Traveling to Europe

Discussion in 'Community' started by Steven1621, May 25, 2005.

  1. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

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    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    So I leave for Europe on Tuesday. I'll be in London and Paris for most of June. I'll be backing around. I'm looking for general advice about traveling in these countries, particularly aspects of the culture that I as an American am not aware of. I'd like to blend in as much as possible and be a generally nice person. Any ideas?
     
  2. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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    Location:
    London
    #2
    Try speaking English (not American ie. quietly :p ) and learning some French. Even basic phrases will help a lot. There are plenty of threads on this
    Try this one and this one . And have fun :D
     
  3. PickledSquirrel macrumors regular

    PickledSquirrel

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    #3
    I've been to paris once, and would like to warn you. A lot of people don't or won't speak any english. It stroke me as very arrogant, but then again, maybe the feeling was mutual:) Learning some french is difinitely a good idea.

    Other than that, be aware that england and great britain are two very different things indeed... -I once called a scotsman english... He did not take it well. At all.

    Oh, and being european, we will hold you personally responsible for foregin policy of your current government :D wear a hardhat and raincoat at any time.

    Just keep your mind open and enjoy. It'll be a blast!

    -Squirrel
     
  4. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #4
    If you make even a modest attemp at french,my experience says most people will help you out,speaking english if they can.The french are very proud of their language and the least a visitor can do is try.
     
  5. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    Yep, the biggest thing to remember though is they have a different sense of customer service than in the US. People aren't going to be asking you how you are and telling you to have a nice day, nor are they as likely to strike up a conversation in the street. That said, you'd do well to seek out those places where college students hang out, you're more likely to meet people that way.

    Don't get all paranoid about being American, nationality isn't as important as humanity. Be nice and don't get upset if not everyone is nice to you. Europe is inundated with tourists, you won't be the first and you definitely won't be the last to visit there.

    Don't let your trip be ruled by guidebooks, They are there to guide, not to induce lemming like behaviour. Make sure that your trip isn't all tourist oriented. Pursue some of the things that you like to do at home.

    Remember, it's supposed to be fun!
     
  6. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    Gah! Plymouth
    #6
    i have been to paris, DO NOT just speak english or you will not get any help anywhere, if you just know the basic phrases and give an attempt at french they will help you. At least that was the case when i went there a few years ago
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    I agree. At least take a phrase book. Do your best and it'll be OK. But don't assume people will speak English in Paris.
     
  8. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #8
    Enjoy yourself!

    Take the opportunity to do everything you can. Don't miss out on going into a good museum because it costs $20. Stick it on a credit card and go in. It will cost you a lot more to come back and go to it later...

    The London Dungeon and Madame Tussaud's/Planetarium are rip-offs and pretty pointless. I'd pass em by. The Museum of London (near the Barbican) is amazing, and oft forgotten in guidebooks.

    Try to go down to Borough Market on a Saturday morning; it's all food and there are opportunities for great, cheap lunches on the go and people watching. Also, stop in at the National Festival Hall at lunchtime one day - they have a free concert there every day that's usually quite good. There's a bar there too so it's a nice place to chill out (and again, not always known about)

    Don't make eye contact with anyone carrying a clipboard...
     
  9. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    #9
    We were in a gift shop of some kind in London and not only did they not offer to wait on us (as would typically happen in an American store) but when closing time came and we were still shopping, the shopkeepers basically shooed us out of the store. :rolleyes:

    We were a little offended until our hosts later explained that that's just the way it is in England (and perhaps elsewhere in Europe).
     
  10. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
    #10
    yeah like no one in paris speaks english especially in places like the train station :p
     
  11. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    Location:
    NY
    #11
    Dont do the London eye, its a waste of time. Other then that have fun and keep an open mind and take lots of pictures!
     
  12. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #12
    On the other side of the pond, I was in a gift shop in the middle of Boston where the owner had nipped to the bank and left a cop to watch the store. He discovered I was Scottish and suddenly left the shop too. One of my friends came and asked why I was taking so long. 'I'm looking after the store,' I replied.
    The policeman had gone to get another shopkeeper who'd just come back from a trip to Scotland. Bizarre!
     
  13. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #13
    That is funny. And don't get me wrong, we loved our visit to London. Just a heads-up to Steven that there are indeed some cultural differences to be aware of. ;)
     
  14. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #14
    Now I'd have said 'do the London Eye' since I'd guess it would get many Londoners' vote for their favourite tourist attraction. I've enjoyed the Eye when I've been on it - but out-of-town friends have enjoyed it more when someone is there who knows what they're looking at... If you're not sure what's what, it can just look like a mass of roofs.

    I guess if you're the kind of person who'd go up the Sears Tower, Space Needle, CN Tower, go on the Eye. If you don't like seeing cities from above, miss it out.
     
  15. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    #15
    Yea cause when i went on it it just looked like buildings , but if you go with someone or they had a map or some sort i prob would have liked it better
     
  16. geese macrumors 6502a

    geese

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    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #16
    Borough market is fantastic- I spend many a Saturday there (thats the day to go on). I recommend the Venison burger stands. Yum Yum Yum.

    Also, Spitalfields market on a Sunday (nr Liverpool Street) is good for records, clothes, art and general wackiness.

    Make sure you walk along bankside, and goto the Tate Modern.

    Night out? Soho or Hoxton.

    How are you going to Paris? I recommend using the Eurostar- its a great way of seeing rural britian/france. And goto the Pompidou centre.
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    You really think its arrogant to go into a country and believe that people should adopt to you?

    Make an effort to speak french. Most of the time I was in Paris, they spoke English to me once I started to speak very poor french. They just want to get a good laugh. :p

    Go into a store and say: "Bonjour, je voudrais....." and some people will shake their head and say, "no no no, speak english." They won't be smiling at all though, but that's just the way customer service is over there.

    Personally, I like the service over there more. I don't walk into a store hoping someone would help me. I HATE being bothered in a store. I'd rather approach someone to help me when I need it. Also, the fake smiles in North America get old. Its like laugh-track on American sit-coms. At least over there, they're "keeping it real." :D
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    Spitalfields is also great for food. Seriously, don't go to Spitalfields after lunch. Go there FOR lunch.

    And there's a street market beside it. Forget the name, but its quite big.
     
  19. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Washington, DC
    #19
    Go east!! Money goes farther. There are fewer Americans and less animosity towards them. The Baltics and Poland are wonderful. Slovenia is an amazing little country.
     
  20. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    Location:
    NYC
    #20
    There's a bunch of good posts in this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=104026 and there are several threads linked that have more threads linked through them....there's a wealth of info about European travel on these here boards :p.

    My basic suggestion:
    A balance between pure tourist places (Eiffel Tower etc.) and simply wandering small streets in the cities and small towns at night is necessary to really appreciate the place you are visiting...but keep in mind that the point is to have fun! :) Do what excites you!
     
  21. PickledSquirrel macrumors regular

    PickledSquirrel

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    Dec 10, 2003
    Location:
    Aarhus, DK
    #21
    Right:) I can see that didn't come across the way I ment it.... My problem was, that people wouldn't try to communicate with me AT ALL in other languages than french. I was simply ignored when trying to make contact in english/danish/german/italian/sign language/phrasebook french/making little drawings on pieces of paper. Also, a lot of museums and other (tourist)attractions have no signs in other languages than french. That was what I found arrogant. It was ten years ago. Things may have changed.

    And no, I don't expect people to adopt to me:) But I do hope for them to be helpful, openminded and with a sense of humour. (another good reason to hang out at MR:d)

    -squirrel
     
  22. fox2005 macrumors member

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    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    Lima, Peru
    #22
    totally true, if you speak just english they will ignore you at the best... what i found was also a quick fix to that was TIPING... it made a great difference in france, gave the taxi driver a tip and he forgot his anger, my father made an experiment with that, we are from south america but used english mainly... :p
     
  23. fox2005 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    Lima, Peru
    #23
    Never heard of American hospitality either...

    last time i was in Miami i have had hepatitis A 2 months ago so i was on a CERO alcohol diet for 1 year. So i went to a club with my girlfriend and another friend and the place was packed. I had to insist the waitress like 4 times and then go myself to the bar to serve myself. When i was ordering the waitress came and took my order, i asked 3 times and very slowly a coke with NO alcohol, just plain coke. She handed me my coke and when i was drinking it i sensed the alcohol flavor, i just spit it up, it was like drinking venom. She had already charged me for the drink. So i told her the problem and she didnt care, changed my drink and then examined throughly the recipit that i handed her with cero tip. She almost punched me and told me in very rough manner that the next time i sall not waste her time... american hospitality i say... no offense intended... :D
     
  24. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

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    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #24
    Thanks for the help everyone. I really appreciate it.

    Being from Connecticut, I spend a lot of time in New York City, and I would have to think that the true New Yorker can give the French a run for their money in terms of hospitality, or lack thereof.
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    I hate it when you go into any big city, even to places like London or Sydney or whatever, and they just pretend not to understand me. I'm chinese, but I was born and raised in Canada, and they seem to understand other people with an "American" accent just fine. People also assume that I'm from China, and they seem to get closer to me and stick their ear out, trying to concentrate on what I'm saying. But once I tell them that I'm from Canada, they stop putting in so much effort to listen, as if everything I said suddenly became much easier to understand. :rolleyes:
     

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