Archive: Anti-Americanism: Reports from Recent Travelers, July 2003
In the wake of the disagreement between some European countries and the US over the war in Iraq, the media has led many Americans to believe they will be treated with hostility when traveling. If you are in Europe now or have recently returned, how were you treated?
Here's what you thought in July 2003:
We encountered some Anti-Americanism in Normandy, of all places, albeit by a drunk at a bar who repeatedly commented on how loud and obnoxious American tourists were. Immediately after this comment, he ripped open his shirt to expose his pasty white chest and proclaimed (in English), "So if you want the sex, come to Freddy!" so you have to consider the source. We recently detoured through France on a trip to Holland and found the French to be pleasant enough.
Portland, OR USA 07/31/03
My husband, my neice, and I were is Paris for ten days in March, and the Gulf War II broke out while we were there. We encountered absolutely no anti-Americanism, and the only hints of a war was an Iraqi-led protest (and media ploy initiated by the Iraqis) on the Place de Concorde. My French is pretty good, and I heard virtually no discussions by the locals regarding the war. The French were simply wonderful!!
Lakewood, CO USA 07/31/03
Despite being in Turkey when US forces detained some Turkish troops,
there was no animosity towards me. Twelve countries in six weeks, and no
(On the Road) Wien, 07/30/03
Italians were overwhelmingly polite and patient; we experienced no rude treatment despite the many Peace flags hanging outside windows.
Manhattan, Kansas USA 07/30/03
No Antiamericanism in our experience
My family just returned from a week in London and a week in Paris. We experienced absolutely no antiamericanism directed specifically at us. However,in London, all the media was clearly against America and Tony Blair for that matter. Surprisingly, in Paris, everyone we encountered could not have been nicer or more friendly. Even the cab driver from the train station to our hotel was nice. A hotel employee we spoke to frequently said that in France, people separate politics from day to day life. That seemed to be true for us. He was more concerned that he would experince angry Americans on a trip he had planned to the States.
Alpharetta, GA USA 07/29/03
We just returned from a month in UK, France and Italy. Generally people were wonderful. Someone else here made a comment about the French being more reserved than we are and that can be a little hard until you realize what its about and relax.
Tacoma, wa USA 07/28/03
I am delighted that most posters have been treated politely - sincerely. I reside in Europe and would say that when 4.5 million people march the European streets on one day, something is annoying them. The reason that so many of you have not experienced anti-Americanism is that Europeans are anti-Bush and anti-neo conservatives. You have a lovely country and your people are sensitive and caring in general. But your president has got right up the average European nose. The reason that I still see anti-war flags hanging from windows in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, etc., is that they are still irked. But not at you.
I do disagree with one post about the media,
and here I refer to TV. TV5, Ned1, BBC World, all are reasonably balanced.
Believe me that I have seen lots of US TV - both national and regional.
It just does not cut the international mustard. When your President was
in Liberia and said (July 14th) that the war was not about uranium from
Niger but because Sadam would not allow entry to his country by UN inspectors,
the Washington Post (qv) was the only big daily to carry this huge blunder
(see white House web site). I checked CNN, Fox, ABC and MSNBC - nothing.
Here at least Ned1 and Bel1 carried comments but did not gloat. Something
gives rise to these cultural differences and I suspect that the media plays
a big role.
The Hague, N/A Neth. 07/28/03
There is absolutely no Anti-Americanism feeling in France! I spent 25 wonderful days in Paris, Loire Valley and Burgundy this summer and the French people were just great, especially when you're polite in addressing them. One taxi driver had an American Teddy bear in his car, a souvenir from NY last summer; he told us how much he appreciates the Americans for everything they did for them, especially during WW II. Although he is a younger man, for the past 10 years he has participated in the D-Day celebrations in Normandy.
Another incident this past summer was an unexpected visit to an eye specialist for one of my co-travellers; she had cornea problems, and the French doctor arranged to see her the next morning before her other patients, arranged for an urgent laser surgery that PM, plus she went out of her way to drive us to the restarurant were the rest of our group was having diner. Not only was she a capable doctor, she was extremely friendly, talked to us about her family and how much she enjoyed USA when she was there on vacation. By the way, the entire office visit and surgery cost us just 260 Euros.
Just because the decisions are made from the White House or the Elysées
Palace, it does not mean that the people agree 100% with those decisions.
It's too bad that our politicians and others in the media show so much immaturity
by bringing old stereotypes; it only shows their own ignorance and lack
of understanding of other cultures. I'm glad to say that our group had nothing
but good experiece in France this summer. I've been back to France about
every two years since 1984 and have no trepidations about the French people.
Cleveland, OH USA 07/27/03
Anti-Americanism in Europe
My family and I just returned from a month-long trip which covered England, France Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Monaco, Lichtenstein (July 2003). We experienced NO anti-Americanism whatsoever. We saw a handful of anti-Bush signs. The biggest thing we noticed were the numerous Peace flags hanging in every country from windows and balconies. We were in Switzerland on the Fourth of July and two different people, realizing we were Americans, wished us a Happy Independence Day. We enjoyed watching fireworks with the French people on the beach in Nice on Bastille Day! In Lichtenstein, my two boys (ages 13, 16) came across a life-sized outdoor chess board and were engaged in a game when a German-speaking man came up to them and got involved also. They all found a way to communicate. At the end of the game, I made sure that my son went up to the gentleman, said "Danke" and shook his hand. Travelers build bridges if they only take the time. Every major city we were in, local guides were bemnoaning the decline in tourism, both from Americans and Asians (SARS).
Williamsville, NY USA 07/26/03
Courteous Germany, Austria, Switzerland
My husband and I travelled to Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the end of May and spent two wonderful weeks. We were treated with utmost kindness and courtesy in every city. We ran into quite a few Rick Steves travelers who had similar experiences and had no negative treatment from anyone. If you are worried about the treatment of Americans in Europe, please don't be ~ go and have a wonderful time!
Sacramento, CA USA 07/26/03
After spending 3 1/2 weeks in Italy and France this past May and June, I wanted to say that I witnessed no anti-americanism other than a few Bush bashing signs as well as graffiti in Italy. In fact, in Arles, France, a woman in a shop found out we were American and said she was worried that we would be mad at them.
I feel that some travellers go to France a bit defensive and may be a little overly sensitive and the slightest thing tips them over. If you take a little time to find out about the different culture and realize that the French are more reserved than Americans then it's no big deal. Just watch them interact with each other and see that it's nothing personal because we are Americans. If you look at it that way, then hopefully the next time you encounter something that may seem "rude" just may be a cultural difference. Don't sweat the small stuff. Just think about people visiting the US. While we may be more outgoing than the French it doesn't necessarily mean we're nicer...just different.
During our trip we visited one of my favorite places in Italy, Vernazza.
I was very disappointed in many Americans and the way they acted. There
happened to be a wedding in the main piazza off the beach area. The wedding
party was from the US. While it seemed that the locas weren't too bothered
by the intrusion, I must say that I wasn't very proud of many of the Americans
that I saw, whether they were with the wedding party or not. I realize we
are all tourists and trying to get the most out of our visits, which is
fine. However, can you do a little more quietly? It is a beautiful place
and I love it dearly and don't want "loud, obnoxious" Americans to ruin
it for the rest of us. Thank you.
Camano Island, WA USA 07/25/03
UK travels and anti americanism
Just got back from 3 weeks in UK and Paris. There was no evidence of anti-Americanism in the UK, in fact just the opposite. People bent over backwards to help me! The anger and resentment seems to be fabricated by the European media, just the same as it is in the US. In Paris, response was mixed. Due to last minute work, our Eurostar return ticket was cancelled and we were forced to fly back. The Charles de Gaulle airport looks like a scene from a 3rd world country. Avoid it at all costs. Be nice, be polite and it will be reciprocated. Thanks.
Marietta, GA USA 07/25/03
A friend and I just recently completed a 14 day tour of Southern Italy
and Sicily. We did not speak the language but this did not stop us from
meeting some of the friendliest people. Most of the people we met, once
they found out we were from the US, were interested in what part of
the States we were from. We even received invitations from some to have dinner
in their homes. This vacation was the best we have ever taken and most of
what made it the best was the hospitality we encountered. Plans are already
in the making for another European vacation.
silver spring, md. USA 07/24/03
7 countries, no problems
We spent 16 days traveling Europe, in June and July, through England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, and Germany. The only "protests" we saw were in London, around Parliament, against PM Blair and Pres. Bush, but not against Americans in general. (Loved the sign "Mad Cowboy Disease") Absolutely no problems with anyone on the trip by being American.
OH USA 07/23/03
My wife and I just returned from 20 days in Germany. Not once did we
feel that we were in any danger or did we see any outward resentment that
we were Americans. We were treated as anyone else and had a great time.
The majority of the people are concerned with the everyday matters and not
whether you are an American or not.
Waldo, OH USA 07/23/03
I was in France in the mid-June for 2 weeks and had an absolutely wonderful
time! I didn't encounter any anti-Americanism, most people were incredibly
polite. I always made sure to speak as much French as I could and if I didn't
understand something I then told them "Je ne parle pas beaucoup fracais" (I don't speak much French) and then usually they would start speaking in
English or working with me until I got what I wanted.
FL USA 07/21/03
It's Media Hype — Europeans are Great
See other posting for France. As for the other countries (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, England), my husband and I were treated with respect and friendliness everywhere we went. We had a gentleman in Austria pick us up in his car and take us to our hotel because our map was 8 miles off. We had a waiter in Germany in a hotel where we weren't even staying call and get us train reservations at 11pm at night, we had B&B hosts concerned about value for money and time spent at each site. We had restaurant owners come out and chat with us, from whom we learned a lot about the area. Most of the natives we met were pleased that my husband and I were willing to adjust to local customs (within reason) and be polite at all times. The only time I felt as though I was being belittled was in France; the rest of the time, people were outstanding.
Kansas City, KS USA 07/21/03
My 17 year old daughter and I recently returned from a 4 week trek from Amsterdam through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland to Paris and London. We were treated wonderfully everywhere we went. We made it a point to be pleasant to people and they were nice back. We didn't speak any of the languages and many, many Europeans helped us along our way, even going out of the way to tell us this was our train stop, which direction we should head from there, etc. Yes, there was a grouchy person or two along the way but there are those people everywhere and I never felt it was because we were Americans. They were just having a bad day. Overall, we had a fantastic, positive experience and encourage anyone who is considering traveling to Europe to GO FOR IT!
Anchorage, AK USA 07/19/03
We've hosted European exchange students for entire school years in our home. I've always felt that people take the "they must be anti-(fill in the blank)" stance when they're the most scared. The students we hosted had the reaction that kids here are anti-European because they dressed different or had a different view. The reality was that these exchange students were the source of much information for their American counterparts. But when people express curiousity, it is often misinterpreted. When someone is feeling stressed, or misunderstood or uncomfortable in another culture, I think it becomes the perception, not necessarily the reality. The European culture is most definitely different from ours, and should be respected as such, just as we demand that they respect ours.
We just got back from a two week trip to Italy,
and we did see some anti-Americanism, but I would have to say it was in
reality more anti-tourist than anything else. We unfortunately encountered
several LOUD and obnoxious groups of Americans who seemed intent on making
people hate them. Rather than adopt the manners and expectations of their
surroundings, they were foisting theirs rude manners on to others. So
if that's anti-American, add me to the list of people who have that sentiment.
Sunnyvale, CA USA 07/17/03
In our 2 week trip - a week in England and a week in Italy - the only comment we received on our nationality was positive. At St. Paul's in London, I bought a pamphlet about the American Memorial Chapel, which has the names of every American who died in WWII after being stationed in England. I said to the woman at the bookstall, "It means a lot to us Americans that you have that memorial." "Well!" she replied, "the Americans did a lot for us!"
During our one day in Paris, we had only positive encounters. The standard
answer to the question, "Parlez vous anglais?" was, "A little. I will
try." We loved seeing all the peace flags in Italy. They were everywhere!
Rochester, NY USA 07/17/03
Got back from Italy and experienced no anti-Americanism. Lots of PACE
signs which I think means peace. A little confused on those since I assume
they refer to the Iraq war, but could be referring to all wars. After speaking
with some European travellers I think that most Europeans definitely have
a different view of Americans, our culture and government. After watching
what they get in the media, it is no wonder that some of them hold the views
that they do. The media in Europe is very anti-American and I would say
by and large what the European knows about us comes from these sources.
Because of this I would disagree that most Europeans are more well informed
that us. We usually at least get both sides of the issue. But the average
Italian was very friendly and helpful. I have been to other countries and
this was the first visit to Italy and I loved it.
Huntersville, NC USA 07/17/03
It's all media and Government hype. We were in Europe for ten weeks; returned 6- 25. No problems from anyone. Most French seem to dislike their governments position. They are concerned about a socialist taking his place. Germans were always fun and not interested in Iraq that much. I really don't think the Italians have a clue.
Paradise, Ca. USA 07/16/03
Just came back from 2.5 weeks in France traveling many regions and 4 days in Paris - HAD A GREAT TIME. French people were very polite and non-political. There were very few American travellers. This is a great time to go!
Cotati, ca USA 07/16/03
Anti-americanism in Greece
I'm currently visiting Athens, Greece and I have to say that I definitely don't feel welcome here. I recieve for the most part unfriendly stares and rudeness. I try smiling at them and they give me a blank stare and keep walking. I'm tired of offering a friendly "Yasas" to bitter locals.
Orange, CA USA 07/16/03
Kindness of the French People
My husband, three friends, and I just returned from the one-week tour of Paris. The French people that we met were uniformly kind and gracious to us. Whether they were giving us directions, explaining menu items to us, or returning things we had dropped, the French people we met were always friendly.
The Woodlands, TX USA 07/15/03
Interestingly, the only anti-Americanism I've experienced is from other Americans who somehow equate my decision to continue traveling in Europe as something akin to treason. I've traveled to Europe (and especially to France) on an average of three times per year for the past 20 years and have never experienced any negative feedback (and I do not hide my national identity). Should I be on the receiving end of a negative experience, I believe it would come from the same demographic minority who in this country who make similar declamations against the French . One should not denigrate an entire nation based upon the actions of a few - whether they are Americans or Europeans. All of my years of travel have yielded nothing but enjoyment, enlightenment, and positive impressions.
Recently I stayed with a count in his chateau in Normandy. He is strongly pro-American. He ancestors fought in the American Revolution; his grandfather was liberated by the Americans in WWII, and he tends the grave of an American soldier killed in the D-Day actions. He is greatly saddened by negative rhetoric that seems be be spewing only from our side of the Atlantic.
Undoubtedly, if you look for problems
you will find them. If, on the other hand, you travel with an open mind
and with a respect for others, you will be met with courtesy. I am eagerly
anticipating my Christmas trip to Rome and next summer's excursion the Provence.
I'm sitting in Nice, France at this very minute and am enjoying my
free internet access at my hostel. Iwanted to make a quick comment on the
talk about anti-Americanism. Other than some graffiti in Portugal, I haven't experienced
any hostility in the past 3 months that I have been travelling around. The
media is all just a bunch of hype. In fact when I went to Normandy, the people
were very appreciative of all the Americans in their area. This is as good
as any time to go to Europe.
chicago, il USA 07/13/03
Anti-Bush grafitti in Milan...
I must say that I'd be very surprised to see much Anti-Bush grafitti in Milan, but not from lack of will. I worked for 3 months in Milan and my memory is that every building in Milan is covered with grafitti about as high as a teenager can reach. To put an anti-Bush grafitti up they would have to find a clean spot or create one....
London, UK 07/13/03
Venice Is Friendly
We had not one even remotely unpleasent experience in Rome, Assisi or Venice. In fact, I felt the people of Venice were even more accomodating than usual, and I have been there before. I would head back in a moment if I could get away. Read everything in this thread before making judgements.
Dalton, GA USA 07/13/03
American in Paris
I have lived in Paris for the last 4 years with a nine year old daughter who attends a French school and other than normal people you would not like in any other place, the French are as friendly as you can find. They clearly do not dislike Americans... they disagree with American policy and that is a world of difference. The French also love to debate international issues far more than Americans (and, yes, they are more informed than Americans on international issues) and enjoy hearing both sides of issues. My daughter has never experienced one word of anti-Americanism in her school either from fellow students or teachers... even when they were discussing the Iraqi war! For those who went to the French Open and heard boos.... did you not hear the appause for Agassi, Capriati and even the Williams sisters in later rounds? And for Sean... don't think the French want the dear old US dollar as it is practically worthless here.
Paris, France 07/12/03
I guess I get a little bit tired of hearing about Ugly Americans when
I am not convinced that other nationalities are inherently more sensitive
than ours. I think you find obnoxious travelers in every country. I'm married
to a European and some members of his family are insufferable when they
are here (complaining about American this and American that ad nauseum).
I am not denying that Americans can be loud and obnoxious - but I also think
that we are under a much greater deal of scrutiny.
Graffiti and Milan
Regarding the "Anti-Bush" graffiti in Italy noted by other travelers: Having moved to Milan (from NYC) 3 months ago, I can honestly say there is no more anti-Bush graffiti decorating Milan than there is in Manhattan right now. The "Anti-Bush" (not anti-American) sentiment is being expressed on walls throught the world, including those in the USA. In addition, the Italian people are still as welcoming as ever and generally very eagar to discuss the political climate with Americans. Much like in America, there are as many opinions on Bush and his bombs as there are people...and most Italians love a good, heated debate! Further, as a city Milan gets shortchanged in the tourbooks, which prompt many visitors to skip it entirely. Don't. It is a thrilling city, with unparalleled innovation in the design fields and a real sense of vitality. Having traveled extensively in Italy, I feel that within Milan beats the pulse of modern Italy.
MILANO, ITALY 07/12/03
Go to Europe
We returned a couple weeks ago from 2 weeks in Germany and Austria. Absolutely no anti-Americanism. People were very friendly, helpful when needed. (had a rental car and got lost a few times, or more than a few times if my wife tells the story!!) Know basic phrases of the language, be respectful and you will have no problems.
Lincoln, NE USA 07/10/03
problems in Italy and Switzerland
We just returned from a 5 week whirlwind tour of Europe. Great Britain was great so no problems there. France was great too - the people were friendly enough and helpful when needed. Belgium and the Netherlands were also excellent.
Switzerland was a different story. Most of the people we encountered were just plain rude to us! Italy was even worse. People were actually mean to us and would yell at us in Italian just for walking into a shop or asking a question, telling us to go away! Several times I overheard comments about typical stupid American tourists although they were not aimed at us. Most of those comments came from younger people.
Venice was without a doubt the worst of all. People there would not help us in any way, shape, or form and we ended up getting directions and help many times from other tourists! The sad part of it is is that the tourism is so down that you would think that those people would welcome us with open arms! We didn't have to wait in any lines anywhere!
I would suggest to those who are planning a trip
there to just go. There are enough other tourists around to get help if
you need it and there are some friendly natives there. If you get yelled
at by a shopkeeper, just walk out. There are plenty of shops in Italy that
will welcome your business and money. While I don't have any desire to go
back to Venice, I really want to return to Rome to spend more time visiting
the great museums and history.
Uniontown, OH USA 07/10/03
Travel to France
I just got back from an 8-day trip in France (the Poitiers area and Paris) and did not encounter any negativity. In fact, I wish my stay in the small village of Angles sur L'Anglin could have been longer it was so relaxing. My best advice is to try to speak the language and be open-minded to other cultures and viewpoints.
Atlanta, USA 07/09/03
UK recent experience.
Just got back from 2 weeks in the UK and experienced only one Anti-American encounter. It was in quiet Bath of all places our first night when we were walking over the river into the center of town to get some dinner. A loud group of drunken men tried to pick a fight - commenting on Americans who think they know it all... etc. etc. We walked the other way, but our 10 year old son was frightened. The rest of the time was only positive and we met many wonderful people especially in Northumberland. We did not go far into Bath that night where large crowds were gathering with open bottles of beer and the scent of pot. Just be aware of your surroundings.
Boulder, CO USA 07/09/03
I've been to 10 different countries and havn't had any problems whatsoever. People, don't worry about anything, go for it- have a good time. If anyone gets into your face, just keep walking. Life is too short and you spent a load of cash to see Europe- don't let little things bother you.
I spent three years in Europe- from the summer
of 1999 to October 2002. The only problems I encountered were late trains
or last minute accommodations. In other words, I kept my usual low profile-
didn't parade myself around. Well, there was that time when I went to
a party in a black speedo & a Zorro mask. but that's a different story...
Seoul Korea, KOR 07/07/03
I was in the UK and Europe for 6 weeks earlier this summer, and experienced no problems at all. The people I met in the small towns were especially nice, and in the larger towns such as Paris, Prague and Barcelona, the people were either nice or just indifferent, as you would experience in any major city here in the US. Keep in mind that we,as American 'ambassadors' can help this issue. When I was in Vernazza around the 2nd week of June, there were a number of college age Americans, and I was awoken in the middle of the night by loud, drunk, obviously American voices. Remember, kids, many of the same people that served you all day live in town, and deserve their night's sleep.
Denver, CO USA 07/07/03
No Anti-American Sentiments
I have just returned from a trip that took me through England, France, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal. We experianced no anti-American sentiments at all except in Bern, Switzerland. Every place we went and all of the people we met elsewhere were wonderful and helpful. The most friendly and hospitable country was by far Portugal. I would not hesitate to visit Europe again.
Ridgefield, CT USA 07/07/03
Recent travel to Greece
I just got back from 4 weeks in Greece, and I can say that as long as you stay out of Athens, you will be fine! Nobody went out of their way to insult me, but I really didn't appreciate all the spay-painted graffiti of USA with the "S" looking like a shwastika and all the "F*#K Bush" grafitti spray-painted all over (I'm talking on stop-signs, etc.) While in Crete, there was a large painting on display in the little mountain village of Anogia showing Satan flying over the island of Crete. On one of his wings was the American flag and on the other was the British flag. And we was holding a spear and using it to pierce a dove, which dripped blood. I had to wonder what the Americans ever did to the Cretans? Anyway, mostly the people I encountered (taxi drivers, restaurant owners,etc.) asked what Americans think of Greeks and I told them all we see on television was them protesting and burning our flag, and I was constantly reassured by many that "We are 10 million people! They are a few thousand!" Or, "I have always wanted to go to America". So, the media reports only the protests and whack-jobs, but there are still a majority of people that are glad you came.
Coushatta, LA USA 07/07/03
Just back from France
I was a little worried about encountering some anti-Americanism in France and Austria. But as others have posted here, the French were nothing but great! Several times people went out of their way to help us. We were in Paris for a week and in Vienna for 2 days. In Vienna, I came across 2 anti-American rallies. They did not mind me videotaping and I also got some literature from one of the protests. I may post video from the protests on the 'net, if I get around to it. I think the French are smart enough realize that American policy is not set by the average American tourist.
Wrightwood, CA USA 07/06/03
4 Weeks in Austria, Italy and Switzerland
My husband and I just spent 4 delightful weeks in Italy, Switzerland and Austria traveling by train and motorcycle. We did have a couple slightly unpleasant episodes, but for the most part everyone treated us very well and we met some wonderful people.
Problems: One problem we had was at Posthotel Weisses Rossl in Welschnofen. We stopped for lunch (on July 2, 2003) and ordered rosti (11.5 euros) and a small green salad (10 euros) and the waitress said she would bring us bread also and we agreed to that. Bread was NOT on the menu, so there was no mention at all of a charge. When we received the check, we were shocked to find a 10 euro charge on the bill for that bread (3 hard rolls with 2 small pats of butter). I asked the waitress if there was a mistake and she said no mistake and was very curt about it. We later spoke to several Italians in the local area and they said that they had never heard of such a thing as a 10 euro charge for bread and they felt bad it happened to us.
Another time a girl on a train informed me that
since I did not speak fluent Italian I should not be in Italy. I wondered
how I would learn fluent Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese for my travels
this year! There was some anti-war and anti-Bush graffiti here and there,
but there is so much graffiti around that it pretty much got lost in the
mix. The worst Anti-Americanism we saw over there was in the Intl Herald Tribune!
All in all, 99% of the people we met were happy to see us, helpful and accomodating.
Ft Lauderdale, Fl USA 07/06/03
Being anti-American helps!
Our trip to Paris gave us a chance to experiment. If we said we were Bush haters, they acted very nice. If we in any way tried to stand up for the President and our troops in Iraq, we were cut dead. I notice that the posters here who brag about being anti-Bush say they have great experiences in France. It is a shame that we would have to bad-mouth our country in order to get good treatment, but that's the way it happened to us, and we tried both ways!
Savannah, GA USA 07/06/03
Since both 9/11 and the recent Iraq occupation, my husband and I have travelled to Europe four times. During the first days of the "shock an awe," we were in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. We encountered only ONE bit of anti-Americanism, and that from a 90 year old tour guide at the Wawel Catherdral in Poland. While smiling and giving us a tour, he mumbled something about God being angry at George Bush. We assumed that he was following the Pope's view that Bush policy was a mistake. As Catholics and Democrats, we just nodded and pretended not to understand, even though we aren't currrently happy with Bush. People in Hungary treated us just fine. A few eastern European nations were on our allies list, probably just to get our foreign aid, but clearly without the support of the common people. I love my country, but doesn't it just bug everyone that in less than 4 years, we have gone from respect and peace to this silent tension, worry and feeling unpatriotic for not supporting constant warfare?
Evanston, IL USA 07/06/03
Anti-Americansim: Real or Media Hype?
My husband and I were on vacation in Paris on the day the war started and the subsequent weeks. We had one person express his dislike of Americans to us...but all the other numerous French we spoke with were kind, generous and open to Americans, as we have always experienced. One Paris gentleman even said to us that the US and France will always be friends and he thanked us for what we did for France militarily in the past. Truly a phenominal place Europe is.
Newport Beach, CA USA 07/05/03
My granddaughter and I spent a week in Paris 6/10-6/17. We had a wonderful time, and as so many others have said, people couldn't have been nicer. We saw not one hint of Anti-American feeling anywhere we went. We left Paris hoping that French people who travel in the U.S. meet with the unfailing courtesy, kindness and good humor that we did in Paris.
Portland, OR USA 07/04/03
Experience in Europe
On our trip to Amsterdam we sat next to a woman from the Netherlands who was returning from a business trip. She commented on the friendliness of Americans everywhere she went. We were pleased to here her Detroit, Michigan experience. We were always treated well on our 3 week trip to Amsterdam, France, Italy, and Brussels. Only rushed or indifferent waiters were a drawback. We realized that is a common experience everywhere. The truly kind and generous treatment was great.
San Francisco, CA USA 07/04/03
Pleasant experience in France
My wife and I just returned from an eight day trip cruising on the Rhone and Saone rivers of south eastern France. We had many nice experiences with the French along the way visiting cities like Arles, Avignon, Tournon and Lyon, but the best experience was in Lyon. We were in Lyon and had to get back to our ship before it left and couldn't get a taxil. In desperation, we found a policeman who had just finished writing a traffic ticket and told him of our plight. He said not to worry he would call for one for us. It was a desperately hot day and for close to a half hour he waited with us in the hot sun for the taxi to arrive. While waiting we carried on pleasant conversation with him. He told us about his city. When the taxi finally arrived, we expressed our gratitude to him for being so helpful. In all the French cities we visited people were always friendly and helpful. Politics was never a subject.
John and Zonnie Cross
Dallas, TX USA 07/03/03
The Fouth of July
I've just seen what date it is today and would like to take this opportunity to wish ALL American citizens whether at home, travelling or residing outside the States a very happy Fourth of July and many more to come.
Nottingham, UK 07/03/03
We just returned from three week trip to Austria, Italy and France. Our family of five was warmly received - everyone, especially the French in Paris and Normany were very friendly and helpful. In our case, the anti-American warnings were groundless.
LOVELAND, CO USA 07/03/03
I'm Going Back,,,
I was in London the first week of April,and I can tell you that the people that go out of their way to make you feel unwelcome would do it war or no war. These people are just trying to prod you into doing or saying something so that they can point out to similar-feeling people that they were "right". I had a ball in London, and I am planning a trip to Vienna this fall, and I'm not going to let a few people of this type ruin it for the rest that want to showcase their country for me. I go for the history and the flavor of the area, and leave the government home.
Solon, Ia USA 07/03/03
Eve of July 14, Bastille Day
Just returned from an extensive one-month trip through ten different countries in Europe. This was my first trip to Europe in several years and, although my travel companion introduced me as someone from the US, I received only courtesy and smiles in every country visited. It was a fantastic trip. The Europeans were willing to share their homes, their thoughts, their music, their food, their experiences - with smiles, kindness, thoughtfulness and happiness. I would go back in a flash if I could afford it. We in the US should also remember that were it not for French support against the British during the Revolutionary War, the US would not have come into being; so, we would not be able to celebrate the Fourth of July had it not been for the French, especially men like the Marquis de Lafayette. So, Vive La France! Vive Les Etats Unis! And, by the way, not everything in life has to be colored with a political hue. So, I guess my message is very simple: go and enjoy the history, art and music of other nations. Such experiences will enrich your lives and make you appreciate your own country more.
San Francisco, CA USA 07/03/03
It *is* out there...
Living in Brussels, I've seen my share of anti-american demonstrations downtown. While most people you meet are nice and very accomodating to the average tourist, the anti-american sentiment is still there in some places. Also, I was in Italy last week and saw a lot of anti-american graffiti in nearly every town we were in...more than I remember from the last time I was there, 3 years ago. True, you don't usually run into them, but you can't fool yourself...there are many people who just don't like Americans.
Brussels, BE 07/03/03
I am amazed at some comments detailing rudeness within the UK and Europe. Having travelled the world and spent time in the States I take pride in the relationship the UK has with the USA. When travelling to a capital like London as with al major cities, people's attitudes are sometimes abrasive and often rude. However if you take time to travel a little further you will find kindness and hospitality in abundance. Americans will always be welcome in the UK, with the same warmth and generosity that is shown to us Brits.
Anti - US?
I traveled to Ireland in January of this year, prior to the Iraq conflict. I did see quite a few "Don't Bomb Iraq" posters on lamp poles that were advertising anti-war rallies. Aparently unlike most of the posters on this board, I'm pro-Bush and pro-defense and when I was asked my opinion of Bush or his policies, I replied honestly that I supported my President and his policies. I was met by either support or with a lack of comment - never with any anti-American or anti-Bush comments. Contrarily, I heard as many ribald comments in Ireland directed toward Clinton's behavior as comments about Bush or his policies. However I didn't go around waving a US flag or offering unsolicited political commentary -I simply replied honestly to questions that were asked. I also went to Sumatra, in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim coutry, six months after 9-11 and had no problems there either. Don't go expecting trouble and chances are you won't find it.
Kearney, NE USA 07/01/03
I have just returned from 2 weeks divided between Rome, Venice, Lake
Como, and Paris. The italians were wonderful. Not one complaint at all.
They were very warm and accomodating. Paris was not as friendly but really,
only one rude waiter. Met 3 or 4 very nice parisians. Most were just civil.