Two Things That Terrify Europeans

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Europeans are terrified of being cold.

I landed in Madrid on a nice, hot, sunny +29C day, jeans, sweater and NorthFace down jacket firmly wrapped around my hips. What was I thinking? Europeans, and especially Spaniards are terrified of being cold.

And I suddenly remembered, in October, all air conditioners are shut down en masse across Europe.There was no way in hell the airport would be air conditioned simply because it was October. And it wasn’t. It was sweltering.

Certainly my hotel room, in a world-wide hotel chain, at an international airport with worldย traveler passing through, would be air-conditioned. Wrong. Big nope. My room was +27.5C and the lowest you could set it was +21C! The lowest! A quick call down to the front desk realized my greatest fear. “I’m sorry, the aircon is now shut down for the season.”

I was dying. The only option left was to get into my car rental and run the AC, I just had to cool off somehow. My thick Canadian blood was boiling in more way than one.

Europeans loathe air conditioning and refuse to turn it on, that is if they have it, until late May and only if it’s over +30C. It’s shocking how many malls and stores you walk into and the temperature is clearly indicating at least +26, if not warmer, as if they are bragging how much they are keeping you nice and toasty warm. In July.

They even advertise here in the summer not to turn your air conditioners on lower than +26C to save on electrical costs. Not the temperature outside at +26, the setting on your air conditioner is not to be lower than +26C. What the hell is the point, then?

But in the winter, the stores blast the heat as if money was no object. (They frequently complain about how much it costs to run an air conditioner.) Malls proudly display a +27C indoor heat comfort. I just about die from heat exhaustion.

In December, if someone walks past quickly, creating a momentary breeze, the patio heaters are on and blankets passed around like free cigarettes, even if it’s a sunny +20C outside.

They don’t wear scarves to be stylish, it’s because they are imagining they will be soon freezing to death.

Yes, Europeans, especially southern Europeans, are terrified of being cold.

The second terror in a European’s life is running out of sugar. Especially sugar in your coffee.

The looks I get when I say I don’t need sugar in my coffee range anywhere from horrified to perplexed. It usually goes like this:

Uno cafe con leche, por favor.

Azucar?

Sin azucar.

No azucar?

No azucar.

No azucar?

No.

Uno azucar?

Vally, uno azucar.

Gracias.

Gracias.

[Throws out sugar packet.]

Uno vino tinto, por favor…….

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