20 Things I’ve noticed whilst touring Europe in a motorhome
Italian wives always nag their husbands about how they park the motorhome. At first I would feel sorry for the poor chap but now this behaviour has become my ‘entertainment’. As soon as I see an Italian motorhome enter the campsite it’s a signal to pull up a chair, grab a beer and watch a woman verbally abuse her spouse.
Lack of traffic
Compared to what we Brits have to contend with at home, Europeans have no idea what heavy traffic is like.
Speedos (budgie smugglers) are still the preferred beach attire amongst European men.Europop
European ‘pop’ music is for the most part complete drivel.
Chris Rea & Croatia
Chris Rea seems really popular in Croatia. Every time I enter a supermarket one of his songs seems to be playing.
Italians & Car Parks
Italian motorhomers don’t seem fussy about location. They will happily spend a week in a car park if that car park is somewhere other than their hometown.
They don’t like the English
The English are not universally popular in Europe but the Dutch seem to like us. If you want to be popular with all nationalities cover your motorhome in Scottish flags as mine is (previous owner was Scottish). I think much of this friendly behaviour towards Scots is in the hope you are carrying large quantities of whisky.
Rule takers & breakers
The Germans, Swiss and Austrians like to live by a set of rules. The Italians on the other hand think rules are for wimps and break as many as possible.
Good weather = low stress
It’s hard to be stressed when the sun is shining and you live next to the sea.
Impossible to find cheddar cheese
Get to like Gouda or Emmantal as it’s impossible to find extra mature cheddar.
Polish dogs walk themselves
Dogs are allowed to roam the streets in Poland. These are not strays as they look well groomed and have collars.
Whilst the Trabant is an awful car my award for ‘Shittiest Car In Europe’ has to go to any Dacia model. Whoever designs these cars should be shot. The car and the company logo have no personality whatsoever.
The summer toy craze of 2010 in Slovenia and Croatia seems to be 2 balls on a string that you smash together as fast as possible. It sounds like a woodpecker from a distance.
Smoking is still popular in Europe, certainly more so than in the UK.
The Croatian drinks Istra Bitters and Pelikovac are truly awful.
In every European town close to the sea you will find a shop selling striped sailor shirts.
Hotel Bellevue everywhere
It seems every town in Europe has a Hotel Bellevue.
GPS data less accurate
Your GPS which has always behaved impeccably in the UK will suddenly do some strange things in Europe.
Using a mobile while driving
All Italians talk on their mobile phones whilst driving, even if they own a scooter.
Turkish style toilets are still quite common on some European campsites. In Italy when you do find a traditional toilet don’t expect a toilet seat or toilet paper.
Re Point 13 – you seem to be describing ‘clackers’ that were very popular in the UK in the early 70’s…. I think that they fell out of favour after a number of kids broke their wrists whilst using them and they were eventually banned!
They tried to reintroduce them, supposedly safer versions, a few years ago…… a woman at the ‘health & safety scared-to-death’ place I worked at then brought some in her kids had got, and the manager’s face was priceless…. he nearly collapsed on the spot!
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Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed the article.
I referred in my comment previously about 10 things you had noticed – I meant ten of course.
BTW you ‘have’ to wear ‘speedos’ in Italy (and other countries I am told) they do not allow shorts in public pools… weird 😉
Yes I’ve also been told that swimming shorts are banned in some places in Europe. My understanding is that it’s for hygiene reasons but recently someone told me that certain things that live in the sea and can sting could swim up your shorts leg and reach the ‘middle wicket’ whereas tight fitting speedos offer more protection to the ‘old chap’.
All the best
The Motorhome Vagabond
The French seem to insist on Speedo type swim wear in pools etc. We asked about this and was told that it is for hygiene. For example, put on a pair of “Bermuda” type shorts in the morning, wear them most of the day, dive in the pool etc. The shorts have been worn for a while, have sat on walls, the ground and so on, but the expectation was the Speedos would be put on for swimming and then removed. I had never thought about something going up the leg!
Yes that makes sense. I know that my own swimming shorts are really comfortable and I might well wear them all day. When are you next on Skype? Not seen you recently when I’ve been logged on.
The Motorhome Vagabond
Great blog! I’m from Poland and I’m not sure what sort of a weird vicinity you found yourself travelling through but I can assure you dogs don’t usually walk themselves around like that here – ha ha. Best,
I’m so pleased I’ve discovered this site!!!
As an expat (veteran) with 12 years of mature reflection (aka: cheap wine), I can concur with Gary’s views
* UK traffic is crazy – there is a nutty number of cars on the road and many seem only to have one person in them (personal observation). I think this speaks of London and motorways – Europeans tend (and I emphasise ‘tend’ ) to use trains, car sharing and public transport more than in the UK, perhaps for cost or practicality reasons.
* Europop is pretty rubbish – it doesn’t sound right even when they try it in English – tho ‘Dispacito’ would prove this wrong – I hope this doesn’t mean there might be a reggaeton revolution because it’s truly unlistenable
* Many Europeans aren’t fussy about locations – they’ll stop at any layby and set out the lunch. There is a lack of open space in many cities and lots of people in my view are quite happy being bunched together or beside a main road. It’s a bit strange to me. Reminds me of a tableful of loud and unfriendly Germans on an MH site on the Costa Brava who set up a sumptuous lunch in the middle of a path on the way to the sink/bathroom and loo emptying point. They laughed and roared at eachother as people carried their dishes, towels, loo paper and even the cassette to be emptied inches from the back of their chairs…
* Not being English, I always point this out and this makes things better for me! Clearly since Brexit it has also made things better in a practical sense!! There would be a view that it won’t be long before the Scots are back within the EU fold!
* good weather – absolutely right on this one – though it can be too hot. I’m even considering investing in some sort of heat resistent fabric that I could clip over the MH. in 2017 in Valencia without any shade, it reached 55C inside the van. The fridge was working on gas and everything spoiled at 15C cooler – I was hot and bothered and then went outside to get bitten by the most enormous brown mozzies – and had prickly heat when I got home… terrible!
* More smokers – hell yes!!
* Hotel Bellevue – absolutely – couldn’t they be more original?! I’ve seen lots of Hotel Relax… I’d say ‘don’t do it’…. you get the (Frankie goes to Hollywood) joke I hope
* using a mobile when driving – absolutely (but maybe this applies everywhere?) I remember a lady talk-driving with two kids in the back doing an emergency stop at a give way junction and, even after I had also emergency stopped and gestured to her to hang up- She removed the phone from her ear, scowled at me, and picked it back up after I drove away – my passengers watched her do this!
I don’t agree;
* budgie smugglers – as a wearer under 60 of said item, I remain in a sad minority of one on many of the Costa Brava beaches -that or some oul fella with an enormous belly who has worn nothing else since the 70s. It is popular here to wear long swimming shorts plus trunk underwear – I have no idea why men on the beach feel they need to wear so much – the women don’t!
* Rule takers – In my experience, I have never met such bloody-minded drivers as the French. People who say ‘non’ to the car that could edge in, to the vehicle that is trying to overtake, to leaving that space that would let someone cross the junction. There is a whole separate code for headlight and hazards useage. I have found it very stressful to drive there but not in Spain or Italy.
* Cheddar cheese – go to Lidl! Here, they sell Dale Farm Cheddar from Moneymore in Co. Antrim – exactly the same stuff my mum buys! I think it’s cheaper too! (until the whole Brexit row screws things up!!)
vive la difference! as they say in France!