Saturday, May 26, 2012


Spending the day shopping at the street market in Isle sur de la Sorgue
May 17,2012

I don't know if you have ever traveled to Europe, but I am addicted to it.  There is just something about being in a new place that is very different from home.  I love everything about it.  There are however, a few things that we as Americans take for granted that the Europeans seem to live happily without.

Ice- never comes with a drink, not coke or tea.  Forget having it in a glass of water.  I know from being in New England it is not as common there either, but usually you can ask for it.  I figure the New Englanders are just too cheap to take up space in a drink with frozen water (sorry all my NE friends- this is a generalization of course!)  But in Europe, ice is used to keep things cold in a freezer and not to be consumed in a liquid drink.

Soft sheets and towels-never take for granted your indoor dryer and fabric softeners.  Most laundry is hung outdoors to dry in Europe just like your great-granny did it.  So no thick fluffy towels or 700 thread count cotton sheets unless you are staying in a 5 star hotel and paying the big bucks to sleep a few hours.  You're in Europe, for pete's sake, don't spend it in a hotel!

Washcloths-who knew that not having a washcloth would make any difference?  It's all in what you are used to, right?  A couple of our gals even bought some while we were there since they are not provided.  It is pretty universal in Europe not to have them. 

Shower curtains-some places do have glass doors for showers, but if there is a tub, there isn't a shower curtain.  You have to do the best you can to shower and not flood the entire bathroom.  OK, so it was me who flooded the bathroom in Paris the first day.  And given that you only get one towel for a week, you learn to direct the water so it doesn't spray all over the room. 

Toilet seats- now here's the "touchy" subject!  Few places have a separate men's and women's.  That means there usually isn't a seat on the toilet.  Guess it saves cleaning time?  No problem with keeping the lid up or down?  And that is if you are lucky enough to find an indoor toilet in a public place.  Yes, they still have the "holes".  I found it funny that they would have fancy metal hangers for purses or coats in the same room.  And usually have electric hand dryers.  I remember my dad telling me about the "water closets" that he saw when he was there during WWII.  Still there.  Maybe even some of the same ones? 

Despite the minor differences in things we deem as "normal" in the US, we 6 Tennessee gals plus 2 Minnesotans did a fairly good job of contributing to the ailing economy of France on this trip consuming delicious meals, pastries and desserts. And maybe a bottle of wine or two.  Not to mention the clothes, scarves, linens, and other items we all bought and brought back.  It was a hard job, but hey, somebody had to do it without ice on this trip!

For Memorial Day, let's not take for granted the lives and sacrifices of our military.  Enjoy your weekend.


1 comment:

jgrandchamps said...

That is a great article. It is true that many Americans expect the same in France as what they are used to. The more people travel, the more they will be used to the different traditions.
I have now lived in California for 17 years and still don't use ice in my drinks.....