Explaining Europe

For example, the Cafe Hawblik in Asaa has stayed open longer into August than it normally would because of the stream of curious visitors, and has even put a mermaid sandwich on the menu.

Asaa is really a little tourist village. And it takes a special moment for the cafe in the tourist village to open in August. August being the main tourism season in Europe.

Which does rather explain something about Europe.

Of course, the Danes are less bad than some others. They did at least keep the cafe open for longer to feed the crowds. Paris is near entirely closed in August, peak tourism season.

17 thoughts on “Explaining Europe”

  1. Well, in DK the summer vacations season lasts ten weeks and starts in June ending mid-august. Everyone’s back at work & school last week or this.

  2. Cat in Red Dwarf had a better idea for mermaids: a fish top and a human lower half.

    Anyway what a con the little mermaid is. I didn’t think that she’d be quite so little.

  3. “Brits are just ignorant about the place…..”
    Brits are more adaptable to changing circumstances. But I don’t think they realise a lot of Europeans aren’t.
    Our local economy has been a topic of discussion about our local economy on a discussion board concerning certain matters, because whether particular attractions will survive Covid is dependent on that economy. The Brit view, taking its opinions from the few Brits actually made it down here, is that because July & now August has been busy, we’re now out the wood, As someone actually lives here, I notice that the majority of the “busy” is inland Spanish taking the holidays they didn’t take last year. Spanish orientated restaurants & bars are crowded. Extranjero largely deserted. I’m confident to predict that, come the end of the month, most of that “busy” is going to evaporate as the Spanish go back to work. Brits regard the summer holiday season as extending from May through September. May take two shorter breaks in that period. Spanish will holiday for 3 weeks or even a month in one stretch. That’s the periods holiday flats get let for. Different reactions to increased holiday entitlements.
    See similar in a lot of other things. There’s a restaurant here actually shuts for lunch 2:30- 5:30. It’s difficult for the Spanish to buy things during their lunch break because so many of the shops close. The high end handbag shop in my street closes at lunchtime Saturday until Monday. Watching the ferrateria (ironmongers?) opposite me on the Monday our 12 week total Covid lockdown ended was an eyeopener. Queueus on the pavement, all morning,m as people tried to buy the things they’d been denied for 3 months. 2:30 the shutters came down, left them standing there.
    The Spanish may have become wealthier in the past few decades but I’d say a lot of that’s due to EU money & foreign spending. The Spanish themselves still try to go on as they did 50 years ago.
    France is better but outside the cities they’re decades behind the Brits. Go to a small French town Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Or Belgium.
    One reason I think the UK’s better off outside the EU. Brits adapt & change. Europeans don’t. If anything, the EU’s a bastion against change. But the world’s changing with ever increasing rapidity. They’re going to get left behind. Best not to be left with them.

  4. BiS.. Where do you find this mythical “European”, is that something like a “Normal Person” or “the Average Man”?

  5. “Paris is near entirely closed in August” is a big exaggeration. In the 11 years I’ve been here, in residential areas at least half the cafés are open, and essentially all in and around tourist areas. Supermarkets etc…all stay open with the same hours, same for public transport with somewhat reduced frequency and scattered line closures for upgrade work. The population does drop a lot (much of the retired and school/student population are elsewhere) but for anyone who works, around half are present at any one time. Only for a few days around 15 August does it feel really dead, and even then it’s just the population drop, lots of cafés are still open. August is the nicest time of year to live and work here as it’s less crowded, easier to get around, and things are still open.

  6. @Nad – what is Paris like these days (discounting COVID)? I have not visited for well over a decade, but every time I see it on the news it looks like a hellhole, full of rubbish, crime and illegals. Is this the case?

  7. Here for a start. The gulf between the Brit attitude to a lot of things & the Spanish is enormous. And it is a “Spanish” attitude. More pronounced down here & in the campo. Less in the north & the cities. Like Tim says, Paris empties out in August. Madrid does similar. Sure, there’s a lot of difference between the north & the south in Europe. But the EU’s basically the toy of France & Germany. And you all seem content to letting it tell you what you can & can’t do.

  8. @MC it’s highly localised. Due to where I and people I know live and work, I mostly see that stuff on TV or if I deliberately head to those areas out of morbid curiosity. It’s not good for anyone who is there but it’s avoidable. It’s not even that linked to money- I know the 12th, 13th and some eastern/southern suburbs best and they’re relatively clean and safe compared to areas that are way more expensive. I guess some universals are that there is way less dog excrement (most people clean up after their dogs now :-o), but the RER is still horrid (I mostly cycle so don’t care :-D).

  9. “Does that mean Scotland is in Europe?” Of course it is; in Scotland the use “Europe” includes Britain. What the English call Europe the Scots call the Continent – at least that’s how it was when I was a boy.

    Maybe it’s changed under the barrage of the BBC – in just the way the bastards imposed the sentimentalisation of Christmas on Scotland. Well, the BBC and Hollywood – vectors of stupidity and decadence.

  10. BIS,

    “See similar in a lot of other things. There’s a restaurant here actually shuts for lunch 2:30- 5:30. It’s difficult for the Spanish to buy things during their lunch break because so many of the shops close. The high end handbag shop in my street closes at lunchtime Saturday until Monday. Watching the ferrateria (ironmongers?) opposite me on the Monday our 12 week total Covid lockdown ended was an eyeopener. Queueus on the pavement, all morning, as people tried to buy the things they’d been denied for 3 months. 2:30 the shutters came down, left them standing there.”

    France is quite similar. I stayed in a hotel in a small town just off the South West autoroute, near Le Mans. This was 1st weekend in August. You’ve got huge numbers of Britons travelling south and they use the area around Le Mans to stop for a break. And the restaurant right next door is closed for holidays.

    It’s the same with Berthillon, the ice cream parlour near Notre-Dame in Paris. Goes off on his holidays in August. An ice cream parlour. Near Notre-Dame.

    You don’t get this in Bath or Windsor. People work the summer and then go off afterwards.

  11. Paris is near entirely closed in August, peak tourism season.

    A bit like the English high street opening the same hours its customers are at work. Lots of wailing about supermarkets, south(P) east(a) Asian(k) owned(i) shops and the interweb stealing its livelihood.

  12. Last time I was in Paris (2018) I turned up on a public holiday and had to try 3 restaurants before I found one open which was packed…a public holiday in the summer and you close because hey it’s a public holiday

  13. . . . which is why the Sunday Trading laws got changed.

    Cities open Sundays but most market towns are ghost towns. Besides, I was thinking weekdays; closing at 5.30pm. Portugal, or at least the Algarve, retained the Arab habit of opening the shops in the evening when the money is walking about. Then again, Loulé in May is a more attractive option than West Bromwich in late November.

  14. A bit like the English high street opening the same hours its customers are at work.

    All these archaic opening hours worked in the past because women did not have jobs and could do the shopping during working hours.

    @Nad – thanks. I don’t think I have ever visited the 12th & 13th (tourists, eh?) but both look good places to live/hang out.

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