A nation of several countries

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Flags of Scotland, England, Ireland and Great Britain

Did you know that the Union Jack is a superposition of the Scottish flag, English flag and Irish flags

Yes, the British are very proud of their regions. Londoners are obsessed about London.
The Scots are intensely nationalistic and if they travel they tend to preserve their culture wherever they go (examples are the bagpipes and the kilted skirt). They use their own Scottish currency alongside the British Pound Sterling and technically, it should also be a legal tender in England but try doing it and you will most likely receive stares and unpleasant remarks.
The English, especially in football games, prefer to display the St George’s Cross flag rather than that of the Union Jack.
The Welsh are strongly attached to their culture and their language still flourishes, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated people.

The rest of the regions have regional accents and even different languages (Welsh, Gaelic and even Cornish were spoken in Cornwall but are nearly dead now) .
I would say however that things are changing a bit and perhaps coming a little more mixed with more labour movement and immigration.


England

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 City Hall of London.  The shape is sometimes called a misshapen egg, a motorcycle helmet but its mayor refers to it as a glass testicle.

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Parliament Building.  The neo-gothic Houses of Parliament with the Big Ben
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The Tower Bridge…. so-called because it is near the Tower of London
Built in the second half of the 19th century, it is actually designed as a drawbridge to allow river traffic

 The eternal rain and cold in this country has led to the term “English weather”..You don’t go to this country worriying about the cold, after all, it is still charming!

The countrysides are pretty, the matured trees, the hilly landscapes, the cottage houses, the gardens and the very charming facades of pubs and shops are what makes England very lovable.


People-watching

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People-watching in Italy is great! just sit in a cafe or go promenading.. and watch the world go by…..

Like France, dogs form part of the fashion scene and everybody can dress sexily as they want to!
freedom of expression is the norm (within limits, of course!) and if you see these images only in Celebrity magazines, in Italy, everybody looks
like a celebrity and you are part of the scene!


When in Italy, dress your best

Buon Giorno! (bhon-jhor-noh)……”Good morning/Good day”…
or
Buona Sera (bhona-ser-ra)……”Good evening”….<i>in Italian</i>

If France is not our home, we would most likely settle down in Italy! well, forget about the bureaucracy and the crazy driving – there are just too many reasons why you can forgive the Italians for that and still insist on making Italy as your permanent address!

but first, you have to strive to learn the language so that you can at least wrangle “in a melodic tone” with other crazy drivers when they honk you on the road!

that’s the beauty of road-bullying in Europe. after a moment of cursing and bickering accompanied by “sparring” of naughty hand gestures with another driver who just smashed your tail lights, you are still assured of getting back home alive and singing “Mamma Mia”! ………….unlike in Manila or in some parts of America where one will either hit you with a steel pipe or shoot you with a pistol in broad daylight!
Oh no, altercation in Europe is sometimes fun… you could still end up saying “<b>Arrivederci, ciao</b>! ” (good-bye, see you) to each other as some friendships usually start from fights!

In order to flow well with the Italian crowd, you have to dress with a good fashion-sense… failing that, it might be too late and you will end up hiding yourself in embarrassment.

In one of our usual cross-country driving, we stopped in Cuneo, near Turin, northwest of Italy, to stay the night. Cuneo is a reasonably-sized chic town but the center of action, as always in European cities, are the squares and shopping alleys in the center of town. As it was late in the afternoon, still light, we —– <i>in our travelling clothes, you know, the type where it is comfortable enough to stretch and put your two legs on the seat if you get bored sitting in one position for hours </i>—- decided to do a bit of promenading, check the old town and start scouting for a place to eat. It was a cool autumn day and everybody was wearing fashionable autumn clothes, stylish coats, leather boots, expensive-looking handbags…

While i was wearing a sweater so ugly that it’s not even fit for gardening…..everybody was dressed like there’s a street fashion show going on! …. I never felt so ashamed in my whole life.. begged the hubby to go back to the car via the backstreets so we can put on our decent long coats, at least!
aaahhh, that was better, now we could walk with heads high up in the crowd!

Lesson of the story: when in Italy (and France), dress your best!

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Italian men are always smartly dressed! Italian women.. even if they are covered all over, are always looking very feminine!

Speeding

Did you know… ?

– that if you are holding a foreign driver’s license, you can easily convert it into a French “permis de conduire” (driver’s permit) without need of any tests!  (I don’t know about other European countries..)-

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– the British are the most disciplined drivers in the world. But inspite of that, speed cameras are installed every few hundred meters on national roads.
On BBC news the other night, because owners of cars caught on speed cameras can circumvent the loss of points by claiming that they were not the ones driving when the cars were camera-flashed, and that it could be somebody else, a new technology is now in the can so that the same speed cameras can also take the faces of the speeding drivers!

..the French, while they look like the true gentleman, as soon as they get into their cars, they instantly turn into their beastly characters! They equate speedy driving as being macho! they hate slow drivers so they show their displeasure by blinding you with their bright beams and overtaking you at surprising speed! Even if a pedestrian is about to cross a zebra, French drivers will never stop! You cross at your own risk. Nine out of ten cars in France have beeps and bumps on their cars.

.. the Italians, as i said, are suicidal drivers! they drive as if they are drunk, zigzagging on straight expressways, jumping red lights, driving over white lines, overtaking on double white lines, overtaking on dark 2-way tunnels, double parking on national roads, parking by squeezing their small cars on tiny spaces notwithstanding the bumps they create on other cars. Traffic signs to them is interpreted as….”excuse me, mr driver, maybe it’s a better idea not to turn to the right” on a no-turn-right road sign! Like the Filipinos, they treat traffic signs merely as ridiculous suggestions.

…the Belgians…wow! after being ignored by French drivers on a zebra-crossing, you would instantly thank the Belgians as being road angels! they stop everytime, letting you cross… really the true gentlemen on the road, but beware! they don’t know how to drive!!! they drive as if they are blind.. bumping on nearly everyone when they park their cars, then look right and left if someone has seen them, then they run away! the only few times our car had been bumped, it all happened in Belgium!