American Tourists Share Their Most Confusing Moments In Europe (20 Stories)

Americans have taken a lot of hits from non-citizens over the years, and especially over the past four years. And while everything is 100 percent accurate (we may be ridiculous, but we are self-aware, you guys), it’s our turn to have a seat at the roast.

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Redditor Cyber-Gon turned the tables and asked American tourists what their biggest “WTF” moments were when they traveled to Europe.

And let’s just say, Americans did not hold back. The post received 46.7 comments, proving Americans have a lot to say about our pals in Europe.

As you can imagine, a lot of common American stereotypes popped up, including the hilariously small food portions in Europe, compared to America’s head-size portions.

1. Portion Sizes

Portion sizes at restaurants. Went to a nice place in Toulouse, and ordered dinner. I was like where’s the rest of it? She laughed, as she grew up there and in Canada. (I’m from Brooklyn where portions are huge) she calmly told me to eat it and if I was still hungry to order another one.

By the last bite I was stuffed. That was my second WTF moment. When I realized how rich and quality the food was over there.

I should really plan a vacation back there.

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2. Tap Water

Spent a summer in Germany.

They had the cleanest/safest/best tasting tap water, but nobody drank it and they called it toilet water.

Also the older people in village seemed super grumpy and mean and would never smile or respond if you said hello or good morning, BUT if you asked them a substantive question, like how to get to the museum, they would spend 15 minutes telling you the fastest way to get there, the scenic way to get there, everything interesting you should do on the way there, why that museum isn’t actually that good and you should go to this other museum instead, all the different ways to get to the better museum, and where their grandmother used to live before the war.


3. Soccer Fanatics

Going to a soccer game in Italy. When buying a ticket, they needed to know which team I was rooting for to determine where I could sit. Then, during the game, people were setting things on fire.


4. Ancient Ruins

2000 year old Roman columns sitting half sunken in a dudes yard, and he was just mowing around it like it was an old stump.

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5. Cheap Beer

When I visited Prague and water cost two crowns and beer cost one.


6. Long Meals

Every meal in Paris taking 3 hours.

I loved the culture and I’m all about eating a relaxing meal, but sometimes it was just like “wtf” when we were on a schedule and had to meet up with a tour group or had reservations for something.


7. Traffic Laws

I was a military brat living in Belgium when I saw a commercial on AFN (Armed Forces Network) that gave new arrivals to Europe a quick run-down of things. The one thing I learned and that has stuck with me is


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8. No Bugs

For me it was a lack of insects in England. Not that they don’t exist but I’m from Michigan with lots of swampy land around me. When I showed up at my dorm and saw there was no screen on my window I was just thinking about all of the bugs that are gonna get in my room. I got one fly the entire month stay there.


9. Old Cities

In high school so participated in an exchange program, so my parents and I hosted a few German teenagers, and I visited them at one point too. When the first girl visited, my mom and I drove her around our town and pointed out interesting things. At one point my mom pointed to a house and said, “That’s one of the oldest houses on Cape Cod, it was built in 1690!” (I don’t remember the exact date.) And the girl replied, “My town was founded in 400!” (Again, don’t remember the exact date.) She didn’t mean it as a way to one-up us or make us feel bad, but it definitely put something in perspective!


10. Beer Everywhere

Beer tap in the uni cafeteria.

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11. Pay Toilets

Paying to use a public restroom. I get why though. Just a horrible feeling if you really had to go and you don’t have any change.


13. Good Government

In Scotland there was a bomb threat at a local gas station. The news anchor that was covering it interviewed locals about how they felt about this terrifying event. EVERY response fell along the lines of “I don’t know much about that, but I’m sure the government is taking care of it…back to my day,” The faith in the government and not wanting to butt in blew my mind.


14. Empty Streets

I was in Italy and wanted to grab a bite and a beer for some lunch. I left the flat and I was flabbergasted to find the entire town was empty. Everything was closed, not even the neighborhood dogs were around!

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15. Better Healthcare

I was in Spain as an exchange student, I had bronchitis after the flight, my host family took me to the ER which gave me a pill that eliminated the illness entirely under 2 days. I slept, woke up 100% better. It was banned in the USA, I wish I could recall its name.


16. Fit Locals

In Spain, everyone appears to be very thin, yet I swear eats a loaf of bread a day.


17. Cheaper Healthcare

I will never understand Americans being so opposed to universal healthcare. The fact I can pay a few quid a month into the NHS and not worry about choosing between getting food or getting treated for an illness is one of the best things we’ve ever done in the UK.

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18. Real-Life Castles

Went to Ireland for first time about 10 yrs ago. Landed in Shannon. Within minutes of leaving the airport we arrive at Bunratty Castle. Besides the castle there was also an old village showing how people used to live. Getting a personal walking tour when our guide spots 3 Irish Wolfhounds sleeping on the ground. Our guide, who been very scholarly and proper, immediately starts yelling at the animals “Get up, ya lazy f***ers!” The kids and I thought it was funny as there aren’t many museum guides as free to drop the f bomb in the US.


19. Drunks

People walking around drunk and nobody doing anything. Like we’re just going to leave this person black out drunk on the side of the walkway?


20. Nudity On TV

“Nudity in broadcast TV was very surprising. It wasn’t even a “necessary for the story” situation, just a margarine commercial with a naked woman swimming in a lake and stepping out of the water to eat some bread. During primetime. I know American TV is kind of prudish that way, but it was a pretty shocking way to learn how different Germany is.”

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Lead image: Wikimedia Commons