1. At La Petite Syrah cafe in Nice, customers get charged based on their manners. €1.40 if you use say hello and please, €7 if you use neither.

2. Germany has what is called the Schimpflos hotline, specifically set up to let off steam and swear at a real person. You know, if you’re feeling a little stressed after that long, hard day of beer drinking and currywurst eating.

3. The average Italian slurps through 25 kilos of pasta a year – fair reason to go forth and imitate. In every region.

A photo posted by Phil* (@phil_debs) on

4. The French government hands out medals to parents who effectively raise their children with dignity. Yes, there is such thing as mum/dad of the year.

5. A penguin in Edinburgh Zoo is addressed as ‘sir’ after climbing the ranks of the Norwegian King’s Guard and achieving knighthood in 2008.

6. It was illegal for women to wear trousers in France up until 2012, when the 200-year-old law was declared void. Guess who wears the pants now.

7. Throwing an apple at someone in Ancient Greece was basically a proposal of marriage.

8. When asked why they were taking Finnish as a language, 97% of students at the University of Vienna answered so that they could understand heavy metal music.

9. Joseph Tito, Freud, Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and Trotsky were all patrons of the same Viennese cafe (Café Central) in January 1913. #somethinginthecoffee?

10. Neighbourhoods in Portugal pay their respects to Saint John the Baptist during Festa de São João by hitting each other with garlic flowers and soft plastic hammers.

11. Niels Bohr was gifted a house from Carlsberg, right next door to their factory, with a direct pipeline to it after winning the 1922 Nobel prize for determining the structure of atoms. Beer. On tap. For life.

12. The best burgers in Berlin can be found beneath the U-Bahn tracks, in a… converted green public toilet box. Trust us, they’re the best.

13. Hygge is the untranslatable Danish word to describe a particularly pleasant atmosphere. You might feel it when eating a Danish pastry. Or seeing anything in Denmark.

14. There are three towns in Southern France where dying is not allowed. Like completely illegal. Try your best not to?

15. After seeing the exquisite beauty of Florence, French author Henri Stendhal suffered from dizziness and heart palpitations “I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence”, i.e. he was swooning from artistic overload. His condition was later diagnosed by an Italian psychiatrist as “Stendhalismo” or Stendhal Syndrome.

16. Every year on the 13th of October, Finland celebrates National Failure Day, specifically created so people could learn from their mistakes. It trends on Twitter and everything.

17. In 2013, 30 squats could get you a free metro ticket in Moscow. The conductors have to have their fun too.

18. Slow TV is a Norwegian phenomenon where a sweater being knitted and a train trip from start to finish are broadcast in realtime as antidotes to the TV networks’ hunger for ratings.

19. Venice is sinking at the rate of 1-2 millimeters a year, 5 times faster than originally estimated. All the more reason to cross it off your bucket list.

20. A con artist named Victor Lustig was so good that he sold the Eiffel Tower not once but TWICE in 1925 to unsuspecting businessmen.

21. Gondoliers in Venice (of which there are only 400 operating in Venice) go through rigorous training and a tough final exam – about 3-4 licences are distributed annually.

A photo posted by Chiara Scagliotti (@chialight) on

Alessia Castiglione
Alessia (not Alesha – please) is a serious Wicked fan and occasionally spends her time trying to get answers out of her cat. Eating forms the base of most of her weekend plans. One day she’d like to create the ultimate philosoraptor meme.