This is from a series originally posted on my original blog: Seefahrer Thayer. While I don't recommend it, you can view the original posts here. Because the content had value and useful tips I've decided to repost them here, however, they've since been heavily edited and updated.
That everyone probably already knew but me:
- Cokes in Europe come in this thick 500ml bottle (a size I can actually drink without wasting much)
- As you can see in the background of the coke picture, "to-go" is called "takeaway"
- To go upstairs you "take a lift" (I call going down on an elevator "taking a drop")
- Be aware of the difference in floor numbering, often ground floor is called "ground" and the second floor is the first floor. It becomes very confusing when you're desperate for a toilet (WC) on a European 3rd floor or American 4th.
- Instead of "watching out" for something, it's "mind" something: "mind the gap!"
- Make sure your outlet doesn't have a switch. The one that has my phone charging in it is "hot" the other is not (see picture).
- In Ireland (and possible the rest of the UK?) signs don't say "to lease" it's "to let"
- I always heard security cameras are ubiquitous, but they weren't kidding. Everywhere you look there's a sign for "CCTV". Everywhere. I walked out of the bathroom stall, looked up, camera. Is that even legal? So good luck picking your nose or wedgie anywhere in Europe without it being seen by someone. Just accept it, wave at the camera, and show them who's boss.
- Soap seems to be a bit of a commodity. There's never even a dispenser on trains here.
- Here, instead of an "in case of fire" map and directions inside buildings that no one reads anyway, there's "fire assembly point" signs, where you gather in emergencies. They're everywhere.
- Here in Ireland, I've come across a whopping one place that sells root beer. It was pretty gross too.