Fallas is a massive fiesta of spring in Valencia, Spain

Who knew that a fiesta can be so valuable that it deserves a Unesco World Heritage nomination, but that’s what the Fallas fiesta in Valencia, Spain has achieved. The carnival, held annually from end of February to mid-March, is a massive (even in fiesta-crazy Spain) celebration of spring. Here is what goes on during the festivities.

Valencia, Spain, Falles festival opening Read the story “Fallas is a massive fiesta of spring in Valencia, Spain”

Tips for avoiding the behavior of an ignorant tourist – and getting respect from locals

If you have seen the crowds around the key sights in Venice, Paris, or Barcelona during the high season, you may understand why a certain degree of resistance against mass tourism is developing in some specific European cities. Not only do the residents feel that their neighborhoods have been conquered by visitors, but these uninvited visitors also behave badly. Here are a few simple tips for getting along with locals in popular tourist destinations.

souvenir shop in England, tourists shopping postcards Read the story “Tips for avoiding the behavior of an ignorant tourist – and getting respect from locals”

Home-coming blues can be a surprising problem after living overseas

Returning to your home country after living overseas for years can be more difficult than settling in to a country where you moved. It is a sort of reverse culture shock that actually most people experience when they move back to their home countries. A survey indicates that even 80% of people returning home had harder time readjusting to their home country than to the country where they had moved earlier.

couple moving in to an apartment, packing boxes around Read the story “Home-coming blues can be a surprising problem after living overseas”

A culture shock in Italy and in Finland

Finns are icemen and Italians hotheads – that is what someone moving from Italy to Finland (or vice versa) might think. The differences in culture, behavior and socializing – not to mention weather and food – are so great that it can drive a normal, healthy person to suffer from a culture shock.

Spaghetti and Sauna is a very personal story of a young woman who moved from Italy to Finland in order to study and work in the Nordic country. Her personal story, however, develops into a insightful description of Italian and Finnish cultures. The author believes that these two countries are the remotest countries in Europe culturally. She tells countless funny and humiliating stories how easy it is to misinterpret people who have different background than yourself.

The detailed insight in the book on the people, their customs and the way of thinking and behaving is intriguing, pleasure to read, and learn about these cultures. I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand at least two from the many diverse cultures of Europe.

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