More Cultural Differences

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It’s been awhile since I wrote a post about cultural differences between the US and Europe, but I’ve felt a bit compelled to do so again lately. Just some little observations I’ve noticed while living far from home.


One of the biggest differences is something I’ve noticed here working on the ship. It’s just a little thing, but I find it quite interesting. Back home, if you’re sitting down to eat, the person who cooked (or maybe the host if it’s a dinner party) might say ‘Bon Appetit’ before you begin to eat. But such a practice is not an everyday kind of thing. We really never say it back home in my family and circle of friends. Well, here, it’s apparently very common to wish EVERYONE you see eating a ‘Bon Appetit.’ It’s the strangest thing. For example, when we’re sitting down eating at a crew meal time, sometimes people enter the dining room at different times due to their schedules. It’s rapid-fire ‘Bon Appetit,’ one after the other. You’re trying to eat, but you have to keep saying thank you to all the bon appetits. So weird.


And while we’re speaking about eating, I think it’s a pretty consistent thing across the board at how grossed out Europeans are at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The childhood staple we all grew up with back home, the regular part of our school lunch boxes, quite simply repulses most foreigners. They think combining jelly and peanut butter is madness. As an adult, I’ve often turned to PB & J sandwiches for their ability to travel well, as they don’t start to go bad within a few hours. They’ve accompanied me on many a long train journey here in Europe. I guess we’ll just all have to agree to disagree.


I also miss maple syrup, as I mentioned in a previous blog about food I miss. No one here uses syrup. I’ve come to realize that it must be completely a North American thing. Occasionally we get pancakes at breakfast .   (And that’s another thing altogether – here they often call crepes “pancakes.” Ugh! Note that when I mention pancakes, I do NOT mean crepes, I mean regular American style pancakes.) I’m going to have to go to one of those special shops that sells American foods (at insane prices) to be able to get some Aunt Jemima syrup. (My favorite brand!) Pancakes are meant to be eaten with syrup, darn it!


I know there are others that just aren’t coming to me right now, but when I think of them, I’ll add them to the list!  Until next time, good bye from the sunny Danube in Slovakia!




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Jennifer was initially drawn to Europe for two reasons: music and love.  She lived in Vienna for four years, and now calls Croatia home for much of each year, as she married a native Croatian. Since 2015, Jennifer has worked as a tour director and cruise director on European river cruises for a major American travel company, and has become an expert in all of the cities along her routes on the Danube, Rhine, and Main Rivers. She also has traveled to Disney World almost every year since 1985, and knows Disney World inside and out. As a travel agent, Disney World is her primary specialty, and she has helped many Disney newbies and veterans have amazing trips with her insider information.

2 thoughts on “More Cultural Differences”

  1. In Italy they thought we were nuts to put ice in a cold drink….why would you dump something cold into your stomach? I also never got used to the kissing both cheeks thing as a greeting….I could never figure out what they were trying to do,LOL.

  2. Yes! The kissing of cheeks varies depending on the country – some do it twice, some three times! I never know what people are going to do when I meet them.


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