The first and foremost impression is: Europe respects my maturity.
In Madurodam, there's a needle sharp spike on top of a model building, right where people can fall on it and poke their eyes out. Metal, not plastic.
In Amsterdam, people park their cars within an arms' reach from the canal - unfenced, mind you. Bicyclists dash on bike paths - again, on the edge of unfenced canals. No helmets, either.
In Germany, castles might have a knee high parapet over a hundred meter drop.
In Switzerland, roads rarely have shoulders. Moreover, the central divider is also not guaranteed.
Also in Switzerland, the highest point of respect for my maturity was an elevator... without doors. Yep. No doors. Doors are for those *not* in the elevator, for those that are - just walls.
In other words, the continent is telling me that it understands that I'm an adult and can (and will) be counted on and held responsible for the consequences of my actions. Stark contrast with US, where people need to be told that they can't iron clothes when wearing them. Seriously, no sarcasm, it felt good.
Roads are narrower. Cars are smaller, most of them are diesel. People are leaner. Imagine this, they actually *have muscles* (those things you have to use to get from your refrigerator to your car). And they do actually walk to the store to get things, and they're even capable of hauling the stuff they buy back into the house without a help of a car. Restaurants are quiet. Waiters are in-visible, not in-trusive.
And it looks like Europe is a land of immigrants much more than US today.
One thing that is sorely missing - out of HVAC, the only thing present is H. The rest is normally missing - but when it's present, it's state of art. HVAC units sold in US look like coal powered steam locomotives in comparison.
^[European Chronicles 2013]