Is Europe ready for the invasion of us Brits abroad?
Summer is fast approaching and millions of us Brits will be using our well-earned cash on a fab holiday abroad. As I write this, there will be groups of friends, families and couples booking there summer holiday, looking for a change of temperature as the UK has already had its annual sun allowance during a weekend in April.
For me, when I go on holiday I like to believe I am not the typical label of Brits abroad. I look for three things. Culture, sights and food. Other people just want to relax and have some sun. I would pick a city break rather than a beach holiday. I do enjoy the sun but my Irish heritage has made the sun my kryptonite.
The top three most searched for holidays by us Brits are Mallorca, Tenerife and the Algarve. Three sunny destinations. In fact, my last holiday was in the Algarve when I visited Albufeira.
Portugal is a beautiful country and one I have always wanted to visit. My partner and I managed to get a decent priced last minute holiday which we squeezed in to our busy work lives in early October. Lucky for that, we still had decent sun but not too hot to melt me into a freckled puddle. At the same time, it was still busy with fellow Brits also having some Autumn sun.
We arrived in the evening, hungry and ready to explore the mile radius around our hotel. As we enjoy our food a bit too much, we always look to try new things and authentic Portuguese food was high on our list, especially in a destination that boasts fantastic seafood.
As usual in a destination like Albufeira, the first place we went past had a colourful menu on an A board outside, some of the Portuguese delights we could get was an all-day English Breakfast for €2.50 washed down with a €1 beer. Now I am not a snob, I like beer and I like a full English, maybe just not on holiday. Around the corner we walked past a classic Portuguese rustic restaurant…..ok, that was a lie. We walked past a restaurant called “Little Britain”. Again, it had a great All day breakfast deal as well as a burger and a beer for €5. In fact, “Little Britain” was so British, it had Del boy and Rodney’s Robin Reliant from Only Fools and Horses.
This picture is from Trip Adviser and is not me.
Again, I am sorry if I sound like a snob but I just don’t get it. I don’t get that when us Brits go on holiday, we crave a cheap breakfast. Why are we so set in our ways that even hundreds of miles away from home, we want to do the exact same thing?
Speaking to some of my older work colleagues, they fit the Brit abroad stereotype. Speaking to one who goes to Benidorm every year without fail, stays in the same hotel without fail just wants to eat English food, drink English beer and watch English football. When I asked about seeing the sites and tasting the surrounding culture, it was clear, he was not into that “foreign shit”. After he returned from Benidorm, he was so happy with how little money he spent on beer, it was the highlight of his holiday.
Even I am guilty of the Brits abroad stereotype as well. When I was 21 I went on a “lads” trip to Prague. Drinking cheap booze along the way. Last year I went on a stag weekend to Berlin, Now I am in my thirties, my priorities have changed, I had never been to Berlin, so I woke up first thing the next day (a little worse for wear) and went sightseeing. I’m glad I did as well. I would regret not taking time out to see Berlin for the beautiful city that it is.
A desperate Plea to the Brits Abroad
Can’t we just work together and ask us Brits abroad if they could leave being British in Britain, if we took a little while to get out of our comfort zones, learn to say, please, thank you, hello and goodbye in the language of the country we are visiting and embracing the culture, I believe it could make Britain a better country. When we go abroad, we should look at bringing a piece of another culture home with us, not leave it over there. Find a new recipe you love or a wine and beer that reminds you of a sunny night on a beach rather than cheap cigarettes and Raki which you managed to get through customs.
I am sure you have thoughts on this and you are welcome to share them. Enjoy your summer holidays, I certainly will.