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Liberals on vacation: how is it elsewhere?

Posted on July 26, 2022


By writing Counterpoints.

When liberals travel, what do they notice that’s so different from France? Their gaze allows us to realize that here and there, spaces of freedom still exist, while we sometimes tend to forget them.

Holidays in Europe

Frédéric was in Norway and saw the state’s hold on the distribution of alcohol:

“The joys of the state liquor monopoly in Norway: the low-end bottle of Champagne at 999 NOK (about 100 euros). It is better to drink water (or aquavit, but you have to love…).

More generally, I was struck by the lack of highlighting of anything: I felt there a kind of global leveling towards an almost awkward indeterminate intermediate, where no head sticks out. For example, the fact of being awarded, of achieving something does not seem to be claimed (and claimable) at all. »

Oslo Bar by Martyn Smith(CC BY 2.0)

William is between the Ardennes and Belgium. His impression:

“I was very struck by the contrast that exists between the border towns, which are only a few kilometers apart. For example, Givet in the Ardennes seems poor, almost miserable, while Dinant in Belgium is rich, there is a casino, big houses. »

“In Germany you can have barbecues in parks and it stays clean and doesn’t bother anyone. Long live portable barbecues! » writes Bertrand to us. Testimony corroborated by a visitor from the Netherlands and another in Portugal.

Smoky Joes by Andreas(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Moreover, Thomas tells us:

“In Portugal, you can buy cigarettes anywhere: bars, convenience stores, kiosks, supermarkets, stationery stores, gas stations… but even more, there is also the decriminalization of the possession and consumption of all drugs. Possession for personal use and consumption of all drugs, from cannabis and heroin to MD and coke is legal. In practice, that means you can own a few grams of each and smoke weed legally on the street. The sale remains illegal. »

On the side of Eastern Europe, Marc tells us about a discovery:

“I was happy to see that in Bulgaria the building of the Ministry of Economy was about 5 times smaller than that of the Ministry of Interior. Another fun thing: the anti-car ideology has obviously not struck there yet, driving in town seems very easy, and often, as a pedestrian, to cross, you go through underground passages, connected to the metro , and with small shops. It’s really nice, and more convenient for everyone. »

In the same vein, Stéphane, a liberal tourist in Bulgaria sends us his postcard:

“I am in Sofia. Cash is king, packets of cigarettes cost 3 euros, a pint in a bar varies between 0.5 euros and 2.5 euros in the most expensive places, there are many parks and other green spaces, which makes a very nice town.

And rare are the French…”

Still a little further east

Adrien went to Japan.

In Japan, everything is not perfect, but cleanliness and service are really different between the two countries, and it is not to our advantage.

Every time I come back, I have a period where I have to get used to the dirt and the disorganization in France. It’s crazy how dirty Île-de-France looks/is after these trips.

For service in general, I have always said to myself that it was due to the fact that many jobs which would not exist in France, for lack of too high a minimum wage, are in fact the norm in Japan, which must to help. »

Speaking of Asia, Christophe was chatting with an immigrant from Hong Kong this weekend.

“When I told him I was from Paris, his first remark was about the smell. It is one thing to want to make France a country-museum, but it should be clean as long as it is done. »

Martin went to Australia and had fun upon arrival:

“I have just arrived in Australia, never seen a customs officer so happy to welcome people. I’ll talk more about it later, it’s 3 am there. »

Difficult to return?

Ending the holidays on a pessimistic note? Here is the card of Jacques, a little bitter when it comes to returning:

“Each time you return to France, you have to put your shields back on, become suspicious again, and increase the level of stress to protect yourself.

After a while you get used to it again, but I think it’s like a background noise that you no longer hear over time: it tires you out and it stresses you out without you realizing it. »

Street Parisby faungg’s photos(CC BY-ND 2.0)

An article originally published on August 19, 2018.

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