Americans Abroad, Apparently We're Nice

Child on Vacation with Suitcase
photo by Sunny studio – fotolia

I am just back from a fabulous WCCO Radio cruise with some listeners. We spent two days in Prague before getting on the ship in Passau, Germany and cruising the Danube River. We stopped in Vienna, Bratislava, and then spent a few days in Budapest. We hit a few smaller German cities on the way back to Passau before flying home from Munich. It was terrific. This Jew stepped inside more churches this week than she ever had in a lifetime, and they were stunning. I loved the colorful countryside of the Czech Republic and learned the rich history of my grandfathers’ home country of Hungary. We met great people, walked a lot, slept on every bus and ate too much, but it was awesome.

As we spent more time on our ship we got to know the staff. By the end of the trip we were comfortable enough to get the real dirt on travelers from all over the world. The Swedes tend to be the biggest partiers. The wait staff said their all-night dancing kept the chef, whose cabin was directly below the lounge, from catching a wink of sleep. The Germans seemed unimpressed with everything. But the hardest to please proved to be the French. The food and wine were never good enough. The least friendly, according to the staff, were the Chinese. Oh, and they were also the biggest shoppers. One tour guide said he’s only ever seen Chinese tourists go into Louis Vuitton and Chanel stores and actually buy something.

So what were we Americans known for on foreign shores? The happiest. We protested, believing the staff was leading us on. But they were genuine. “Look at you, you’re always smiling.” The waitress actually grabbed one of my tablemate’s cheeks to prove that she was smiling, she was. “I want to come to your country to see what you always have to smile about.” She said, “You Americans are the easiest to please, you don’t complain, you’re good guests.” Really? I thought for sure we spoiled Americans would have the wait staff of the world hating us, but apparently we’re nice.

Jordana Green on Cruise Vacation
photo courtesy of jordana green

It was an incredible experience and wonderful vacation. Thank you cruisers who came with me, and thank you Premier World Discovery tours.

This week, I hope you party like the Swedes, shop like the Chinese and are as happy as an American on vacation.