If you are up for a trip, even for a trip of the mind, prepare yourself for the discovery of a Europe beyond your expectations. Indeed, despite being part of what people like to refer to as the old continent, Europe has still a lot of surprises to offer to those who know where to look. Dive into the 8 surprising things about Europe that you probably didn’t know.
#1 You Look Silly Asking For A Cappuccino In The Middle Of The Afternoon
Indeed, in Italy, locals don’t drink cappuccinos after 11am. They prefer an espresso after lunch and don’t rely on the same long coffees that your favorite cafe shop is serving. So beware of this tourist faux pas when visiting Italy!
#2. Africa Is Just Next Door
It takes only 35 minutes to get from Spain to Africa. This will require you to take the ferry, but in less than an hour, your are on another continent. Talk about traveling far! There is no wonder that a lot of the Spanish architecture has been so heavily inspired by Arabic buildings and designs.
#3. Travel To The EU Is About To Change
For better or for worse, the EU is planning to introduce a visa authorization, similar to the American ESTA for the USA, and this is going to be called the ETIAS: EU Travel Information and Authorisation System. This will be rolled out by the European Commission in 2020 for visitors from countries that are not currently part of the EU.
#4. IKEA, A Natural Birth Enhancer?
It is known that approximately one in ten Europeans is said to be conceived in an IKEA bed. It is amazing to think that this is the gift of Sweden to Europe. This is also an indication of the tendency of modern households to rely primarily on IKEA for their furniture and settings.
#5. You Think You Could Get Away With Gestures?
What do you do when you don’t speak the language? Mime what you want? A lot of people rely on gestures when they are visiting foreign countries to compensate for the lack of language knowledge. However, not every gesture is universal, even the ones you thought were natural to human communication! In Albania, for example, you shake your head to say “yes” and you nod to say “no”. That could be confusing!
#6. The Famous Croissant Is Not French
If you thought you know everything about France, think again. One of the iconic French symbol, the croissant, is actually an Austrian creation. However, the Austrians don’t mind letting the French take all the credit for it.
#7. A Royal Birthday
In the UK, if you reach your 100th birthday, you will receive a congratulation note from the Queen. You will also receive a personalized card from the Queen if you reach your 60th wedding anniversary.
#8. Cyber Sweden
In Sweden, the official Twitter account @Sweden is given to a random citizen every week to manage. Check it out for yourself; this is pretty awesome when it comes to maximizing the impact of your country. Currently, this is Emma, holding the account, and she is a school librarian.