So this is where I gush about how much I love foreign grocery stores. On my latest trip to Europe, the type of shop I spent the most time in by far was grocery stores. In Norway it was out of necessity; $8 for some flatbrød was the best deal we found, and when we got to the camping village where the only restaurant’s cheapest item was $20 soup, it was the flatbrød and cream cheese that we feasted on.
In Britain it was a slightly different story. I love their shops because there are a few areas in which they are light years ahead of North Americans: chocolate bars, chips (crisps), and above all else, dairy. They have the best cream there. The really heavy “pouring” cream that just makes everything spectacular. And better yoghurt too. Ah, how I miss it.
I spent the last night of my trip alone in London and got myself a room at Gatwick in the Yotel. Other than the heat, it was a nice stay. A little cramped, but definitely spacious enough for one person (and I was only in a standard cabin), and the ultimate in convenience. My flight left early in the morning, so I woke up, showered, checked my bag and then went back to my room to get my carry-on bits together.
Staying at the Yotel also allowed me to make one final stop to my beloved Marks & Spencer food shop, which is open 24 hours at Gatwick. My evening meal consisted of a berry smoothie, some strawberry yoghurt (see? DAIRY.), some carrot sticks and hummus in a very convenient little package, and of course a melton mowbray pork pie. I couldn’t leave the continent without eating another one.
I’m not exactly sure why I love foreign grocery shopping so much, although it probably has a lot to do with the fact that grocery shopping is my favourite kind of shopping at home as well. I think it’s also partly that you can tell a lot about people from what they eat, and where better to find out what people are eating on a daily basis?
Also, you can buy alcohol in European grocery stores. I’m not joking: my suitcase on the way home was full of candy and pear cider.