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Window screens and feather tick bedcovers

Just returning from two weeks in and about central Germany, I'm still amazed at two puzzles that appear in many places in Europe, going back at least 45+ years in my experience: in the middle of summer, why the bed coverings are the heaviest ever feather ticks, absent any simple top sheets...also in the middle of summer, it's very apparent that windows don't have screens, but rooms may be supplied with ant traps and/or plug-ins to deter mosquitos. I end up using the largest towel supplied as my sometimes-needed "top sheet" but generally forget to pack bug spray. Has anyone else wondered about these puzzling cultural practics?

Posted by
619 posts

I cannot speak for Germany, but living in the south-west of England I can say that flying insects are not a significant problem, and certainly not serious enough to warrant partially blocking the view from the window, and diminishing the sunlight during the day. Different countries have different priorities and different social customs.

As for heavier weight duvets, which I assums you are referring to, domestically we have winter and summer weight duvets, and change with the seasons. That may not be the practice in a hotel or other accommodation.

Posted by
2609 posts

I’ve been traveling to Europe for the past 25+ years and I don’t think I’ve ever slept in a room with a screen. Bugs just aren’t the same problem that they are over here.

With regards to a comforter, again, I don’t ever remember a heavy comforter or one that was discomforting to me. But then again, I don’t travel in the middle of summer. I’m usually there in April and May or September and October. That makes a big difference.

Posted by
198 posts

I don’t know what your hotel bed coverings were like, but here in my home (Switzerland) if it gets too hot for my summer duvet, I take it out of the cover (basically like a giant pillow case) and just use the cover the same way that I would a simple sheet in North America.

We don’t have any screens in our apartment, the entire glass of every window and door opens up wide, and for some of windows we need to be able to reach out and close the shutters. Neither lends itself to screens very well. If things get really bad we sleep with a mosquito net over the bed.

Posted by
105 posts

I’ve travelled all over Europe and have visited the USA often. The only country I’ve been in that still uses sheets and blankets, and the only country with screens on the windows, is the USA. Anyone else wonder about these puzzling cultural practices? 😀

Posted by
1762 posts

Couplea years back, late October, unseasonably warm, the hotel in Bergamo could've used screens - we we're getting eaten alive.

Posted by
14530 posts

We've mostly not had screens either but I was severely bitten during the night in our Florence hotel room so there are definitely flying pests in some places!

Posted by
8438 posts

I am still puzzled that the US is still using those old-fashioned flat sheets and old fuzzy blankets, plus bed spreads and 10 pillows as decoration in my hotel room. Does any other country use those flat sheets tucked in? Makes me think of Basic Training all over again.

Every night, take everything off the bed, pull the sheet out from where it is tucked in and then wonder if those blankets are ever washed. Why can't they use duvets and duvet covers, one for each person? Light ones for the summer and heavy ones for winter?

Posted by
4902 posts

I too am puzzled by the continued use of blankets in the U.S., although most of the major chain hotels have eliminated the use of blankets and bedspreads and switched to duvets. I’ve used a duvet for years, although I also use a top sheet (not tucked in tight like the military). I do wish European hotels would supply a top sheet in summer as even lightweight duvets can be too warm when it is 30+ C outside.

In the U.S., I don’t think window screens are a cultural practice; they are a neccessity in most places. If a European spent a summer in hot and humid D.C., they wouldn’t question the need. I lived in London and Stockholm and both flats had windows without screens. I didn’t have a problem with bugs in either place.In some of the older buildings in Europe, it would be hard to retrofit for screens even of you wanted them.

Posted by
29662 posts

my house has three duvets - the old one in a drawer never used but could be put on a guest bed, a winter duvet with lots of TOGs, also stored away, and a summer duvet which has many fewer TOGs which is in use daily, year round. This house is so well insulated that when the heat goes off around 9pm in winter or earlier, we never need anything more even in winter. We did drag out the winter one for The Beast From The East storm a few years ago but only for a week or less...

The two good duvets also can zip together and add the TOGs together, but we don't live at the north pole nor have an old house with single paned windows and solid fuel.

Never needed screens. I followed a TV ad one year and bought some which go up with velcro tape because I thought I was getting tired of an occasional moth at sunset getting in or a few flies (no mosquitos or midges where we live in the East) but never actually took them out of the box. I'd rather free flowing air and being able to have the door and windows open and the French Windows.

Posted by
111 posts

On our RS Best of Europe tour, there were a couple of hotels without a/c so we had to have some windows open. It was during a June heat wave. I don’t remember being overly bothered by bugs, and none of the windows had screens. So I would say screens wouldn’t have been necessary where we were.
I was wishing for a regular American flat top sheet though. I found the duvets too warm, even in the places with a/c. Admittedly, European a/c isn’t as chilly as what you normally expect in the US. After the trip, I heard a suggestion that it could help to take a lightweight hostel sheet if one found the European duvets too warm. I might consider that in the future, but not sure I’m willing to give up the extra space in my carry-on only packing scheme, LOL. Probably better to just acclimate to the European way of doing things:)

Posted by
8438 posts

Folks, just ask housekeeping at the hotel for an extra duvet cover, which you can use as a sheet. That is what we do when it gets hot here. Sleep with the cover, not the duvet.