35 Facts and Customs Baffling Americans Traveling To Europe
Undoubtedly the world is incredibly diverse. In terms of timelines North America and the United States are relatively new in comparison to its older European counterparts. Lets take a look at the customer service. In Europe tipping isn’t really a thing, as service staff are paid living wage rather that rely heavily on tips. Some customs and lifestyles from Italy or Germany make Americans stunned, and sometimes pleasantly surprised 😉 .
#1 Eating Out
Portions in restaurants are small, but surprisingly filling, which surprises many Americans. In Italy, you can easily eat a small portion of pasta or lasagna. This is due to better quality ingredients and good meat.
#2 Work Leave
Employees are entitled to paid leave and can take a leave of absence (in which case they are also paid). In the U.S., only a few workplaces (usually multinational corporations) offer such luxuries, and most people work around the clock without a day off.
#3 Historical Buildings
There are plenty of historic buildings in Europe. In some cities you can even see medieval tenements! In France, for example, you can stay in a hotel located in a 17th century palace and dine in a restaurant that has been decorated in a desacralized cathedral!
Let’s agree that in America even after taking blood you have to go to the cashier and pay the bill. Americans often have to buy their own health insurance and since few can afford it, most simply don’t have it. In Europe you do not have to pay for any medical services. If you break an arm, the hospital will give you an X-ray and a plaster you absolutely for free. Everyone who’s in employment has health insurance. Women also don’t have to pay for childbirth, unlike in the USA.
Storks make huge nests in trees or on poles along roads. They are much bigger than eagles’ nests. There are forbidden to be removed, they use branches lined with grass and moss to create a semi-permanent home. The nests are reused (often by the same pair) for years in a row.
French butter is a veritable poetry of taste. It is fragrant, creamy and has no chemical smell. Many French butters are flavored with sea salt, a tradition that has stood the test of time. For the best flavor, please allow French butter to sit out of the refrigerator.
#7 Late Dinner
In Portugal, whole family go to dinner at a restaurants as late as 9 p.m, the restaurants are still pretty empty, and by 10 p.m. it’s hard to find a table. This is really a wonderful custom! Just how come, despite eating at such a late hour, Portuguese people are not obese at all 😉 .
#8 Czech Beer
In Czech bars you can get beer that is cheaper than water! This is a huge surprise! Plus, you can buy alcohol as early as when you turn 18. When in the USA, you have to be over 21 to legally purchase a bottle of wine.
#9 Smaller Scale
Although people in Europe live at the same level as those in the USA, everything is much smaller on the old continent. Apartments, cars, grocery stores are smaller. Even jars of peanut butter are not large and retail is popular. You can easily buy one can of beer, and that is unheard of in the USA.
#10 Better Quality Meat
Fast food restaurants in Europe do not serve bad quality food! The burgers taste much better and are made of good, juicy meat.
#11 Lots of Cyclists
In the Netherlands you will be surprised by the huge number of people who ride bicycles. There is excellent cycling infrastructure and all the bike lanes for them. All in all, it is not surprising, because on a unicycle you do not stand in traffic. Those curious how all those cyclists find their bikes in the parking lots, because there is a real crowd there 😉 .
Tax is included in the price of all products and services. For bread or a candy bar you pay exactly the price labeled. No fiddling and no extra charges. A simpler system.
#13 Way to School
Students go to school by public transport or on foot. There is no such thing as school buses. In many states in America it is simply scary to let a child go to school alone, in Europe children group up and walk to school together. Use scooters or bikes.
#14 Slow Consumption
In restaurants, people enjoy their food rather than just focusing on satisfying their hunger quickly. You can sit quietly in your favorite diner, eat very slowly and enjoy every bite. Europeans use the restaurants and bars as means of socialising, they do not immediately leave after finishing the meal. It is also customed to order gradually, dish after dish.
In Europe you can marvel at centuries-old monuments, castles and cathedrals. These are much older than those found in the United States. It’s unbelievable that medieval fortresses have survived until our times 😉 .
#16 The Siesta
Spanish siesta is a sacred practiced tradition. Usually somewhere between 14:00 and 17:00 all the stores were closed, and then the residents took a nap and hid from the scorching sun. The nap tradition is not only practiced in Spain is also particular to those countries closer to the tropics where the weather is warm. Spanish workers put in more hours than any in Europe despite their laid-back stereotype 😉 .
#17 Less Obesity
In Spain or France, people eat a lot of bread, and they are not obese at all. The other thing is that bread tastes much better than in the US and has a natural fresh taste.
#18 Tap Water
Tap water is drinkable. This is a wonderful solution because carrying water bottles up the stairs is exhausting. Especially when there is no elevator. And that’s the other thing: some tenements don’t have elevators!
19 Soccer Matches
After soccer games there will sometimes be fights and fans will set things on fire. Before entering the stadium, you should know which team you are supporting so that you can sit in the right sector. Making a mistake can cause aggression from fans.
#20 Train Station Organisation
Just getting on the train is a very simple thing. When you go to the train station you don’t have to go through several security checkpoints or go past people who don’t really know how escalators work 😉 .
Not everyone speaks English in Europe but you won´t have to go far to find an English speaking country in Europe as there are over 370 million English speakers out of about 450 million EU residents! European countries, speaks English as a secondary language. Many European countries throughout the continent, have a large percentage of the population that can speak two, three and sometimes even four languages😉 .
#22 Trash Garbage Cans
On the streets there are bins designed for waste segregation. They can be found in shopping malls, residential areas and street corners. Europe takes care of the environment.
23 Getting to Know Each Other
Work or school are not the main topics of conversation. When you meet new people, it is not accustomed to tell what one does for a living. In America, people are very outgoing and someone you see for the first time won’t have a problem to share with you what they did over the weekend or that they just got divorced. So remember that Europeans are more reserved on that matter, they do not normally share any personal opinions on anything but can easily complain about current government decisions or show their dislike over a badly approved policy. Therefore the safest topic will always be the weather!
#24 Soda Beverages
The European soft drinks industry has a significant socio-economic footprint. It sources raw ingredients such as fruit, berries and sugar beet from farmers and growers all over Europe so Fanta really tastes like oranges. While soda taxes are a more recent trend, several countries and European cities have implemented duty tax on sugary drinks as a step toward the goal of combating sugar’s potential health problems.
#25 Street Cleaning
Streets and sidewalks in cities are cleaned regularly. Usually machines with a whole system of brushes hit the streets in the morning. This way you can enjoy walking on a clean surface in the morning.
Men’s magazines are displayed in newsstands 😉 Anyone can see pictures of nude women through the glass. It’s quite common. Americans seem to be more prudish.
#27 Free Sunday
Most stores are closed on Sunday. This includes grocery stores. The good thing is that restaurants stay open 😉 .
#28 Attitude Towards Foreigners
In the UK, locals respect you more if you say you’re Canadian and not American 😉 Then you’ll get better service in a hotel or restaurant. Americans should be cautious about taking certain statements by Brits at face value, as British English has long since been adapted to serve the nation’s passive aggressiveness.
#29 High Heels
Women in Italy manage to walk in stilettos on cobblestone streets and not strain an ankle 😉. That, is what we call life skills!
There is a notice period for termination of employment. No one will be fired overnight.
#31 Paid Toilet Facilities
Having to pay to use a public toilet. On the whole, these toilets are usually clean and even with a a pleasant scent. However, the urge is unstoppable and paying to use the toilet is a bit out of order.
#32 Swimming Without Clothes
In Germany, children swim naked in lakes. This is somewhat surprising. However, even more shocking was an advertisement for margarine add on television. A naked woman came out of the lake just to spread this margarine on her bread.
#33 Trash the paper
In Greece, used toilet paper must be thrown in the trash. You are not allowed to flush it down the toilet. It’s pretty weird, but I guess it’s to keep the drains from clogging.
#34 Common Alcohol
People are drinking much more alcohol (even women). It is also popular to consume alcohol at funerals and christenings or other celebrations. Guests consume really large amounts of wine or vodka. 😉
#35 Coffee Drinking Ritual
In Italian cafes you can drink coffee at the table or at the bar. The one consumed at the table is more expensive. Don’t try to order takeaway coffee, because you’ll be turned away and the owner will be mortally offended. 😉
Let us know what shocked you most ?