Around the World in 30 Days

I am back in LA after a month long trip that started in Budapest and went through Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and then off to Singapore before returning to LA.    I learned a couple of things on this trip.

1.  Lufthansa airlines doesn’t offer much leg room in coach and this matters on a 12 hour plane trip.   2.  Singapore Airlines Business Class is outstanding.   3.  When you fly from Munich to Singapore, you fly over some tough parts of the world.   4.  While in Austria, there is only one thing on the menu called Schnitzel.  5.  The Austrian Emperor had wonderful palaces.  6. I like German beer.  7.  Europeans need to stop smoking so much.  8. Salzburg offers easy access to wonderful nature spots just over the German border.  9.  Budapest has a really cool center city.  10. If you are looking for a nice hotel in Singapore, you have to stay at the Marina Bay Sands!  11. I like European trains.

For those few RBC folks, who want to hear more about “free markets” and climate change adaptation — watch this.


Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

11 thoughts on “Around the World in 30 Days”

  1. In the old days there was in the hills behind Miesau Army Depot in Kaiserslautern (then) West Germany, a little restaurant called the Wald Pension. They served a Ram schnitzel, a breaded pork cutlet covered in a cream sauce and mushrooms, that was, with French fries and a quarter liter of local yellow wine and a cup of ox tail soup, the best lunch a person could ask for. It has been 40 years since my last meal there but I still salivate at the thought.

    1. I’m a class of 1974 graduate of Kaiserslautern American High School (also lived there in 1963-64). I knew that restaurant and my parents loved it. They also loved Frau Diller’s Gasthaus in Einsidelerhof.

      I took Singapore Air to Frankfurt in May. There economy class is pretty nice, too.

  2. There is no such thing as European trains. There are Belgian and French and Spanish trains (really nice!) and Italian and British trains (not so nice, but at least Italian trains are very cheap.)

  3. “Lufthansa airlines doesn’t offer much leg room in coach and this matters on a 12 hour plane trip.”

    Information asymmetries.

    This information is (in theory) available on the web. What, you didn’t check before your flight cross-comparing, for all carriers, such items as their leg-room and their entertainment systems? Gee — how can that be so, given that we are all rational beings with infinite time and power to explore our available options?

    I am sure this experience has NOTHING to do with, to take one example, medical economics…

    1. Dear Eb,

      Forgot the super pedant alert at the top of your post!

      If I ride a train in Europe aren’t I riding a European train? What about the Eurostar when it’s in the Chunnel? Is that in Europe or in the country of Chunnel? What is the sound of one train clapping?

      Dear Mark,

      Sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful time. Sorry about the Lufthansa thing–time to get some United miles so you can fly transpacific in Business and maximize utility!

      Welcome back!

      1. H
        The Eurostar train is really nice on the Continent. On the other side of the Chunnel, it has to deal with English rails, doubtless laid personally by Queen Victoria. The trip from Brussels to London begins as a sprightly one, but has a–ahem–stately ending.

        1. While the British trains could use some improvement, they aren’t all that bad, and I still prefer traveling from Edinburgh to London by train instead of flying (even though they don’t have the TSA in Europe [1]). Especially if we’re traveling as a family (if you have the option of taking two small children on a train ride or a flight, you pick the train 10 out of 10 times).

          That said, yes, the TGV and the ICE are still an order of magnitude better.

          [1] I have been wondering if part of the reason why European airports don’t suffer from wannabe Men-in-Black types as much is that the airlines here have to compete with trains. Train trips may take longer, but they’re also generally more comfortable, so a bondage-and-discipline approach to airport security may simply drive airline customers away.

  4. “8. Salzburg offers easy access to wonderful nature spots just over the German border.”
    It wasn’t just the Trapp family who thought so too.
    4: The other thing on the Austrian menu is Strudel, and it’s much better.

  5. There used to be a “grand tour” with a European railpass that many did when in their student days – I wonder how many do it now? I did some of Germany, then Czechoslovakia (at that time behind the Iron Curtain), Austria, Yugoslavia and Italy. If you travelled at night, you saved on hostels. Loved Vienna and the Schoenbrunn Palace. Other highlights were Prague, Rome and Dubrovnik.

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