The 3 Strangest Things About Europe

Reflections By

You expect quirks when you go to Asia. As an Australian you are even ready for the strange nuances of the Americans what with tipping and accents and driving on the wrong side of the road.

But I wasn’t ready for these things in Europe.

These 3 strange things.

No Air-conditioning

When we first encountered this phenomenon in a Novotel hotel in Pozan I was positively shocked. Then there was the house sit in London and Belgium. Our Airbnb place in Hungary and also the hotel in Vienna, Austria. 

Where is the aircon?

Can I have a fan at least? Here, take this 2 legged useless thing

As an Australian, aircon is almost like breathing in summer. We can go from our air-conditioned houses to our air-conditioned cars (and public transport) to our air-conditioned shopping malls.

To have a hotel, especially those on the 3rd and 4th 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 work is costly, but please Europe at least provide a fan.

The Dogs

The majority of Europe loves dogs. Not like we love dogs. Not even like I love my dog. I mean, really love dogs.

They push them in prams.

Take them shopping.

Some dogs can’t walk they are so precious and are held in their owner’s arms.

Hotels welcome dogs gleefully and shops don’t seem to mind all that much either.

The Blankets

Perhaps it was a cheap hotel. I mean 2 stars could mean missing a few inches. But then we got to the next 4 star hotel and the one after that and soon we realised- Europe really does bedding weirdly.

In several places we have stayed throughout Europe we have been welcomed to our room with a double, sometimes king size bed, but always two single sized quilts. And not made on the bed like you would back in Australia or the US, but kind of sideways folded in this strange way, which makes it look even smaller. And when you unfold them, the actual quilt is perpendicular to the bed so you have to rotate it around. A lot of fussing around just to hop into bed. 

Now I know blanket hogs are a serious problem and governments all over the world are trying to find a long-term solution, but for real? Adults have to share a bed, but not a blanket. I mean if I get my own blanket can’t I have my own bed too?

What is this?

The 3 Best Things About Europe 

But for every strange thing, Europe does other things extremely well.

House Sitting

Europe goes on holidays regularly and you can find housesitting positions in nearly every country.

We’ve housesat in the UK, Ireland and Belgium and the opportunities are endless.

Our favourite site is Trusted Housesitters, because they have an option to search homes that welcome families. But there are abundant alternatives: mindmyhouse, housesitmatch (Use BENDER-10 for 10% off). 

Cheap International Travel

Bargain low cost carriers have not only helped scores of citizens step outside of their own country, but encouraged other methods of transportation to reduce their prices in order to compete.

Whether you are flying a few hours from one side of Europe to the other or enjoying the scenic train journeys of neighbouring countries, Europe really does know how to travel easily and affordably

Fast Food Snacks

When we get fast food in Australia it's McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks (Burger King), Red Rooster or if you are healthy you might try sushi or Subway. Some nights it’s takeaway Chinese, a kebab or fish & chips.

If you are hitting the Royal Show (an annual fair) you’ll be looking at hot dogs, meat pies, fairy floss (cotton candy) and chips (french fries).

In Europe takeaway is so much more. In Poznan or Luxembourg you can walk down to the market square and get takeaway plates of sausages and potatoes. A snack can be a crepe or a croissant or a pretzel.

You will hardly find yourself ever eating at McDonald’s or a Burger King, because the other options are plentiful and fast. In Germany and Austria sausages are everywhere, and in Austria ready-to-go noodle boxes are widely available. 

So it’s not all strange in Europe.

But those damn blankets will haunt my dreams. Arrrrrgh, the blankets!

Reader Comments...

"I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" -

I think I will need to bring a mini fan when I get there. :D

grasya Sep 22nd, 2014


Karin Sep 22nd, 2014

You have got to know how wonderful this post is!!!!! So true and so funny - Thanks!

LaRee F Sep 22nd, 2014

We thought the beds were strange two. Actually like the single duvet but not having to unmake the whole bed just to get in. We also found lots of places didn't supply a kettle in the room so we couldn't make our own cup of tea. Have you found that?

Fiona S Sep 22nd, 2014

How random- have never experienced the blanket thing! For me it's a fitted bottom sheet on the mattress and a duvet (or duna as I learnt on my travels!) and that's it- nothing more and I hate sheets- a duvet is a must!!!!

Abbey Sep 22nd, 2014

Your post made me smile! Aircon is only something we use on holiday. Never had it in Europe. I don't think we even own a fan lol.
The blanket thing is weird, Iv never come across it!
Good post though, liked reading it

Nisbah H Sep 22nd, 2014

Aircon is expensive and it kills the planet. We learn to keep the blinds/curtains closed during the day and only open then in the cool of the evenings and early morning. It is something Australia has yet to learn, given curtains are still a novelty :P

I have never encountered those blankets? Cheap travel is something we miss LOADS and ultimately it will draw us back. When we first arrived in Australia the food was a big disappointment lol. We just don't eat out much anymore, where as in Europe it is a pleasure to eat both street and restaurant food.

Really interesting to read your thoughts on weirdness lol.

Emma P Sep 22nd, 2014

The blanket thing is weird!!!

Bethaney Sep 22nd, 2014

My #1 pet-peeve in Europe is showers with detachable shower nozzles that don't have a hook to attach it to wall - Nearly every hotel has this and its crazy! How are you supposed to wash your hair properly when you have to use one hand to hold the water above your head the whole time??

Scott M Sep 22nd, 2014

Obviously the same as Scott and the stupid separate doona thing is annoying AND not having benches/shelves in hotel bathrooms to put your stuff on??? what is with that?

Jen M Sep 22nd, 2014

Weird things about U.S. (not sure if it's the same in Australia):

Everyone leaves the A/C on ALL THE TIME, even when they go out and no-one's in the house! How good is that for 1) the environment and 2) your health to have it on all the time?

2) The use of a tumble dryer for clothes. Again - environment??

Bex Sep 22nd, 2014

We loved having individual duvets, and if we ever stop being homeless, I'm setting things up that way for sure! With respect to the aircon, we couldn't believe how hot continental Europeans kept their homes in winter (chillier Ireland felt nicer). We were always sweating like we were trying to pass a bad check, even though we'd come from Hawaii where it's really warm! Maybe there's a correlation. Our biggest adjustment has been in countries where one drives on the left. It's backwards! ;-)

Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru Sep 22nd, 2014

Ah yes, the two doonas on the bed thing. We've noticed that too, and it is a bit strange. What's wrong with a single doona to match the size of the bed? Haven't noticed the dog or air conditioning thing yet, but I'll keep my eye out for them now!

Chris Sep 22nd, 2014

i love having two duvets! at first i thought it was weird but im converted now!

Jade Sep 23rd, 2014

Aircon is expensive and the buildings are often too old and the rules dont allow AC units or pipework on the buildings. AC is also as someone said very recent in cars I only had it for first time in 2001.

Graeme H Sep 23rd, 2014

There was no airco in cars for a long time either, as for bedding, you can buy a bed in a shop which is longer than 2 meters, they start usually at 2.10m and go up to 2.4, which I really miss here in NZ

Lawrence Sep 23rd, 2014

Haha I laughed at some of these things that I too experienced in Europe. While I did have AC in all of the accommodation I stayed in, the trains were definitely sweltering! I was very surprised at that. I also laughed at the blanket on two beds thing :D

Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Sep 24th, 2014

The air-conditioning isn't very important in Europe ( e.g. in Poland we have only 2 warm months - 2-3 weeks very hot ). Very often during the winter is very cold ,,-" 10-15 degrees so the most important things in Europe is the heating :)

Beata Sep 24th, 2014

We find it weird that you'd want aircon, embrace the humidity! I've never seen anyone pushing a dog in a pram...I've seen people walking rabbits on leashes though, so swings and roundabouts, and I've definitely never been in a double with two single must stay in odd places!

Sara Sep 24th, 2014

Yeah, I've never gotten the bedding thing - it's like you have to kind of make it yourself before hopping in. It's a largely German and Austrian phenomenon though. Don't think I've seen it elsewhere.

Sarah Sep 24th, 2014

The blanket thing is the best thing in the world. No more waking up in the middle of the night freezing because someone, cough cough Tim, hogged all the blanket.

A Cook Not Mad (Nat) Sep 24th, 2014

I never saw a dog in a pram, but I did feel the love when we were in Europe. And being the blanket hog, the blankets never really bothered ME.

Rhonda Albom Sep 24th, 2014

Similarly here in Canada, I don't think AC is as common, especially on the West Coast. And on the West Coast, the dog-in-pram thing is not at all uncommon. Your blanket experience on the other hand...very strange indeed!

With 2 Kids In Tow Sep 25th, 2014

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the strange toilets that seem to have a 'viewing platform' to inspect your business before it's flushed away! They were just WEIRD and gross... yes very gross eeek!

Our Global Adventure Sep 25th, 2014

Air con, definitely, but to be that's a positive. The rest of the issues: Not European, but country specific. We do like our individual duvets but we do them differently. The Germans fold theirs the way you describe. The Swedes find it equally strange. And so on. Quite fascinating.

Ann-Katrin Sep 28th, 2014

I never noticed the dogs, but I did notice the sheets! I thought it was just me haha!

Francesca @onegrloneworld Feb 19th, 2015

About the air-conditioning - you speak about places in the north part of Europe. Come to south (like Italy and Greece) and will see the difference. :) It's hot like a hell! And its air-conditioned. And yeah, about the dogs. It looks like in Europe dogs are treated like a toys or kids, I think. :)

Geri May 6th, 2015

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