© 2019 Jill Marie Franklin

  • Jill Franklin

Quirky Things I Noticed While Spending 3 Months in Europe

Over the past year my husband and I have had the pleasure to visit several European countries. All of which captivated my soul and gave me a revived sense of wonder and appreciation for the small joys in life. Keeping reading to learn all the quirky things I noticed!

Aaru, Switzerland

  • In the Netherlands don't be surprised if you see people enjoying a meal on their dining room table & chairs in the middle of a park or on the sidewalk!

  • In Switzerland, be prepared to pay about $9 for a Tall Almond Milk Cappuccino from Starbucks.

  • In the states, we call it the Bathroom or Restroom in Europe they call it the Toilet or ‘WC’. If you see a sign that says ‘WC’ meaning ‘Water Closet’ you’ve found your place!

  • Tipping is not as standard as it is in the states. When you tip the 15-20% that you would on a bill in the US at a restaurant in Europe be prepared to make your waiter/waitress very happy!

  • Smoking cigarettes is the norm, ick! So much so there is a vending machine on most street corners making it so accessible even the young and beautiful have taken up the terrible habit.

  • Most don’t believe in flat sheets as part of the bedding makeup. Instead, they only have a fitted sheet over the mattress and a heavy duvet cover. We learned our lesson with hot sleepless nights and brought our own flat sheet for our 2nd visit!

Many of the buildings tilt in Amsterdam, on the outside and the inside!
  • There aren’t as many rules and regulations for building codes. Be prepared to walk up teeny tiny spiral staircases or through a doorway that you’re likely to hit your head on.

  • Zlanti Rat beach in Bol, Croatia is one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see, add it to your bucket list.

  • On Sundays, 99% percent of stores are closed in most countries, especially in Austria, Munich & Switzerland. The only thing that you’ll find open is the Gelato Cafes and maybe a corner market if you’re lucky oh and bars, of course, people gotta get their drink on!

  • Many Europeans have washers in their homes but it’s rare to find a dryer. The washers are not very efficient and tend to make your clothes feel ‘crispy’ after you’ve hung them out to dry.

In Croatia they have a term for living the 'relaxed life.' They call it 'Fjaka' (pronounced “fyaka”). It is a way of life in Dalmatia and is something that cannot be learned, rather you fall into the mode of fjaka naturally, especially when you're there. I know I did! According to some Dalmatians, the definition of fjaka is...“a psychophysical state of mind when there is an aspiration for nothing and to absolutely do nothing. 'Please don't get this 'way of being' confused with being lazy, instead...it's all about blissfully being in the moment. 
  • You’re not allowed to ‘work’ on Sundays in Vienna or you may get fined. No noisy mowing the yard or loud machinery. I found this rather refreshing, a day of peace and quiet for real!

  • Most of the windows don’t have screens on them. If you open the window be prepared to have war with mosquitoes especially in Italy & Croatia!

  • The church bell still tells the time, waking up to the gonging bell in Aauru, Switzerland and Supetar, Croatia got my morning started. The clock will chime loud enough so the entire village hears it.

You must go on a hunt, but it is possible to find almond milk, best brand, in my opinion, is Rude Health, the others taste chalky and thick!
  • I noticed more ‘classy’ public displays of affection on street corners, at restaurants on the train way more than in the US, love is in the air!

  • The cops are low key, you don’t see as many as in the states, they are courteous and take care of real problems.

  • Sitting at the same coffee shop doing nothing besides drinking espresso and people watching for 9 hours is entirely ok, especially in Italy and Croatia (they are enjoying the fjaka way of life!).

Berlin is like the New York of Europe – artsy, grimy, eclectic and you’ll feel free to just be you.
  • Munich is lovely and upscale, people from Berlin and Munich are not the biggest fans of each other.

  • Completely nude parks are a thing, and of course, all the people you’d rather not see naked are there.

  • Overall people are much politer and better dressed than Americans.

  • Airport personnel are WAY more pleasant and professional than the airports in the USA.

  • Sparkling water is the pretty much the norm in Europe. They refer to it as 'with' or 'without gas'. I accidentally picked up a 6 pack of bottled water thinking it was good ol' H2O, until I tasted it.  I must say, before this very moment, I was never really a fan of carbonated water. However, now it appears, I've dedicated a large portion of my day, carrying with, or chasing down a bottle of sparkling 'Perrier' water.

London has the best Indian food, it’s true.
  • Wine is Cheap! About 3 or 4 euro for a glass (unless you’re in London or at a trendy nightclub or hotel lounge).

  • People aren’t nearly as obsessed with their pets as Americans are.

  • When you go to the grocery store you have to weigh and put a label on your produce prior to going to the checkout or be prepared to get a major attitude from the clerk.

  • Most people speak 2-3 languages fluently and almost everyone speaks English.

  • If you’re staying in an older building the toilets flush power isn’t strong, if you ‘do the doo’ be prepared to be your own clean-up crew.

  • The showers… they are odd and outdated. You may find yourself sitting in the tub with your husband holding the shower head over you, so you can finally wash your hair thoroughly.

  • Train travel is the way to go in Europe, pay the extra $50 - $100 for First Class, it’s so worth it and beats the price of a flight any day!

Croissants are everywhere and so cheap! About .50 cents in the grocery stores and no more than 1 euro (or even less in Croatian Kuna). I ate at least one per day, not joking!

So there you have it! Some fun quirky discoveries about spending time in Europe.