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Loved Europe, but disliked the cold unfriendly European people

Loved Europe, but disliked the cold unfriendly European people

Oct 17th, 2007, 10:17 AM
  #1  
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Loved Europe, but disliked the cold unfriendly European people

I loved visiting Europe for the first time last month. We went full out and spent over three weeks visiting many of the major cities in Europe in a variety of countries. I visited small towns, rural areas and big European Capitals.

I loved how Europe is so different than America and tried my best to adapt to the ways of the place I am visiting. It is their culture not mine.

Though it is still OK in my opinion to state what disturbed me about the common culture I found to be true in most of Europe. Here are my beefs:

I found most of the people I met to be cold and overly formal. I think no stranger in Europe owes me anything but if they work in retail or hospitality they should make an effort to be a little more pleasant. Even though I was nice to everyone and greeted them with a smile and an attempt in their language, I found almost everyone to be terribly cold, aloof and downright nasty in many cases. The worst was in Spain and France. What is wrong with a little smile between two human beings. Their communication with friends and relatives was so warm, why not with people they did not know?

My other complaint was the food. Sure there are some fine places to eat in Europe if you want to bust your budget, but mid prices establishments were generally terribe. I thought the food was poor and generally tasteless. I got a kick out the pictures of the dishes at each of eating establishments. Most had 20 year old pictures of the food that did not very good. The actual food quality was worse than the pictures.

That is my feedback on Europe.
travelguru1 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Lesson Number One for anyone traveling anywhere: Never, ever eat somewhere where they have pictures of the food.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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travelguru1 - are you a masochist?
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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I think the key phrases you mention is "major cities" and "European Capitals [sic]." People in larger cities tend to be less friendly, whether it's Europe or America. You don't get a lot of smiles in New York City, either. Wouldn't it be a mistake for a European visitor to say Americans aren't friendly based on visits to New York and Boston?

But get out of the major cities in Europe and you will find more friendly people. In Normandy, France, for example, I found the people very friendly. I remember once at a hotel in Caen that the hotel manager spoke not one word of English, but somehow through smiles, hand gestures, and writing numbers on a pad she managed to check me in and explain where to park my car, etc.

I'm in Italy right now, staying in a gateway town to the Cinque Terre called Levanto. The Italians who work at/manage this hotel not only speak excellent English but are also extremely friendly and helpful. But, this is a pretty small town. Still, the people at all the hotels, apartments, and guest houses I've stayed at here have actually been very friendly. By the way, smaller hotels/guest houses seem to have more friendly people than those working at the Hilton or a big hotel.

So, I'd say your experience is probably not typical of most European travelers' to Europe.

And I agree: never eat a place that has pictures of the food. Also avoid places that say "English Menu" if you can as well.

Andrew is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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My experience with Europeans was just the opposite of yours. True, they do tend to be more formal than people in the US, but I have never found them to be cold or rude.

If you ate mainly at restaurants that had pictures of the dishes, then it's no wonder you had crappy food. Do you eat at restaurants in the US (or wherever you are from) that have photos of dishes on the menu? Did you do any research at all before you left on your trip, or did you just walk up to any old place that had a guy in front, touting the place? There are good restaurants and bad in Europe, just like everywhere else, but I found the food in Italy, France and Spain to be uniformly good (not as much in Germany and Austria, where they love their sausages).
cheryllj is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Geez Louise. Have a look at the "friendliest countries" post.
sheila is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Travelguru, did you travel together with Distant_traveler?
valtor is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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valtor.. had been my 1st thought, too

Is anyone taking this posting seriously?
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Since this is travelguru1's very first ever post - me thinks s/he is a Fodorite who registered w/ a new screen name just to post this send up.
janisj is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:27 AM
  #10  
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I would just like to eat at a place in Europe that had the quality/service and prices of an American Chain like Perkins, Cracker Barrel or Ruby Tuesday.
travelguru1 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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You're the billionth American to notice that Europeans are more formal and aloof than we Americans are. I think it's generally true. They, on the other hand, find us to be generally shallow and lacking in manners. Too bad everyone can't be the best of both worlds.

I can tell you, however, you definitely ate in the wrong places.

Cimbrone is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Oops - he just posted a 2nd one.

Interestingly he says he has been to Europe many times and "On my last trip to Europe I paid almost $200 a night for 130 square foot rooms."

But here he is talking about "visiting Europe for the first time last month"

Pants on fire !!!!
janisj is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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"I would just like to eat at a place in Europe that had the quality/service and prices of an American Chain like Perkins, Cracker Barrel or Ruby Tuesday."

Very funny. You are a big joker. hahahahahahah
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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You're going to Europe looking for a place like *Cracker Barrel*?

Okay, now I know this is a joke.
cheryllj is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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The names of the Restaurants I mentioned could change... but after awhile most American in Europe get tired of their poor quality eating establishments and would kill for a good Cracker Barrel meal. Seriously!
travelguru1 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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"Author: janisj
he has been to Europe many times and "On my last trip ...But here he is talking about "visiting Europe for the first time last month""

I asked him/her about that on another thread:

"Author: travelguru1
Date: 10/17/2007, 02:39 pm
During my last trip to Europe was a figure of speech. I have only crossed the pond once."

I didn't realize something like "my last trip" was a "figure of speech."
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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"The names of the Restaurants I mentioned could change... but after awhile most American in Europe get tired of their poor quality eating establishments and would kill for a good Cracker Barrel meal. Seriously!"

SERIOUSLY. You must be kidding. You obviously just stink at picking restaurants.
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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a T-R-O-L-L folks . . . . (probably because IdahoJaane has left the premises and he misses the fun . . . )
janisj is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #19  
LHS
 
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I don't know about Cracker Barrel, but the food pictures in the menus at Perkins and Ruby Tuesdays are very colorful.

Seriously!

LOL (and I'm at work and shouldn't be laughing out loud)
LHS is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Agree that in Europe NEVER EVER eat anyplace that has pictures of the food. This is a sure sign of a tourist trap with high prices and bad food. You need to search out the places the locals eat - often not very far away - and food is universally better - and in some cases (Belgium, Italy except Venice) almost always excellent, even the modestly priced places.

As for not being friendly, it's true that many european cultures are more formal than the US (some think of us as a pack of grinning idiots - with which I at times agree) and you need to understand this and accept it as it's meant.

(I remember my grandmother telling me never to trust someone who smiles all the time - either they're a con artist pulling a scam - or they're the village idiot - since no one is THAT happy constantly.)

You're mistake is in assuming that in all countries family members and close friend are treated the same as customers. This isn't so. And I don;t know why it should be. As long as people aren't rude I don;t think you have a legitimate complaint. But - if this bothers you so much - then stick with countries where people tend to be effusive (Italy?) rather than those where many people are more reserved.
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