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  1. #21
    Senior Member Sandy's Avatar
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    Beautiful photos! I'm not even hungry, but looking at all of those lucious goodies, I am getting hungry! Mmm...
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  2. #22
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Yeah but casca, no offence and not directed at you, but from what I see of the American tourists over here in Europe, Americans have quite a different idea of what it means to 'do' something.

    For example, when in Greece and in my fourth hour of sitting and marvelling by the Acropolis, I encountered the zillionth American couple come and stand by it for a few minutes, get someone to take a photo, then say "Well gee, we've done the Acropolis, what's next?"
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  3. #23
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Yeah but casca, no offence and not directed at you, but from what I see of the American tourists over here in Europe, Americans have quite a different idea of what it means to 'do' something.

    For example, when in Greece and in my fourth hour of sitting and marvelling by the Acropolis, I encountered the zillionth American couple come and stand by it for a few minutes, get someone to take a photo, then say "Well gee, we've done the Acropolis, what's next?"
    No, I know what you're saying. No offense taken! There are certainly a lot of American tourists that way, and I'm sure I've done it a few times myself, due to just wanting to see as much as possible with a limited timeframe (and dang, we have to spend a LOT of money just on the plane ticket to get over there!!! That's probably another reason people might rush around once they're there). BUT your fellow Europeans can do the same thing while on holiday!!

    I did something similar to you in Athens!! I sat on a bench in the Agora (the large 'park' beneath the Acropolis) all afternoon one day, just reading a book, getting up now and then to stroll, and soaking up the atmosphere. I didn't really want to stay up right next to the Acropolis because there were way too many people. [also, the Acropolis was mostly taken down anyway - half of it, or more, was covered in scaffolding when I was there] The Agora was much more peaceful. (and forgive me if I've forgetten and I'm mis-naming the park/plaza area! )
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  4. #24
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    lol no, it's okay I can't remember it that well myself, it was over 10 years ago! It was all in one piece (well, what there is of it) back then. I just observed in many of the places I've been that it seems to be the American way of seeing things, or the object of a holiday, to get pictures of yourself next to as many famous 'old things' as possible lol

    Yeah I guess you get some other people doing it too, but less so I think because we grow up around this ancient stuff and tend to be less sorta sensational about the idea of having seen it and showing off to the folks back home that we went there and saw it, if you know what I mean? Like, I took photos but because I'm interested in photography - back home not many people are interested in seeing them, cos we have stuff like that here too...

    I remember one American tourist asking me if my hometown (Lincoln, UK, a Roman colonia built on an ancient Celtic settlement) was named after Abraham Lincoln... and whether the Pope lived in our cathedral

    But I know it's not fair to judge the whole of America on that... if I judged nations by their tourists then I'd think of the English as a bunch of drunken, sexually promiscuous monkeys, and the French as a people with an inexplicable fondness for the colour green!

    In reality I guess a lot of people behave on vacation as they wouldn't usually at home, precisely because they're not at home and so can get away with it. So if anything, seeing people behave badly on vacation possibly says something good about their homeland!!
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    lol no, it's okay I can't remember it that well myself, it was over 10 years ago! It was all in one piece (well, what there is of it) back then. I just observed in many of the places I've been that it seems to be the American way of seeing things, or the object of a holiday, to get pictures of yourself next to as many famous 'old things' as possible lol
    I think you're right here. As Americans we have a unique perspective while traveling because among modern industrialized nations, we are the new kid on the block. We don't HAVE anything old, so it's a novelty to us. We grow up learning about these various places/things in history class, and to actually see one in person can be a very exciting experience. In addition, to echo Cascademn, the typical American may only travel to Europe once or twice (or never) in a lifetime because of the distance and expense. Europeans traveling within Europe can do so much more economically. So we may have a tendency to try to "get our money's worth" by seeing as much as possible. I think these things may account for all the picture taking and rushing around. I know that when I travel I try to blend in and disappear into the local culture as much as I can, but not at the expense of leaving my camera at home.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member Sandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Yeah but casca, no offence and not directed at you, but from what I see of the American tourists over here in Europe, Americans have quite a different idea of what it means to 'do' something.

    For example, when in Greece and in my fourth hour of sitting and marvelling by the Acropolis, I encountered the zillionth American couple come and stand by it for a few minutes, get someone to take a photo, then say "Well gee, we've done the Acropolis, what's next?"
    Shoot, when I was recently at Half Moon Bay in Cali, I could spend all day just watching the ocean, clouds and sky. It might take me a couple of days to get me out of Acropolis! I'm glad you got to witness such beauty!
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Griffi97's Avatar
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    Hey Sub, we are back from Italy and I am finally able to reliably get online (just switched from cable to DSL and have had mucho problems). A few random impressions...

    Rome: We had a really great local guide and probably learned the most from her of any of the local guides on our trip. It turns out if you are with a group with a reservation, you can get into the Vatican museum 30 minutes before it opens to the rest of the public. We were the first ones in and had the place pretty much to ourselves for about 20 minutes. We were able to take our time going through the first three rooms (tapestry room, map room, can't remember what the first room before these 2 was called) before getting to the Sistene chapel, where there were only about 10 people who had gotten there before us. What a truly awe-inspiring spectacle it is. Our guide pointed out to us the difference in size of the various prophets painted along the ceiling. It turns out if you stand at the entrance to the room, they all look the same size, pretty cool. And I guess it was Pope John Paul II who decided that when the Sistene chapel was restored it would be restored to include all the nudity that was later covered up. And St. Peter's basilica was remarkable, what a display of wealth, power, and Christian symbolism.

    Florence: We again had a great local guide who took us through the Duomo to see the David. We spent some time studying the "prisoners" and it was really cool to see what those marble statues look like during the creative process. Our guide spent some time talking about Michaelangelo and his life, how he lived to be 89 at a time when average life expectancy for a man was 45, how he had very few friends, never took students, and hated his rival, Leonardo da Vinci. And how he stated that the male physique is more beautiful than the female form. Our guide said it is not known for sure if Michaelangelo was gay, but he said he was extremely religious and probably would not have admitted it to himself or anyone else if he was. I have not read any biographies about Michaelangelo, but after seeing his work, I am definitely going to put that on my to-do list.

    We did side-trips to Sienna and San Giamagno (not sure if I spelled that right) and the Tuscan countryside was beautiful.

    Venice: It was really, really cold while we were here so that unfortunately detracted from the experience. But we visited the Doge's palace. It was a really interesting system of government they had a there, with the Doge being both a civil servant and a man of great power, and under threat of execution if he abused that power... We also visited the Murano glass factory and witnessed a craftsman in action. Afterwards we toured their gallery and I really, really wish I was independently wealthy so I could afford to buy some of their stuff. Someday...

    I am sorry to say the food was shockingly expensive. I wish we had English pounds to spend because the American dollar is really in the toilet. My husband has a cousin who lives in Rome and we met her and her husband for dinner. We didn't order much, a plate of spaghetti that we shared, a meat dish each, a plate of grilled veges and a bottle of the house wine. The cousins ordered about the same, and the total bill was almost $250 euro, or nearly $400 with the exchange rate. Really quite shocking... But it was good food.

    Overall we had a great time, learned a lot, and had a great cultural experience. We went to Greece a few years ago and it was definitely a great follow-up to visit Italy as well.

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