Can You Find the Americans?

I’d like to start off this entry by saying that I’m a proud American.  What you are about to read is very tongue in cheek.  There are many preconceived notions about how Europeans feel about Americans.  In my time living in Europe, I have faced none of them (with the exception of this vacation!).  However, the stereotypes exist and as we’ve traveled for the last week and a half, well, we can actually see why!! 

Our Top 20 List of How Americans Stand out in Europe (in no particular order)

1.  They drive on the pedestrian sidewalk – we did this in Rapallo, Italy looking for our apartment and wedged the car between two motorcycles and a rock wall.
2.  Eating at 5 – Europeans eat much later than we do in the States (in Barcelona restaurants don’t even OPEN til 8:30 at night) but we will admit to eating early a time or two while on vacation
3.  Taking tacky tourist pictures like at the Tower of Pisa, check out Michelle’s Godzilla picture in the Pisa entry.
4.  Not being able to order straight from the menu – no special orders allowed
5.  On that same note, splitting checks at a restaurant (hey they offered!)
6.  Smuggling a pitcher of wine in a glass water bottle – well, the pitcher was half full and they wouldn’t let us take it to go! (and perhaps Michelle was a teeny bit hungover)
7.  Buying wine thru a bank drawer – a shady place in Nice, France
8.  Kelly “Where do we get a good steak”…Night Manager at tacky hotel in Nice, France “Well, McDonalds of course!”…
9.  Speaking loudly which includes also yelling at our children – why is it I never hear Europeans yell at their kids?  Are they that well behaved?
10.  Searching for and then ordering veggies on a menu – wasn’t a common item on the menu in both Northern Italy or Southern France…weird
11.  Tipping – we do it and they don’t…trying to find a happy medium
12.  Busting in at private beaches (even Haley asked what do we do if it’s private and we said we’d bust in)
13.  Not taking no for an answer at restaurants – it wasn’t til after we finally had ordered that we realized that when they told us the restaurant was full, they didn’t just mean outside and so when we plopped ourselves at a table inside they were just “slightly” annoyed with us…though it didn’t bother us enough to leave.
14.  Same restaurant – Not speaking other languages (and Spanish doesn’t count) – owner asked if we spoke anything other than English and I offered up Spanish to which he waved his hand dismissively as though that doesn’t count! All those lessons for nothing!!
15.  When it came to our GPS, it doesn’t matter that we booked it 4 months ago and that our confirmation page lists GUARANTEED.  According to the woman at Sixt, guaranteed doesn’t really mean guaranteed.
16.  Parallel parking a minibus in a mini cooper sized spot (thank you Michelle for your “special” city saavy driving and parking…she also managed to get us towed).
17.  Peeing in rosemary plants (Liam!!!)
18.  Our kids have zero manners – why don’t we ever see misbehaving European kids?
19.  They seat us away from everyone else and yet we still get yelled at AND chide your kids!
20.  Driving anything other than a 4 seater in Europe… as the locals told us as we tried to move between the rock wall and motorcycles “theeesss car is toooo biiiigggg” (while expanding his arms out wide).

Since the list is in no particular order and most definitely not complete (these were off to the top of our heads), please vote for your favorite and feel free to add your own displays of “American-ism”.

Ah the joys of roadtripping in Europe with my fellow American friends (and children)…

Julie

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