European Things That Make No Sense To Us

By Paula Tudoran 8 months ago

Roundabouts Everywhere

Image Source: Reddit

It feels like roundabouts are the European solution to everything, from traffic flow to city planning. While we appreciate their efficiency, we Americans often find ourselves longing for the simplicity of traffic lights and good old-fashioned stop signs. Negotiating those circular enigmas can be quite the adventure!

Paying to Use the Toilet

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Paying to access a restroom in a gas station can be a shock for us Americans, who are used to the convenience of freely available public facilities. While not all European countries practice this, it makes you wonder: Is it the bathroom experience or the change we're parting with that's leaving us flushed?

Celsius Instead of Fahrenheit

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Oh, the temperature debate! While Europeans cozy up to Celsius, we Americans cling to Fahrenheit like an old friend. Converting temperatures in our heads is a daily mental workout. Why fix something that isn't broken? We'll stick to our Fahrenheit for now; thank you very much!

The Love for Soccer (Football)

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Soccer, or as they call it in Europe, football, reigns supreme. While the world rallies behind it, we Americans, with our football, basketball, and baseball, struggle to embrace this global phenomenon fully. We're more into touchdown dances than penalty kicks, but hey, diversity is what makes the world go round!

Tiny Cars, Tiny Streets

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European streets in some countries sometimes feel like a real-life game of Tetris, with tiny cars neatly slotting into their designated spaces. But as proud owners of SUVs and trucks, we wonder if these charming narrow lanes were designed with American vehicles in mind. Our roads were built to accommodate more than just a matchbox car!

Lack of Ice in Drinks

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In Europe, a drink without ice is like a puzzle piece missing. But for us Americans, it's a shocker. We love our beverages so cold that they could give you a brain freeze. So, when the server delivers your soda sans ice, it's like missing a refreshing high-five from your glass.

Paying for Condiments

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Extra ketchup? That'll cost you. In Europe, condiments aren't freebies. It's a cultural quirk that might leave Americans with a puzzled expression. We're used to loading up on ketchup, mustard, and mayo without a second thought. Extra condiments are like little gifts from the food gods, and we'd rather not pay for gifts!

Euros Instead of Dollars

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Traveling in Europe often feels like a currency obstacle course. With so many countries and currencies, it's a bit like a financial adventure. In the USA, we appreciate the simplicity of the good old dollar. No need for currency converters and mathematical acrobatics — just straightforward spending!

Multiple Languages in One Country

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Europeans seem to collect languages like stamps. It's not uncommon to hear several languages within a single country. In the USA, English rules the roost, with Spanish as the runner-up. The linguistic diversity across Europe might leave Americans feeling a bit tongue-tied and amazed.

The Obsession with Public Transportation

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Europeans and their love affair with public transit — it's a constant source of fascination for us Americans. While we cherish the freedom of our cars, they opt for trains, trams, and buses. Maybe it's the thrill of not having to worry about parking, but we can't help but admire their dedication to eco-friendly commuting.

Limited Store Hours

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You're wandering through charming European streets, ready to shop, and then... surprise! The shops are closed for a siesta, or they've called it a day. It's a stark contrast to the 24/7 convenience we're used to in the USA. Night owls or late-working folks might find it challenging to snag souvenirs or essentials.

The Endless Love for Cheese

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Europeans have unlocked the art of cheese-making in a way that astonishes us Americans. From the stinkiest blue cheeses to the creamiest bries, they've got it all. While we adore cheese, too, we tend to stick to the classics. Their cheese selections are like a symphony of flavors, while we're content with the greatest hits.

Posh Water with Bubbles

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Europeans take their water up a notch, serving it with bubbles as the default. It's like they've mastered the art of turning hydration into a luxury experience. But for us Americans, still water is just fine. We don't need our water to sparkle; we prefer to save the bubbles for celebratory toasts.

Paying for Plastic Bags

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In the USA, we're on a mission to reduce plastic waste, with many cities banning single-use bags. Meanwhile, in Europe, they've been charging for plastic bags for ages, making us feel like we're paying for the privilege of carrying our groceries. It's a small fee for the planet's sake, but it takes some getting used to.

Lack of Free Refills

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In the USA, the concept of "bottomless" is taken seriously when it comes to drinks at restaurants. We're used to free refills on soda, coffee, and tea. In Europe, you mostly pay for each beverage, making us rethink this drink strategy. That second cup of coffee comes at a price!

Endless Cafés, Not as Much Coffee to Go

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Europeans have a deep love affair with cafés. They cherish the art of sitting down with a coffee, savoring the moment. In the USA, we often grab our coffee on the go, rushing through life one to-go cup at a time. It's a different pace, and both have their charms.

Plenty of Street Markets

Image Source: Reddit

In Europe, street markets are a way of life, and it's like a treasure hunt every day. There's always something to discover, whether it's fresh produce, handcrafted goods, or vintage finds. In the USA, while we cherish our farmers' markets and occasional flea markets, they're more sporadic.

The Confusing Electrical Outlets

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European electrical outlets seem like a maze of different shapes and sizes. It's like they're playing an elaborate game of "guess the plug." We Americans are left scratching our heads, wondering why they can't just settle on one standard. A true test of our adaptability and plug adapter collection!

Small Talk Is Less Common

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In the USA, we'll strike up a conversation with a stranger in line at the grocery store, but in Europe, it's a different story. Small talk can sometimes be met with polite smiles and brief responses. It's not that they're unfriendly; it's just that personal space is treasured, and chitchat might feel intrusive.

The Love for Public Nudity

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Europeans are quite comfortable in their own skin, and public nudity is often accepted, whether it's at a beach or in a sauna. In the USA, we're a bit more reserved, preferring swimsuits and towels. It's a cultural difference that sometimes leaves us feeling a tad overdressed.

Dinner Time Is Much Later

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When Europeans are just getting ready for dinner, many Americans are winding down. Eating well past 8 p.m. is the norm across Europe. In contrast, in the USA, we often prefer to dine much earlier. It's like a culinary time warp that takes some getting used to!

The Metric System

Image Source: Reddit

For Americans, the metric system can feel like a foreign language. We're used to miles, gallons, and pounds, not kilometers, liters, and grams. Converting units is like doing mental gymnastics. We appreciate the simplicity of our system, even if it's not as universally adopted.

Outdoor Dining Year-Round

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Europeans are all about outdoor dining, regardless of the weather; heaters, blankets, and cozy setups make it possible to enjoy a meal al fresco year-round. In the USA, winter often puts an end to this tradition in many regions. We admire their dedication to open-air dining but also appreciate the warmth indoors.

Mandatory Vacation Days

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Europeans have a healthy work-life balance with ample paid vacation days. It's no wonder we Americans sometimes feel envious of their extended breaks. While we value our work ethic, we can't help but daydream about those extra days of relaxation and exploration enjoyed across the pond.

Casual Attire Isn't Always Welcome

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In Europe, dressing up a bit is considered a sign of respect, even for everyday outings. Americans, on the other hand, often favor a relaxed, casual style. It's not that we don't appreciate a well-put-together outfit, but sometimes, our flip-flops and jeans just feel more comfortable.

Multiple Course Meals

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European dining can feel like an epic journey, with appetizers, mains, and dessert courses. In the USA, we're content with an entrée and maybe a dessert if we're feeling fancy. It's like Europeans have a treasure map through a multi-course feast while we're on a more streamlined culinary adventure.

Love for Public Transportation Strikes

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Europeans aren't afraid to stand up for their right to better public transportation. While it's admirable, these strikes can be a headache for commuters. In the USA, we might not strike as often, but we do love a good road trip when transit gets tricky.

Siestas and Mid-Day Closures

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In Europe, the mid-day siesta or business closures for tradition are common, while in the USA, we power through the workday without such breaks. These siestas show that they've discovered the secret to a well-rested afternoon while we keep sipping our coffee to stay awake.

The Fascination with Castles

Image Source: Reddit

Castles may be a symbol of history and fairy tales, but in Europe, they're, most often, a part of the landscape. In the USA, they're more of a rarity, making each one a treasure to be sought out. It's like finding hidden gems in a world filled with skyscrapers.

Narrow Sidewalks

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European sidewalks can feel like tightrope walks, especially for Americans used to wider walkways. It's like they've embraced the charm of close encounters on bustling streets, while we're used to having a bit more elbow room. Strolling through European cities sometimes feels like a delicate dance to avoid bumping into fellow pedestrians.

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