European Vacation #2: What I Won’t Miss

29 Mar

I recently returned from my first European vacation — a week in Portugal, a week in Spain — and here’s what I won’t miss:

Homeless Dogs — There were quite a few wandering around downtown Funchal in Madeira, and I wanted to take them home with me. We passed by a few sleeping  in the park, and maybe they were okay, but who really knows? There were also a ton of dogs in the neighbourhood where our apartment was situated — thankfully they had owners, each backyard featured at least one, and they would strike up a chorus as we walked down the hill. Kind of like 101 Dalmations.

But one windy, rainy night I could hear a lone dog outside barking, and I recognized the sound of a dog in distress. It made me so angry that I stepped out onto the balcony and screamed: “Take care of your dog, asshole!” A few moments later, the barking stopped. Hopefully because the owner finally let him inside the house.


Portugal Spain 2013 172On the flip side, some entrepreneural souls actually make their dogs partners in the family business, and it really works for dogs lovers like me. Here I am generously tipping an adorable chihuahua with his accordian-playing owner on the streets of Lisbon.

A European toilet -- surprisingly complex

A European toilet — surprisingly complex

Appliances and Door Knobs — drove me crazy. Between my hubby and the other couple who travelled with us, it took us at least three minutes to figure out how to open up our apartment door — each time —  work the coffee maker or put on the dishwasher. IF there were directions, they were in Spanish, and weren’t much help. I consider myself an intelligent person, but it took me several moments to figure out how to flush a toilet … each one had a different aparatus.

Portugal Spain 2013 518

Euro Door Knob and Latch

Don’t even get me started about the programmable, front-loading washing machine. It had about 100 different options, including one that allowed you to wash your clothes for 5 hours. FIVE HOURS! Does anybody wash their clothes that long? And you couldn’t just open up the door and take your clothes out if you realized you’d made a mistake (which I did). The automatic timer was so complicated, it didn’t allow for mistakes, and kept the door locked until the cycle was over. My clothes were practically in shreds by the time it was done.

European washing machine, a.k.a. The Shredder

European washing machine, a.k.a. The Shredder

But all in all, these were my only complaints, not bad considering I was there for 2 whole weeks.

Do you have any funny memories of things that drove you crazy in another country?

6 Responses to “European Vacation #2: What I Won’t Miss”

  1. kathleenkaskawrites March 29, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Drivers in the countryside of Portugal often passed us while driving up hill, which meant they couldn’t see, and obviously didn’t care, if someone was driving up on the other side. Needless to say, we never had the courage to pass another driver, hill or not.

    • nancyelauzon March 31, 2013 at 8:46 am #

      On most of the roads in Madeira, our driver would have to ‘honk’ to let oncoming traffic know we were coming around the corner, LOL!

  2. Selena Robins Musings March 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Another great entry of your trip, Nancy!

    I hear you on the dogs, it’s hard to listen to them and see so many homeless ones when in different countries.

    It truly is like being transported to a different world. We don’t realize how many conveniences we have here on this side of the ocean, but it’s always a great experience to see how others live.

    • nancyelauzon March 31, 2013 at 8:47 am #

      Yeah, it really was an amazing trip, 🙂

  3. Kirsten Weiss April 2, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    I spent many years in Eastern Europe and the driving was…. amazing. Being a pedestrian was terrifying. I finally bought a car and joined the madness. Unfortunately, I may have brought some of the driving habits I picked up there home. But I’m trying to catch myself.

    • nancyelauzon April 3, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      LOL … I agree, you take your chances as a pedestrian. And they drive with such mad abandon, like in bumper cars, it’s probably kinda fun once you get used to it!

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