How Europeans Drink Water: Purified and Sparkling

Best Water Softeners and Filters

I can remember one of the biggest cultural differences I experienced upon my arrival in Europe was how little they consume soda. In America, we love soda, and it’s a way of life in the South, with Coca-Cola and Pepsi both headquartered there.

But, in Europe, you don’t see too many people indulging in this largely American beverage, and if you do, it’s not Mountain Dew, Orange Soda, or and other wild flavors. It’s usually just a normal Coke or Pepsi.

Europeans Prefer Sparkling Water

Instead, it’s very common for Europeans to drink sparkling water or seltzer water with their meals or just out on the town.

What is seltzer water? It’s not uncommon for the average American that many might not even know what it is. The best way I can describe it to someone with showing them in a store is that it is just carbonated water with no flavorings.

If you pour it into a glass, it will look just like sprite or sierra mist, but there isn’t a lemon-lime taste to it. It’s just water with added carbonation, which is a foreign concept to many Americans.

Another way to describe it is as sparkling water, which is commonly added to mixed

In the first few weeks of moving to Europe I asked a few locals about it and how it was prepared, and just like other kinds of water, it is purified, generally with a reverse osmosis water filter system. This rids it of any impurities and removes the unnecessary iron that can be found in water.

This is an essential part to any water bottled process. No one likes the taste of hard water, so it’s important to have a quality filter that can remove those iron deposits.

Almost every house in Europe has a water softener of some kind to help keep their water as pure as possible.

Beer Consumption In Europe

Another reason why people drink less soda in Europe than in the States is that they drink more beer than we do. On average, Europeans drink a lot more beer than Americans—especially in countries like Germany, Austria, and the U.K.

Like I said in my last blog post, Germany is the motherland of all things beer in my opinion, so it only makes sense that such a place would drink more beer on average than America.

That and Europeans—especially Germans—have a much different attitude about beer and beer consumption than Americans. In America, beer is very much associated with partying and getting drunk. In Germany, however, it’s much more common to just have a beer with dinner, with no intention of getting drunk or partying afterwards.

Perhaps this is the reason why there isn’t as many cheap, watery beers that come of Germany as we do in the states like Natural Light or things of that sort.

These are all the wonderful cultural differences that you can see when you travel abroad and experience other people’s cultures, how they live, and how they interact with each other. It’s a great experience and I recommend it for everyone.

Brewing Beer in Germany, the Motherland of all Brews

It’s not everyday that an American gets to drink beer in what I consider the motherland of all beers in the world: Germany.

Germany has such a rich history of brewing beer; it’s steeped in the culture and fabric of society. I’m not just saying that either. People in Germany—and Europe generally—but Germany in particular have a very different outlook on beer than Americans do and I’m not exactly sure why.

Americans for the most part drink beer as a party accessory and don’t take the time to get to know the beer, its tastes, its flavors, and its history. Germans have a much deeper respect for the beer making process and the history and ingredients that go into each brew. It has way better beer than any you will find in a variety beer membership.

Home Brewing Beer in Germany

While Germany has a rich culture of large-scale beer production (it’s one of their main exports), they also have a vibrant home brewing culture in the cities, and these are the places that I like to frequent.

During my recent trip to Switzerland, I simply had to venture over to Germany to knock back a few brews and enjoy the fellowship of my German comrades, and I used my stay to visit a few of my favorite local brew pubs.

You see, the beer from Germany that makes it to America as an export is only but a fraction of the beer that is produced in the country. Just think about it, it’s the same anywhere. Bourbon that’s made in Kentucky is considered a rare delicacy in Europe, but in the United States it’s just known as Wild Turkey. It’s the same with beers.

Top Madrid Beer Clubs

So, in Germany you have this huge subculture of smaller breweries that either or they have graduated into their own local pub. This is the stuff that you will only get to taste in person. Many of these pubs don’t have much regional or national distribution—let alone international distribution, so I make it a point to only get beers that are unavailable to me in Spain or America when I visit.

The home brewing phenomenon is also much more developed in Germany than it is in the United States. It’s much older and the main great brew kits are much more readily available.

Only recently has this become popular in America, but it has been popular in Germany for almost one hundred years now.

For a bit of context on Germans and their beer consumption, they rank third in the world for beer consumption—just behind the Czech Republic and Austria. There are approximately 1,300 breweries in Germany alone and these brew companies manufacture over 5,000 brands of beer. This truly is the place to be if you are a beer drinker.

I will warn you, however, if you want the full German experience, go to Bavaria. Almost half of Germany’s breweries are located there, so that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

That’s the number one place on my travel list when I visit.

Swiss Made Gun Safes and Custom 1911 Grips

Best Gun SafesGrowing up in America, I obviously have very different views on firearms in civilian hands that do many of my European counterparts. But, now that I have been living in Madrid for almost 20 years, I have been accustomed to dealing with those who think there is no place for guns in the hands of anyone but the government and local law enforcement. Actually, many European cities’ police don’t even carry firearms.

Madrid is not particularly favorable to guns or gun owners, and the Spanish constitution has nothing comparable to the American Second Amendment. On a recent trip to Switzerland, however, I was able to visit a few friends who are gun enthusiasts and I went to their shooting range for a great afternoon of fun.

Swiss Craftsmanship in Firearms Still Strong

There are a lot of things that Switzerland is known for. There are historically a neutral country in military conflicts, they have been known to be a international hiding place for money, their craftsmanship if second to none, and they also happen to be very favorable to gun owners.

In this sense, Switzerland is a big anomaly to its European brothers and sisters. They have large gun manufacturers of both long gun and handguns. Handguns are especially controversial in Europe, making Switzerland even more unique.

But, what really struck me when I visited my two long-time Swiss friends was the craftsmanship of not just the guns we were shooting but the quality gun safes that they stored all of their guns in. Better yet, they have several different options for people without much money. You can find all kinds of quality cheap gun safes for sale from the Swiss.

These safes were incredibly ornate and beautiful pieces of art in and of themselves, but they were also fireproof, waterproof, etc., etc. I don’t know too much about large capacity Fort Knox gun safe technology, but these were pretty incredible.

Swiss Gun Safes vs. American Gun Safes

One of the most popular gun safe brands in America is the liberty line of gun safes. These safes are basically indestructible. I have even seen videos of the manufacture setting off explosives inside the safe just to show how durable they are.

Now, I’m sure if the Swiss safes can quite hold up to this kind of testing, but the aesthetics of them are quite different and it shows the differences in preferences for the American and Swiss markets.

The American audience wants something that is very durable, very industrial looking. This is what they view as quality and they want the function and durable this look offers.

The Swiss audience is after something a little different. They want more ornate and classic looking gun safes.

You can see this same difference when you compare custom style 1911 handgrips between the two countries.

Americans prefer their grips to more tactical looking, with a grimacing look to them. Perhaps this comes from Hollywood influence in American that isn’t quite as strong across the pond.

Swiss grips are much more detailed, often made of custom materials like ivory, or imported woods. No one grip is better than the other, they are just widely different tastes and aesthetics.

Traveling is always such an experience because it allows you see these types of cultural differences. I always end up coming back to Madrid, though. It’s home.