So, you have an idea of what you think Europe looks like. A rough picture painted in your head: beautiful architecture, mysterious castles, and great music. You aren't wrong, but you haven't gone deep enough...haven't quite hit the nail on the head.
There's so much more to Europe than just the pretty pictures. In order to really comprehend and make the most out of your visit, a few simple tips could help you. From no ice in your water, to the constant staring, to everyone being just a biiiit more affectionate...you may feel like you aren't quite in Kansas anymore. Don't worry, the cheap wine and cheese will make it all better. Plus, who can say no to authentic pizza and British tea?
To specify, we've created a list of some of the things that might surprise you in different European countries including Spain, London, Italy, France and Germany.
1. If you eat dinner before 9:00pm, you're a tourist.
2. If you see people drinking with every meal, it doesn't mean they have a drinking problem. It's a part of the meal and culture.
3. Spain offers mid-day breaks to go nap. Which is why for an hour or two during the day, it might not be as crowded. Embrace the siesta.
1. Tea time is a thing. It's a par-tea starting at 3:00pm.
2. It's expensive. Like really expensive. Save up before you go.
3. London doesn't mess around with breakfast. Prepare for two eggs, toast, bacon, baked beans, and tomatoes. Also, don't be alarmed when you order chips and instead, you get french fries.
1. It isn't uncommon for the waiter to leave you alone after your food is served. It's not them being rude; they just want you to enjoy your meal and conversation without interruptions.
2. Italy is cash-centric. Most Italians use cash to pay for their morning coffee, gelato or Gucci shoes. Some places don't even have a card reader.
3. It's not as late as Spain, but dinner usually starts at 8:00pm. They also have siestas so be alert.
1. Everyone smokes, but don't let that stop you from having a good time. All indoor establishments have banned it so your food and hotels will be smoke-free.
2. Don't think the person wants to make out with you if they kiss you on both the cheeks. This is done every time you meet someone.
3. "And I eat bread..every.single.day." -Oprah Winfrey. Well, so do the French for almost every meal. It's not uncommon to see someone walking down the street with a large baguette in hand.
1. Small talk isn't really a thing. German's personal lives are, well, personal. It's rare to see a person working the cash register and asking about your family.
2. Be on time. German's are very punctual and formal.
3. Like many other places in Europe, tipping is unnecessary and in some cases could be considered rude.
Compared to the U.S., Europe's 1000-year-old history really puts things into perspective. Gaping in awe of every place and every thing is natural. Being aware of these simple cultural quirks will help define you from the average tourist. As you explore the deep history and timeless monuments, Europe might not only help you see things differently, it might help you see a new side of you.