it's better than all the other events in November!)
It's not so long ago, living in Germany, that I and my wife used to travel from Bavaria to the French border, round about 400 kilometers round trip, once a month.
Apart from having a Weekend away, our aim was to SAVE money!
At the time, in the 1980's, prices in Germany were considerable higher for a whole range of things we used.
Apart from the obvious things like wine, even tobacco items (cigarettes etc) were considerably cheaper in France!
Foodstuffs, although only slightly cheaper, had the added advantage of being in general fresher and more varied than in the Germany of the epoch, although spirits for Aperitifs, such as Gin, Vodka, Cognac and so on were - strangely enough - much cheaper in Germany!
French baguettes, cheeses, certain meats (in particular poultry), certain charcuteries (because the Germans do have a magnificent selection of such things) made up our list, but the main things were wine and Tobacco.
We spent most of our Summers in France permanently anyway, so these trips were Winter pastimes, squeezed in between Skiing and work, and allowed us to change scenery from mountain to plains and beaches!
It worked out basically that our travel costs (petrol, meals, 1 overnight in a cheaper hotel if necessary) were covered by our savings in tobacco and wine costs, so although it wasn't "free", we kept the charges down to a minimum, whilst profiting from the higher quality of both countries products.
This was using Europe, as I can only imagine the Politicians wanted....!
Nowadays, Germany is cheaper than France for cigarettes, and many other things, but - of course - now I live in France!
The journey is a bit too long, and the price of PETROL,hotels, meals, and the merchandise itself so much more higher in relation to income that it's not worth it any more!
That, I suppose, is what they call progress.
Some people say - well, stop smoking and drinking, and to those people I would say only the following - the longer I live, the more I'll cost you, in Pensions and health care, so be thankful I'm taking shortcuts to the grave, whilst furbishing your Society's pockets!
I'd also like to see how these people would react when THEIR favourite habits or pass-times were suddenly elevated to "luxuries" - I'm sure I can find valable reasons for ANY pass-time being anti-social, or health risky, or downright dangerous to somebody or other!
Seems to me sometimes, that half of the French nation is "Andorra or Spain" bound, the Dutch are Luxembourg bound, the Germans too, and everybody gives Belgium a go!
Good stuff for the exhaust emission lobbyists, for the Radar traps, for the countries who practice a motorway toll system, for those countries whose Governments have realised that what they lose on the swings, they gain - doubled - on the roundabouts.....!
Progress - great stuff!
AND - just a little note again for your diaries:
iwmpop (mrlemarquis) - Vauvert, France - Nov 2009