In the beginning of October I had the chance to visit England, Scotland, and Paris. It was my first time ever traveling to Europe. I went with my mother-in-law, 2 sisters-in-law, and 9 year old niece. We had so much fun! While in Europe, there were several things I noticed that were a little different than the “norm” we’re used to here in the U.S. I started compiling a list of things that were interesting. Some of them you might expect, but see if there’s any on the list you didn’t know about! Of course it’s impossible to list everything, but here are some of the differences that stood out to me:
Money-England and Scotland use the Pound; France uses the Euro
Smaller bathrooms-like WAY smaller, and often single stalls for both men and women to use…lots of sharing!
No toilet paper holders-of course there were places that had them, but often the TP would just be sitting on the counter somewhere…it was like a game to find where it would be in each bathroom!
Smaller cups and portions sizes-we would often be given TINY glasses for our drinks at restaurants…smaller than kid sizes.
They drive on the wrong side of the road!!!-I seriously struggled with this even though this isn’t my first encounter with it…I almost shut the door on the taxi driver once!! oops.
Old buildings/homes=musty smells…no brainer, right? I’m big on smells and there were lots of
different smells in Europe…not a bad thing I guess, just different.
Rock fences– I would love to know how old these fences were! They lined the countryside and were beautiful!
Toilets-odd shaped…just different. You push a button to flush, sometimes the button was located much higher than the actual toilet.
Mind=Watch…”Mind your step” off the train for example
Take away=take out (food)
Loch=Lake…In Scotland there was a “Loch Ness”…so many monster stories! It’s a spot tourists love to visit, but we didn’t this time.
Giveway=Yield so there would be signs in the shape of a yield sign, but they said “Giveway” so funny! Actually all the road signs looked different because they measure in Kilometers.
Drink tea/coffee/hot drinks often-You could order any hot drink at any restaurant. They all had hot chocolate too, which we took advantage of!
More smokers-lots more! On street corners everywhere!
Diet cokes come in a glass bottle-they actually tasted really good when they were cold!
No ice in drinks-sometimes our server would bring a separate cup with ice to pour your drink into, sometimes not. Other times they would bring the Diet Coke already chilled and that was nice. There was ONE time during the trip where I bought a fountain drink and they gave it to me with NO ICE…and in a kid sized cup…so interesting.
Traffic lights go from red to yellow to green and of course the normal green to yellow to red.
Lots of stick shifts– many of the Ubers we took were these Mercedes stick shift vans…they must be more popular over there.
Other small tidbits of info….
The history of these countries (England, Scotland, and France) is so amazing! The castles, stories, and pride they have is very admirable. The cute shops and restaurants were truly one of a kind. One of my favorite movies is The Holiday. I LOVE the cute cottage in it and we saw so many of them on this trip! I was in awe as I looked at buildings and castles that were hundred of years old. Pretty crazy to think that I walked where kings and queens once lived. Being able to actually SEE places I’d only look at pictures of or read about was something I’ll never forget (Big Ben, beautiful castles, just to name a few).
Paris: no bathrooms!! Seriously, it was weird! We had to pay to use them in public places. In restaurants there was often just ONE (for men/women) and they were all really TINY. Missed having some space!
Sheep were everywhere in the countryside of England and Scotland. They stay inside the rock fences. You can buy wool items most anywhere you go (no wonder!).
Scotland has the cutest cows ever. They’re called Highland Cows. I never though I’d say a cow was cute, but these ones were!! (I thought they were buffalo or something!) They get so BIG!!
The English and Scottish LOVE Christmas! They have Christmas stores open year round.
Because of all the history, there are many ghost stories. It was the perfect place to go during the month of October!! We heard lots of creepy ghost stories.
Interesting food in England: waffles, fish and chips, meat pies.
Scotland Food: Lamb (we weren’t fans), Ham and Cheese croissant, scones, soup.
Paris Food Faves: Decadent dessert shops everywhere! Macarons were a huge hit! Baguettes and bread shops, every type of crepe you could possibly imagine!
Loved exploring Europe! I will be back for more adventures! Stay tuned for the Europe blog post coming soon! It details where we visited and stayed along the way. Let us know if there’s something you loved about your trip to Europe or where you’d like to visit!