13 Americans Reveal Their Most ‘WTF’ Moments From When They Visited Europe
Culture shock is a real thing. If you have ever visited another country, you know that not everyone does things the way we do in the United States. Sometimes the difference in cultures is a refreshing change. Other times, it’s a little bit confusing.
We’re sure travelers might find some American customs odd, and that’s okay, because sometimes Americans find the customs in other countries odd too.
Reddit user Cyber-Gon asked, “Americans who visited Europe, what was your biggest WTF moment?” The answers are eye-opening, and if you have ever visited Europe, you will probably relate to a few of them.
Reddit user efshoemaker wrote:
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.
A Rainy Day in Rome
One time in Rome, it started pouring. As I sought shelter, I saw an older man selling one single umbrella. Strange as it was, I needed that umbrella, so I haggled with him and settled on 3 Euro (he had the upper hand in that transaction).I wander over to a coffee shop to dry out for a little bit. When I go to leave, the umbrella is no longer in the bucket by the door. Upset at myself for being so trusting, I head into the rain again. Guess who I see? The same old man selling the same umbrella. I try to confront him about stealing back my umbrella, but he claims not to remember our interaction at all. It’s pouring and I have a number of miles to walk, so I go through the same charade with him again to re-procure the umbrella. At least this time he took 2 Euro…
Soccer in Italy
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.
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.
We were driving through Spain, and to the side of one of the roads, we noticed these MASSIVE bird nests in the high power electrical towers. They were at least twice the size of eagles nests that I had seen. And there were so many of them!Then we saw these giant birds in them! We stopped by the side of the road and tried to take some pictures (didn’t have a great zoom lens, sadly). But no one else was stopping. It was so odd. We are accustomed to at least a few people stopping to watch the osprey, eagles, or other birds where I’m from. So a few days later, we are chatting with a German tourist, and we bring up the birds… I think she thought we were joking until we pulled out the pictures. Then she started laughing. Storks. Those are storks. Of course, don’t you know that? They are everywhere and such a nuisance. Don’t you have storks in America? Well…no? Then she looked confused. Well, if you don’t have storks, who brings the babies in kids stories? Storks. Um…how does that work? And that was when we realized that the story of the storks makes a whole lot more sense when storks are nesting on every chimney, tree, or tall place….
Dining in Paris
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.
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 isNO RIGHT TURN ON RED
Few Bugs in England
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.
It was subtle at first, but it eventually boggled my mind how old everything was and it was still integrated into everyday life. Like in the UK, drinking in pub that had been in the same spot since the 11th Century, or eating dinner at restaurant in an 18th cathedral. Or in Prague going to club in a 14th Century stone cellar or staying a hotel/brewery that had be operating since the 15th Century.The oldest building in my vicinity is from the 1750s (which is prehistoric by US standards), but, like, someone in Europe sees a building that is half a millenia old that no one is using and they’re like, “Let’s turn this into a disco.” I loved it.
I lived in Germany for 8 years from 1992-2000 (Ages 4-12). I didn’t realize it until I moved back to the states but there were recycling bins on EVERY street corner. It wasn’t just a green bin then a trash can, it was a giant blue bin. One section for green glass, one for brown glass, one for clear glass, one for plastic, and one for paper.Oh and going to a German school, students took public transit. There wasn’t such a thing as a school bus.
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.
In Spain, everyone appears to be very thin, yet I swear eats a loaf of bread a day.
When I️ visited the hospital and had X-rays done, spoke with two doctors and was triaged by a nurse, all with no health insurance, and my total bill was 24euros. Then I️ had to pay 10 additional euros for some painkillers, again with no insurance or anything.