My wife and are are considering a european river cruise in 2005 (Germany, Austria, Italy, Netherlands are possibilities). I'm wondering how recent world events are currently affecting the attitude of europeans towards U.S. tourists and would appreciate
any comments or help you could give us.
good question considering what is going on in the world these days...I happen to be in Istanbul Turkey when 911 happened and we were treated very very well but I think alot of it has to do with respecting the country and culture that you are visiting..for instance I never wear teeshirts with "over the top" slogans or sayings when I am out of the country
I think people understand and can separate Americans from their politics when we are visiting in their countries as long as we respect their customs and norms and express a genuine interest in learning about their country.
that's why it is important that America lead the way in providing disaster relief today and it should be a heck of alot more than the 350M. The world is watching how we react and open our hearts
Quite simply, as a traveler anywhere from any country, you pretty much get what you give. And it's true that the people in the countries you will visit are generally very good at separating their feelings about our government from their feelings about us individually. You will find the Dutch to be some of the lovliest people on earth. They are gentle, understated and very kind. In Italy, there's no problem in the world that doesn't disappear in the face of food and wine. It's a cliche, but it's true. And while the Germans and Austrians may seem "hard," as a rule they absolutely love to laugh, and laugh heartily.
The important thing is to be yourself, avoid the Ugly American syndrome, and enjoy the trip. Of course, as Venice says, virtually every American was treated well overseas in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. It's what's happened since that has caused great consternation among many in Europe about our government's judgment and what others consider a cavalier "cowboy" isolationist attitude on the part of our leaders. You may be asked about this, more out of curiosity than disrespect. It wouldn't hurt to have a personal answer prepared and ready, whether you agree or disagree with what the government is doing. Whichever side you're on, you should express your views simply, calmly and rationally, and in a way that will not provoke an argument. It's not a time to go on a crusade, but there's no need to sell out your personal beliefs either.
But on a river cruise you'll be somewhat isolated from the locals for the most part anyway (one of the few disadvantages to cruising), so chances are you'll simply have a wonderful time, not be hassled by anybody, and come back with great memories.
Under no circumstances should you let this issue worry you or make you have second thoughts about going.
You are very right. I am English and travel to the US alot both on busiess and for holidays.
I believe the majority of Europeans are more than happy to have U.S. citizens travel over and learn and appreciate our very many different cultures. The main thing is that they respect the way we live as they expect us to respect their cultures when we travel to the US.
As regards the most recent terrible disaster I would delicately ask any US citizens when travelling within Europe, moreover North European countries, to be very discreet about the Tsunami disaster. To the rest of the world, this is the real disaster and far outweights the awful 9/11 tragedy.
Tens of thousands more people have suffered, not only losing their lives, loved ones, homes, income, but everything they posess and believe in.
Sometimes, in the kindest way possible, too many Americans seem to believe that the 9/11 tragedy has only ever been the worst disaster known to man and here in Europe, we know very differently to that.
What happened on 9/11 was terrible but it was manmade - this true disaster is nature's way of warning us that we are all humble and to treat nature with respect, thereby also reminding us all as humans, wherever we live, that we must treat the Earth with the respect it deserves and think carefully about global warming and all the other natural problems that that brings in its path.
9/11 was a wake up call for Americans. This disaster is a wake up call for the whole of humanity.
Enjoy Europe - I am sure you will have a great trip - may obviously find it a bit expensive at the present time with the $ being weak and your food portions will be alot smaller than maybe those you are used to.
you might also consider the reverse situation..many tourist from other countries visit our country and how we treat them can go a long way in how Americans are treated when we go abroad...because of the educational system, in many countries English is a second or third language so tourist coming here more often than not, have a reasonable command of English which I'm sure helps them navigate thru our country...I suspect a very small % of Americans have reasonable command of other languages (however modern technology has helped alot in this area)
I live in New Orleans and when I go abroad and people ask me where I'm from I always receive a warm response from our host nation because they have been to New Orleans and loved it or they have heard about the city and want to come visit..If they have visited New Orleans, they want to return the warm hospitality in their country.
So the rule of thumb, if you see a foreign tourist in your city, go out of your way to be nice to them, you never know when you will be visiting their country
AR wrote :
You will find the Dutch to be some of the lovliest people on earth. They are gentle, understated and very kind.
Yesterday there was an item on the news here in The Netherlands where America's Fox TV made a documentary about some hospital here in the city called Groningen.
They were telling that it seems to be usual to "kill" a kid when he/she's got 3 or 4 fingers or any other cases which should be different.
This is definately not true and totally blown up as something like this has happened only three times in history and those kids weren't able to recover from their injuries birth gave them.
Well, back to cruising
You shouldn't worry about you as being an American that you will be treated different then other persons.
Of course there's allways people who are different then others, but most people in The Netherlands, and I would say in Europe, or even in the World are normal persons who show respect to anyone else in the World, we're all equal.
When you walk on the streets in Europe and people notice you talking English (with an American accent) there's no one who comes to you and start swearing at you or things like that.
You can do whatever you want in Europe without feeling unsafe about what your government does to the World.
I for myself have booked a cruise on the Caribbean Princess in March 2005.
Well, imagine what will happen when I would meet you during my stay in the US.
Would you consider me as a nice tourist from The Netherlands, or would you consider me as a "kid-killer" according to the documentary on the news ?
I guess you would consider me as a Dutch tourist, and people in Europe would do the same to you otherwise.
Hopes this helps you a bit making your decision.
Sailed on :
La Palma, Amerikanis, Southern Cross, Azur (2),
Bolero, Calypso (2), Carnival Victory
I think recent history has created more of barrier than others have posted. While the traditional stance has been for Europeans to maintain their manners and remain polite when dealing with "difficult" American visitors, and always made a distinction between the US government and average citizens. Now there is less distinction made and Europeans are quite bewildered by seeming nice friendly folks could be so supportive of unfriendly policies.
My advice is to NOT try to explain your position is someone asks, but to politely demure and without giving detailed arguments. There is a large gap in world view now between Americans and most of Western and Eastern Europe so explanations might reveal a real communications problem. Instead divert the conversation to how much you appreciate being in their country and related how well you were treated....because it is true, you wll be treated very well if you show respect to your host culture. The opinions expressed in the west about France and Germany has real stung some egos and feelings. I moved from San Francisco( a great city) to St Petersburg Russia (a REALLY great city)19 months ago and after many many visit before the move I noticed a dramatic difference in the benefit of the doubt being granted until they determined I was not going to be critical or arrogant and they lowered their guard like always before these problems in US image and respect.
Now more than ever it wiould be helpful to consider that you are a respresentitive of your country and people so showing respect is even more important now; wear clothing that shows respect(no ball caps, bright T-shirt with logos and text, speak only loud enough to be heard in close proximity, and refrain from complaining about thans that might seem like a problem but is due to your not understanding of how things are done in your host country. A few common sense suggestions that will go a long way to making a good impression. Dressing nicer than is the norm in the US will not only make your host more comfortable but make yourselves feel as if it is a special occassion....it is:>)
Have a great trip