THEY say travel broadens the mind, that it’s educational.

Well my recent sojourn in the Spanish sunshine has certainly taught me a thing or two.

The first thing I learned is that people from other countries do not necessarily behave the same way we do.

The second revelation my holiday taught me is I need to start wearing a hat.

Then I came to the conclusion that my faith in low cost, budget airlines is misplaced.

And finally that the German word mannschaft means team (as in football team).

Let me start at the beginning. Generally speaking, I like to think I’m quite European in my outlook and I’m comfortable in the multi-lingual melting pot that is a Spanish beach in the summer.

But as a true Brit I value my personal space – and this applies to the beach.

Let me set the scene. The sun is shining, the Mediterranean Sea is crystal clear and sparkling blue and the sand is soft under your feet.

You make your way down to the beach and start to pick your spot to put down your beach towels and put up your multi-coloured umbrella to provide a little shade for when the sun gets that little bit too hot.

One of the key factors in setting up camp is to make sure you are not impinging on anyone else. There is an imaginary no man’s land that you don’t cross.

I thought this was internationally respected. But apparently not. On more than one occasion this year, some of our European brothers and sisters deemed it appropriate to insert themselves in the smallest of gaps – so close on one occasion the late-comer’s beach towel was actually overlapping on mine.

This was a pattern that repeated itself so often it became a phenomenon, so much so, I actually started to try to work out if there was some kind of national pattern or characteristic I could associate with different nationalities.

By far and away, those most likely to get up close and a bit too personal were the Italians, closely followed by the Spanish.

The French weren’t too bad while the Germans and British were the nationalities most likely to respect your personal space.

I’m sure this says something profound about us and our European cousins but I can’t for the life of me work out what it is.

On to the thorny subject of hat wearing. To be honest, I’ve never been a massive fan of headwear. My late father had a fairly extensive collection of baseball caps which I found to be wholly inappropriate. When he wore one, which he did on a regular basis, it made him look like some king of cross between former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis and a slack-jawed hillbilly from Kentucky.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I’m so opposed to them.

But nature and old age somehow has a way of finding your weak spot – and mine would appear to be on the top of my head.

Now I’ve always thought I had a good head of hair for a man of my age, but it would appear that is a thing of the past and I have been deluding myself.

The stark message was brought painfully home to me on the second day of my holiday when I noticed a sudden burning sensation on the top of my head.

Yes, my once flowing locks are no more and I had sunburned my head. Sic transit gloria mundi.

I would appreciate any suggestions about what sort of headwear would be appropriate for a man of certain age that wouldn’t make me look like I shouldn’t be allowed out without a carer.

Regular readers may recall me extolling the virtues of low cost airlines. Well this holiday provided me with another lesson – don’t tempt fate.

After a couple of lovely weeks in the sun, I arrived at my holiday airport to start the journey home, along with literally hundreds of others returning to various parts of the UK and Ireland.

What a pity those lovely people at Ryanair hadn’t quite factored this into the equation having just five check-in desks (sorry, bag drops) open. And what a pity those nice people at Palma airport didn’t think it would be a good idea to switch on the air conditioning on the hottest day of the year up to that point.

Standing for 90 minutes in sweltering temperatures in a queue that was barely moving was not how I wanted my holiday to end and then to add insult to injury, the flight was delayed.

And finally, thanks to having to watch the World Cup on a German satellite TV channel, I now know that mannschaft means team and, apparently one of the nicknames of the German national team is Die Mannschaft.

You learn something new every day.