No matter how many times we visit Europe, there are some weird European traditions that we simply cannot get used to.
Lately, there has been a lot of America and Asia bashing and yet there was nothing on Europe. Guess what, Europe? We are equally confused by Europe and a lot of things Europeans do!
From Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Poland, France, and Turkey, here is a list of 11 things you should know before you go to Europe.
If you are traveling to Poland during the summer, you can forget about relaxing in an air conditioned hotel room during the day because there aint gonna be one when you want it.
The temperature can be above 100 degrees and your hotel staff would refuse to turn it on for ya. Most private homes also don’t have air conditioning units and sleeping is nearly impossible.
To stay at a hotel, especially those on the upper floors without air-conditioning seems totally crazy. I mean, I know it doesn’t get particularly hot, but hotel rooms can get stuffy closed up all day on those upper floors.
So maybe the buildings are old and the remodeling work can get expensive, but please Europe at least provide a fan.
In case you haven’t heard, bread isn’t always free in Europe!
Yes I’m not kidding! This is the most ridiculous thing for many non-Europeans to understand about Europe as Europeans are well known for their bread.
Bread, breadsticks, butter, jelly, and the like should always be free! I mean, c’mon, we have an entire restaurant chain in America, the awful Olive Garden, that prides itself on filling people up with unlimited breadsticks…before the actual meal. Why are you charging us for bread? Freedom isn’t free when basic stuff aren’t provided for.
Your cities like Barcelona and Rome can be insanely hot in the summer, and every living person, whether you’re a local or tourist you need to stay hydrated!
Tap water and mixers for drinks should FOR GOODNESS SAKE be FREAKING free. You might be surprised to see folks always drinking wine and beer in the afternoon, and it’s because when bars and restaurants don’t serve tap water for free, you might as well buy yourself an alcoholic beverage.
And also, why are Europeans obsessed with drinking carbonated mineral water with meals? Like, who does that!
Also, whether it’s Prague or Stockholm, your insistence that customers should pay separately for mixers forces people to go crazy. Having to pay for basic flavoring, mixers, juice that should come for free is ridiculous.
If you enjoy drinks and a sunset along the Spree at Capital Beach bar in Berlin, you might have to think twice because you’ll have to PAY 0.50 Euro to go to the bathroom afterwards!
In these modern times, it sounds a little out of touch to be charging tourists for having to suddenly go take a leak or drop a deuce? Okay, granted, usually you can find a place to go to the bathroom for free if you are taking a train but freely accessible bathrooms aren’t easy to find.
Be very prepared to be charged 0.50 Euro in European shopping malls, museums, and in pretty much every public place. Talk about regulating and making a basic uncontrollable bodily function cost something! Thats just not freedom! Most of the European bathrooms you’ll see in hotels, apartments, and homes seem to be smaller than the size of most people’s closets.
What is the point of a crosswalk if the pedestrian doesn’t have the right of way, and can’t create a gap in the traffic by waiting at it? In Europe, crosswalks are just a complete waste of white paint.
The rules dictate that the cars should stop if you’re already on the crossing as they approach. Obviously, this means that trying to cross a road is a nervous game of chicken, with you never quite sure whether your brave gamble to step out into the traffic could be your last.
The tipping practices in Europe, like the money, bills, and coins, is colorful and insane! So you round up the bill at restaurants? Or nothing? Or do you give a standard 10%? But nothing for to-go? And is your tip quality-service dependent or not? As for buying drinks in Europe, do you round up the cost and give the bartender extra? Or don’t tip at all? Or give a Euro or equivalent for drinks? Which is it? Germans, Norwegians, and Montenegrins all seem to have vastly differing answers and practices. I will say in general, it seems like y’all never tip at the bar. We just don’t understand!
5. Cab drivers
Dishonest cab drivers often hang out at major transit points, ready to take advantage of susceptible travelers like you. If you don’t want to worry about getting conned the minute you arrive at a new location, plan ahead. The taxi you pick should also have a big, prominent taxi-company logo and telephone number. Also, you want to be using small bills as that can minimize your chance of getting ripped off. If you only have a large bill, state the denomination out loud as you hand it to the cab driver. They can be experts at dropping your €100 note and then showing you a €10.
Reading a menu in Europe, especially one that involves steak, meats, or seafood, and deciding what and how much to order, can sometimes be an exercise. How much is 200 grams of a steak? Will that feed a Manchester United football hooligan, or just an anorexic model? Oh, and of course we think we’re getting a great steal on your seafood and some super fresh fish, when we see the prices on your menus (I’m looking at you, Istanbul!). Then we get the bill, and realized that price refers to the price per kilogram, not the actual price of the whole fish meal. If you don’t find out first, you might end up having to pay for the whole damn fish and paying like double the cost on the menu or street sign. Also, the bartenders are really stingy and seem confused about giving ice or occasionally limes or lemons with cocktails.
3. Business Hours
Stores seem to close indiscriminately, and the actual schedule often bears no resemblance to the hours posted on the door. This happened even in major cities. Sure everything is open and bustling in Copenhagen, Denmark during the weekdays, but why is everything closed on a Sunday in Scandinavia?
Okay, this is worse in some places than others. Barcelona wakes up and opens it’s businesses late, then take a break in the afternoon when nothing is open, and then reopens again at some random time in the early evening.
How did 10 pm become a normal time on this planet to start eating dinner and going to the restaurants, and 2 am a normal time to show up at a club?
2. Mass Transportation
Confused about whether your Hamburg metro ticket covers the city inner ring, outer ring, all day, 90 minutes, or more than one person in Germany? You’re not the only one!
All-day metro passes are great in Europe, like in Paris or Munich. Until you find out you have to go somewhere and don’t know if it’s in the A-B or B-C ring. And if you happen to buy a single-ride paper ticket, does it cover transfers or just one ride? In some European cities and most major US cities, you get 90 minutes with a single-ride paper ticket. In places like Belgrade, the 90 minute multiple-transfers is only for the electronic card holders. German and Serbian ticket-checkers are sneakier than ninjas. They pop up everywhere and raise everybody’s blood pressure. Nobody needs that sort of stress!
Oh and if you are wondering whether you should actually validate or punch your single-ride paper metro ticket before you start your ride? Do it. Absolutely do it. You’re screwed otherwise if you get caught. It doesn’t matter how ridiculously located or hard to find those validation machines are on those platforms, buses, or trams. If you’re caught, you’re gonna be getting a written ticket, no warnings whatsoever! Shame, Europe! Shame!
Taking in the gorgeous view at the train station in Milan, Italy can be wonderful. Until you realized that everything you own was just taken by pickpockets!
Wait what? Pickpocketing? Yes and we’re not talking about freaking Game of Thrones or medieval times. Why are bizarre street urchins, hookers, seemingly normal looking couples, club promoters, and random guys in the bars all trying to steal every single one of our iPhones, GoPros, cameras, purses, etc? C’mon, cut us a freaking break. Even the police, especially in some parts of Europe, like the Ukraine and Poland, are willing to shake you down for money, just because they don’t like the way you or your passport look. What happened to “Serve and Protect?”
When in Paris, if a dude tries to lift your camera while you are entering a taxi, chances are, he is very well pretending to help you get in only to attempt to run away with your camera. That’s insane! It is not surprising that Barcelona, Paris, and Rome are rated as some of the most likely cities in the world to get pickpocketed. 8 of the Top 10 Cities to Get Pickpocketed in are all in Europe! Lame, Europe.