A Travellerspoint blog

July 2018

Home again

Summary of 2018 European experience

We have been home now for almost a week and are finally getting our biological clocks reset to Saskatchewan time.

All in all, we had a great trip to Europe. There were many surprises along the way, some good and some not so good.

Things to know about travelling in Europe on your own and in your own vehicle:
- You carry your luggage (baggage) wherever you go so try very hard to limit what you take.
- Parking spots are incredibly small.
- The Citroen program is very good and very economical. We imagine the Renault and Peugeot Programs would be as well.
- Gas is very expensive in Europe. It ranged from 1.20 Euros per litre to 1.69 Euros per litre. This was the 95 gas which is their lower grade. Most often the price worked out to $80.00 Canadian per tank. We filled up daily when we were driving from place to place.
- Groceries are cheaper in France and Germany than in most countries.
- We liked many grocery stores and found the staff in these stores cheerful and helpful even when they had limited English and we had even less of their language.
- When a lodging for the night is advertised on Booking.com as “they speak your language”, it is not always true but every effort is made to understand what we were saying and we tried to understand them.
- English is not as widely spoken as people think. Tour guides and staff in large hotels and at touristy stops are pretty good with English which is why the impression is given that English is widely spoken. Try to have a list of words you need to communicate. The new translation app that you speak into in English and the phone speaks to whomever you are speaking to in the language you indicate works very well but our English expression “You are welcome” when they say “Thank you” sometimes comes out as a welcoming greeting rather than a show of appreciation. For example, “You are welcome” as a reply to “Thank You” comes out “Bienvenue” in France.
- Not all people who advertise on Booking.com are honest, so be careful. We had two very bad experiences and one sort of bad experience out of 65 stays. The good ones are fantastic and make every effort to make sure you are in a clean and comfortable lodging. Some are even “over the top” in how well they look after you.

Places we saw that amazed us:
- Northern France is flat and much like Saskatchewan. They were harvesting wheat as we drove through there the second last week of June.
- The Pyrenees
- Alhambra in Granada, Spain
- The buildings in Prague, Budapest, Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam,
- Gibraltar was interesting but crazy crowded as was Monaco
- We really enjoyed the Algarve area in Portugal and Estepona area of Spain. Both are on the southern edge of those countries. They are very restful.

The weather was not great sometimes and we just made the best of it, but southern France (along the Mediterranean) was the most disappointing.

We did not see crime not did we experience it.

We saw very few traffic accidents in spite of the fact that we put 17,871 kilometres on our car.

All in all, it was an enriching experience. This gave us a view into the lives of people in other countries which gives us a more global view of life.

Posted by A-RPoulton 10:57 Comments (0)

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