Posted by: hellonhairylegs | November 24, 2009

The Condensed Travel Diaries- Part 2

Day 3- Rome

If you do nothing else, do the Colosseum. It is incredibly impressive, and it is well worth it to research the historical context to get a feel for the place. The Vatican was amazing,but pretty much the definition of overkill. The Pantheon was wonderful on the outside, but the Christianised interior was kind of sad.

Day 4- Florence

I don’t know why people don’t like American tourists. They’re generally friendly and tip well. Me and my Fellow Spawn talked to an American couple on the train, and they were really nice, even if they were Republicans. It seems that American tourists support each other, like helping with directions and taking photos for each other. Doesn’t seem like objectionable behavior…



  1. In my experience (having been an American tourist/student in Ireland) American tourists can be various levels of annoying because they are often loud and like to lecture the people around them with how much they know about the particular bit of local culture they’re currently touring.

    Also, the cultural stereotypes Americans hold about other people tend to come out (loudly) when they drink.

    Frequently, though, there are just one or two of these people in a large group, and the rest of the group is embarrassed.

    This is why we pretend we’re from Canada.

  2. i’m with nia – it’s the noise. also, unrealistic demands as per service.

    but are generally well loved because of how they tip – ridiculously well.

    should be noted the above is a generalisation: frustrations vary from group to group (students are nosier, middle class, middle aged couples have expectations of american services, etc..). also, context to context – the developing world presents its own, unique set of challenges for the American abroad.

    and! the group travel thing. As Nia points out, it only takes one or two in a group to paint the whole group badly. And people seem to love finding people from their country of origin when they travel, American’s being no exception at all to this rule, in fact fovouring it a little more than many other western countries.

  3. LOL. I am still laughing at your “even though they were Republicans” comment.

    I am American and lived in Rome with classmates. Some acted ridiculously stupid. I was more conscious of that. Some people are just so sheltered, they don’t know how to act.

  4. I’m with the two commenters above: North American tourists get annoying if they speak loudly. Also if they seem super-proud of their home country, and mention how X and Y are done better in the States. If – on the other hand – they make a joke poking fun at being American or poking fun at some aspect of their home country – then we’ll instantly like them! It will also help if they compare the tourist country to their home country, making the new country the ‘winner’ in the comparison. I live in New Zealand and (true or not) our stereotype of Americans is that they are overly proud of their country, overly patriotic: they can’t see anything wrong with their country or themselves, and they can’t take a joke aimed at their country. So if this stereotype is broken (eg. crack a joke about being American), then we’ll like you ;

  5. Random two cents: my problem with American tourists is their (our) ignorance more than anything else, especially when such tours don’t teach them anything. There’s a joke: “if you speak one language, you’re trilingual, if you speak two you’re bilingual, and if you speak one you’re American.” We’re a very self-centered country, hardly learning anything about other countries, and our language education still sucks badly. Many (not all!) American tourists I meet belittle the countries they tour, either by actually labeling things “quaint” or “foreign” (wtf?) and thus displaying the inability to think outside the US-box, or because their very ignorance reminds others that we don’t care enough about their countries to teach their history in school.

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