Subtle Differences's one of those places that aren't so different it freaks you out, but different enough that it annoys you a bit...even from Scotland. Once we got back into the UK, I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing I was home, knowing I was somewhere familiar, somewhere I knew I could predict more easily.

Simple things like grocery shopping became a chore. We discovered many villages didn't have their own grocery stores. Not even a corner shop (as we have so easily grown accustomed to in Scotland). One place you had to drive a half an hour from our campsite to get to a grocery store. And everywhere, the grocery stores closed painstakingly early. And in Pisa, despite the hours listed on the window, the store closed whenever it wanted, even if it was the middle of the day!

Camping in Europe has its subtle differences from the States. The campsites are much smaller than in the States. You could practically reach out and touch your neighbor. And, oddly enough, even at tent sites, there is electricity. We had no use for it, but I would be curious to know what tent campers use the electricity for. There are no tables or fire pits at the campsites either. The lack of campfire was the hardest thing for us to get over. Come on...a campfire is the essence, the heart, of camping. Instead, we sat around our citronella candle, drinking our tea each night.

Driving in Europe is a whole different ball game. In France and Italy, you have to pay a toll for every highway you go on. And the tolls aren't cheap. We are talking about some days spending upwards of 100 Euros just to drive on the roads! The problem is, there is no suitable alternative to the toll roads. While in Italy, we took the "scenic route" (aka: non-toll roads) for a little while. What should have taken 30 minutes to drive, took 2 hours to drive. These non-toll roads are one lane each way and take you directly thru the middle of each town. It was a mess. Yet at the same time, it allowed for some good entertainment until our patience was worn out!

Oh, and there is something about the grounds don't provide toilet paper (as if it is so expensive). And in France, there are squatty potties!?! And some of the normal toilets didn't have toilet seats. It was all just very strange. Oh, and what is the deal with the hose next to a toilet. I have seen it before in other countries. Are you really supposed to hose your butt off?!? That certainly doesn't sound appealing to me!

Its funny to me how at times things can be so much the same, yet so different. And every country, no matter how big or small, has its own way of doing things. It seems so unnatural to have an unnatural, fake line (a border) determine where those differences begin or end. But, I guess that is just life on the road...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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