Things seem to be smaller in Europe...condensed...like they were left out in the rain or something and shrunk. Cars, houses, roads, beds, bathrooms, elevators...all kinds of stuff. I suppose that comes from having limited room to grow as a country (typically). I mean, there is nothing here like the US of A's wide open spaces where those deer and antelope play.
And I imagine some of that is simple economics. Fuel costs (typically diesel) abroad can be significant. Small cars make sense in heavy traffic and narrow roads. They cost less to own and are easy to park, etc. I like this actually. It flys in the face of the V8 behemoths that typically carry a soccer mom and her nubbins around town. I never saw any lifted Powerstrokes with license plates that said RVRLIMO, etc, getting 10 miles per gallon on a good day. The cars there are cool looking too. Like the Peugeot in this first pic and the new World Car version of the Ford Focus (second pic) we get here for 2012 (no diesel option though).
The elevators seem to be Lilliputian too. This was how big the one in the hotel was. The first pic is the floor area and the second pic is looking down with my feet against the back wall. That is not a room to tango in. A good size phone booth would make this seem roomy.
But you know, I like the smaller approach. We are tuned to wide open living and it is slowly or not so slowly catching up with us. For decades, bigger was better, so we were told. I think, in reality, we were upsizing the emperors new suit and the tailor is now handing us the bill.