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What to drink?

I've been reading that in Europe, getting ice in a drink is a problem. I have a couple of strange medical/physical "quirks" that may then pose a problem- first, I can't tolerate the excessive carbonation that is put in soft drinks, and either getting a bottled drink (and shaking it down) or icing the drink is the only way to reduce this problem (the carbonation starts hiccups- which are very painful and sometimes leads to throwing up).
The second is that I have a terrible time cooling down- I can tolerate cold but not heat. Lukewarm drinks when I'm hot doesn't do a thing to help. (If I'm hot, alcohol is NOT a good idea- I only feel hotter and get dizzy!)

What would be suggested?

I'm going to northeastern Sicily in May-June.

Posted by
9363 posts

Juice drinks and such in bottles can be found all over, as can bottled water. My experience with drinks served in a glass is that they may be chilled but not cold (and not lukewarm).

Posted by
93 posts

Hmmm... if they aren't carbonated, then they should be OK. I'm not used to drinking juice drinks- generally sugar-free cokes and stuff like that (because of blood sugar problems). I guess I could get used to it... I hadn't even thought about that.

I could also drink lots of "River Wine" (water)! (GRIN!)

What about ice in drinking water?

This will be my first time in Europe. I was a bit surprised that people had problems getting ice in drinks there.

Posted by
11458 posts

Mineral water is very popular. Just make sure you get it "senza gas"--without gas. (Meaning without carbonation.)

Posted by
582 posts

I know most of us don't want to go to fast food places in Europe, but I do go there for a cold iced drink. So far, there is plenty of ice in McD or Burger King.
No,I don't ever go there to eat, but a nice iced drink there is very refreshing.

Posted by
11450 posts

Bob, you are basically asking about ice. Well , you won't get it everywhere and where you do get it , it will be like two cubes. Ice is expensive to make, not the water, the electicity used. Businesses do not make money on ice, so many don't want to waste money by either getting an ice machine or using space in smaller freezers that use less electicity. We in North America have a real problem with this since we are used to hotels with ice machines on every floor, ice in drinks filled to the brim without asking.

There are many non carbonated drinks available, they will be cool , not ice cold. You may also find ices in some places.
Ice cream or gelatos are available most everywhere , and holding a mouthful of cold gelato in your mouth will help cool you down, plus it is yummy. I realize if you have blood sugar issues you have to be careful, but one gelato a day is doable even for a diabetic if they are careful .

Posted by
8997 posts

I love the way nobody admits to patronizing fast food places when they are in Europe:) I freely admit that I do eat at McDonald's and even KFC from time to time. It can save me time and sometimes money when I'm in a rush. What I find interesting is that they are always packed with tourists from all over the world; so someone patronizing these billion dollar corporations:)

Posted by
11978 posts

Mineral water is popular. I never liked it in the U.S. because they normally sell the most fizzy types. In Europe you can buy really fizzy, mildly fizzy, or no fizz mineral water. Although I don't have problems with fizz, I found I enjoy the mildly fizzy mineral water (less like alka seltzer) and drink that regularly when in Europe.

Ice in a drink isn't a health problem in Europe. When you ask for ice, it's not unusual to get one big cube rather than the cupful of ice you are used to here. I expect the reason for the small amount of ice is the same as for small cars, small refrigerators and hanging laundry. Energy is expensive and Europeans can't afford to waste it. Cold drinks in stores are often not at the temperature we are used to here.

Evaporation creates cooling. It's less effective when it's humid. There are many ways to use the principal to cool down. Cool off buy getting wet or swing a wet towel in the air to cool it. Staying hydrated will help a lot.

Posted by
102 posts

As a Euro living in the U.S. for 17 years, this is one of those things, that I do not get at all. I still prefer my drinks without ice. It is a matter of taste and what you are customed to. I do not like my drinks watered down and I do not like to freeze my head with the exessive ice. Even my American husband has started asking his drinks with just little ice. Besides I mainly drink water and I prefer if room temperature. Hate the tap water here. It tastes horrible. For you Bob, I would suggest to try the mineral water because of your blood sugar issues. I always drink a lot of mineral water in Europe. It is very refreshing. Once again, when you go to Europe do not expect it to be an amusement park for Americans. Europeans like their things the way they like them and have a long history of doing things their way. If you want ice, go to the McDonald's where the American way rules.

Posted by
769 posts

While non-gass mineral water and juices may be best - perhaps you may also want to look at going earlier to your destination if heat is a major issue. pickign a warm climate in cooler seasons seems like a better choice. Since beer is out - try more local wine! But id heat is a serious issue you may want to check with your physician before booking too. He may have some ideas - and perhaps there are "cool" pads - like the warmers you can buy with chem reaction.

Posted by
219 posts

What about a juicy piece of fruit- that might quench your thirst? What about milk -chocolate or otherwise, or chilled tea, (maybe iced tea?), lemonade, cold soups? I bet there are non-alcoholic drinks that are unique to Sicily that most of us are not even aware of.

Posted by
11458 posts

I thought of some other things..

Higher end grocery stores, like Whole Foods, carry Italian mineral water (San Pellegrino) and Italian still water. Go buy a bottle of each and try it. Mineral water is good because it will help you get back some of the minerals you lose sweating.

You could also take along a few packs of travel size moist towelettes to "wipe your brow" and cool off.

Posted by
93 posts

I appreciate all of the tips. Since I'm going to help teach an archaeology field school, the dates are fixed- and I'll have to just try to keep from overheating. I will consider the no-gas mineral water, or possibly just plain old tap water when I need to cool off (if it tastes OK). I stopped drinking it here because our water is so horrible (central Florida well water- NASTY, full of iron and sulfur and hard!) A wet cloth around the neck or over the head does wonders in really harsh heat (such as we get) BTW.

Looking at the climate, it should be somewhat drier and cooler than here, so I'm hoping that heat won't be too much of a problem.

Once cooled off, then I can enjoy a good beer or glass of wine.