UK is not European

I am interested as to how European the ‘typical Brit’ feels, because as far as I can tell the UK is remarkably un-European. Most months our ALStrays Pet Transport business sees me driving through Spain, France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium, as well as the UK.

In addition we regularly visit Italy, Portugal, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.

Without exception in each of those countries it ‘feels like being in Europe’: not franchise dominated, lot of small owner runs bars, cafes and restaurants, proper coffee aka not over priced franchised rubbish, croissants and pastries for breakfast, country specific dishes for lunch and dinner. Add to that the driving on the right, and the incessant chatter there is never any doubt that you are in Europe.

The UK on the hand does not feel European. It feels like the (unwanted) 51st State of the USA: franchises left right and centre, large cooked breakfasts, long commutes and packed roads, service stations everywhere you look with overpriced coffees, refreshments and terrible food as if it is incomprehensible that anybody could actually survive an hour without spending money on their tummy!

Now, before I get slated I like countries that retain their own identity. I am not a fan of America these days: land of the bland and overexcited by mediocrity are my two phrases for the country, but undeniable wherever you are you know you are in America. Bosnia as a country is beautiful, but a mess, and I have yet to meet anyone that is proud to be from there, BUT it has an identity and I like that. The same in Europe. Close your eyes drive for 5 hours, open them (not suggesting you actually do this) and you will know you are in Europe.

Do the same in the UK and you know two things: you are not in Europe and you are not in America, which leaves the UK where exactly?

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