The general perception used to be that Europeans were more glamorous and sophisticated than the rest, with culture, class and civility raised high as a shining example for everyone else to follow. But I think that Old World idea is fading as fast as the euro.
As their economies shrink and aristocratic prestige recedes into the past, let me tell you, they're no different to the rest of the world now that they're down in the dumps. Meanwhile, my gal pals and I took advantage of the Mediterranean sun. For years, we've already made Milan, Paris and London a second home during their Fashion Weeks - why not explore the southern part of the continent in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy?
Having been coddled in service-oriented Asian resorts, the laissez-faire indifference of Europe's check-in desks and sales staff is always a bit jarring. Smugness might have been okay when you had empires and colonies, but not so much when we're paying the bills.
My friend Tiffany, who normally never eats anything, for some reason loves hotel buffet breakfasts. Here, she's dour every morning because there's only a piece of pastry and coffee. At least in Spain, we can appease her with some churros and chocolate every morning.
While sightseeing is a treat with all the museums and churches, in the midday sun it's a bit exhausting. Stupidly, we keep forgetting about the Spanish propensity for afternoon siestas. So after a light breakfast, we ended up eating lunch early. Afterwards we're stuck because all the shops and stores are closed. For relief from the heat, we end up in a bar knocking back endless sangrias - but at least the liquid diet worked for Tiffany.
Then comes an even more terrible task - trying to sober up and negotiate the cobblestone streets of these old cities in our newest high heels. Initially, we thought European women were really letting themselves go, then we realised we were the fools. We were tottering around in this season's Jimmy Choos trying to avoid dog poo while the locals padded by smugly in flats.
It was not our finest and most glamorous hour. But hey, bless the Europeans because nobody cared we looked like idiots.