In the very early days of our tour company, a group once made a theme of mimicking me for saying “This is reeeeely great” (like the fat dork in Animal House) every time I’d park the 9-seater mini-bus at a new sight. I guess twenty years of trying to make people happy on your tours turns you into an almost annoyingly positive cheer leader for happy travels.
While a key to happy travels certainly is a positive attitude, I do have my pet peeves while traveling in Europe. Just between you and me, here are a few things that I don’t find reeeely great:
Museums that show photocopies of documents and photos giving you the sensation of reading a book standing up while walking from page to page (as I just tried to enjoy in a Mozart museum in Salzburg today).
Americans who talk twice as loud as anyone else in a restaurant or public place in Europe and carry on oblivious to the peace they are destroying.
Concerts that charge $50 for a seat and then $2 for a program so you know who and what you’re listening to.
Americans who complain about heat and no air-con (when Europeans believe the typical person from our southwest consumes more energy to stay cool in the summer than arctic Norwegians do to get warm in the winter).
Museums that post “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” signs in English, but provide no English descriptions of their exhibits (when half their paying public speaks English either as a first or second language and doesn’t understand the displays).
Hotels that serve orange drink rather than orange juice and skimp on light bulb wattage to save a few bucks.
Over-earnest British people (especially on British Air) apologizing for something more than once and saying mind your head every time you near a low doorway.
People at security and check-in lines who recognize me from my guidebooks and TV show…and then say, “Can I see your ID?”
Seeing twice as many than necessary highly-trained TSA professionals (2) guarding each exit corridor at US airports.
People who tell me “I love your show on the Travel Channel.”
Sweating all night in hotels that put rubber mats under the sheets to protect mattresses from getting stained.
The rumble of a herd of rolling suitcases crossing a tranquil cobbled village in the evening.
Getting one meal ahead of my needs when surrounded by a cruel abundance of fine food and not being hungry for days.
Sandwiches at places like airport and train station kiosks that are deceptively packed with lots of good stuff spilling over the bread crusts and almost nothing inside.
So there…I just had to get that off my chest.