It’s not good to dwell on the past. Or so they say. But what if the past is freaking awesome and every time you look back, if gives you nothing but smiles? So I say, screw what other people say, I’m going to dwell on the past as much as I want to! 😉
One of the favorite past that I love dwelling on is the Europe Tour that I went on, many years ago. It was sort of a coming of age trip after the summer semester in Liverpool. As I am digging up old materials, I will slowly but surely share with you the wonders of Europe, as seen from my eyes.
I’m going to start by telling you what I find most interesting in Europe. You can only see this if you join a tour where you go everywhere in a big tour bus. You won’t be able to see this if you go backpacking, traveling by train or flight.
I am talking about the Service Areas on the highways in Europe.
What? I am telling you my honest feeling. I really find these Service Areas to be pretty fascinating. I mean, yeah, I know The Louvre in Paris is magnificent, I know The Colosseum in Rome is majestic, I know the Red Light District in Amsterdam in the Netherlands is exciting.. but.. there are so many travel sites that have already covered them. These tourist attractions are things that we are able to see online on a day to day basis.
Highway service areas? I don’t know, I have never read anything about these. So maybe I should talk about these first, and hopefully open the eyes of a few people along the way.
For my fellow Malaysians, I’m sure you have traveled on the PLUS Highway at least once in your life? I’m sure you have stopped at one of those R&R Areas at least once? Do you feel they are nice, clean and interesting? Yes? No?
What if I tell you, if you travel on European highways, when you feel the urge to pee or just to take a break, you drive into a service area and find yourself staring at something like this?
Nice, isn’t it? The service areas in Europe are nice, neat, and most importantly, clean. It feels so different compared to dirty pathways and even dirtier toilets in, say, Tapah R&R or Kawasan Rehat Pagoh, isn’t it?
A small downside is that, in most service areas, the toilets are pay per use. They typically costs €0.50 per person per entry. Expensive, if you convert to ringgit, RM2.50 or something like that, but there’s a plus side. You will get a ticket for using the toilet, and you can use those tickets to get same value discount in the shops in the same service area. We always pool our tickets together to buy a few packets of snacks for free 😀 .
Smaller service areas will have only a single floor. But the bigger ones that I have visited, there are always upper floors. Ground floor for shops and food counters,
upper floor for dining area.
And the food? Oh the food.. Have you ever seen what they sell on the PLUS Highway R&R areas? I don’t know about you, but I certainly won’t be rushing to order those overpriced and low quality food from those food stalls if I can help it.
Now, if you drive in Europe and decide that you are hungry and want to grab a quick bite at a service area, you will be greeted with things like this,
and many other yummy looking food. You will also get fresh meats,
and a handsome bloke to cook your choice of meat for you on the spot.
Okay, with more practice, maybe I can apply for a job as service area chef in Europe!
Don’t you feel these food are more appetizing? I know I do!
I’ll show you some of the food that I personally had in these service areas. Because I was with a tour group, we regularly had our meals at these places when lunch time or dinner time happen when we were still on the road.
Nice? Not so nice? Very nice?
Well, anyway, I hope if you visit Europe and plan to drive instead of taking trains, this post will make you feel happier making that decision.
Before I end this post, I would like to say…
FOR READING! 😀