While on our recent trip, I learned that there are several things that I rely on or use daily that I take granted, but after this trip, hopefully I never will again, or at least not for awhile.
Here's some of the basic things I missed:
** driving a car
Yes, the public transportation in Europe is awesome and it got us where we needed to go, but I'll be happy if I don't see another metro/subway/tube for a long time! Those things are dirty, crowded, sweaty, hot, sticky, loud places! I missed beiing able to just get in a car and go where I needed to go. Shopping for groceries without a car is tricky! No wonder they go every single day!
Water became a commodity. It's only served if you specifically ask for it, and then it's always warm. But you'll take it no matter how, because you are always dying of thirst! One thing Europeans do bigger than Americans... water bottles. They are huge! (And then they haul them around everywhere I guess.) So we bought them and filled up our littler ones to carry around.
Of course, they don't believe in ice over there. At our very last eating out in England, they brought us a pitcher of ice water and we made such a big deal about it that the waiter thought we'd lost our minds!
** drinking fountains
And furthermore, you won't see a drinking fountain anywhere! We actually did see one at the top of the Arc de Triumph, and I meant to take a picture! It was crazy! I think there is one (ONE) at the Tower of London too.
All the places we stayed had teeny little washers, but no dyers. They believe in hang drying. Which is tricky when you don't have a lot of time, or it's raining , or muggy, or there's no breeze, or no space or you have a gazillion clothes or .... yeah. It was interesting trying to get our clothes dry. We spread them over balconies, chairs, lines, showers, racks.. anything we could think of. I really really missed my dryer!
At all the places were stayed, it was either tile or wood (fake wood) flooring. And no area rugs at all except at the last place in England. I found that I really missed carpet on my feet and that was the first thing I noticed upon walking into my very own house... carpet!!!
** "normal" milk
To me, if milk is stored on the shelf it is not normal. And that's all that Spain and France have. It was fine for breakfast cereal (which, by the way, is another thing they don't really have there!) but for guzzling like I do? Not so yummy. Well, I guess until you get a taste for it. England had milk in the fridge, so I guess it was a little more "normal" there!
I find that while on vacation I don't listen to music much. I missed it. A lot. Now and then we would hear music at some place we were at (a lot of it American which was interesting) but still, even then, not much. I've been having fun blasting music again now that I'm home!
** toilet paper
Oh, boy. One of the interesting things about staying at apartments and not hotels... the amount of TP that is provided! I thought we would instantly run out at the first place (and I searched for a stash but alas there was none!) so we bought more. And wow, tiny tiny rolls they were! But that was okay because we hauled those around with us through two more locations (those ones had enough TP for our whole family... barely...we used every last drop) until Paris. Where we used up the two rolls they provided (remember six people, six days... three girls...yeah) and then proceeded to use up all those tiny teeny rolls we had bought. And then we had one more night and morning to last! Shhhh... don't tell anyone but we used paper towels. Because for some reason, they had a HUGE roll of that! Anyway, they would DIE at the huge Costco packages of TP that we buy!
Why do we have to have different plugs in every country? One of my big pre-trip stresses was how we were going to charge all our devices! I brought three converters, and then things we could plug in them that had at least two USB ports. It worked, but it was a pain. And it's been so nice to be home and just plug something in without worrying about blowing something up or tripping a breaker!
Anyway, those are just some of the things we missed and won't ever take for granted again! Well, at least for awhile! And some of the things you can look forward to should you plan to travel abroad!
What do you all miss when you travel?