Tips for Spain, France, and Italy?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 01, 2012 7:25 PM GMT
    Hey, so in July I'm going to Europe and I will be staying in Rome for a few days and then hit a Royal Caribbean cruise for 7 days going to Spain and France. Does anyone have any tips for me besides keeping my luggage in site, not speaking english in France (I will say I'm Canadian or speak spanish), etc.

    Anyone familiar with RC cruises in Europe? I'm going with my family, but I hope to find some good people around my age to hangout with?

    Thanks everyone! icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 01, 2012 8:51 PM GMT
    In France, just remember the pleasantries they expect. Always say "Bonjour" when entering a store or restaurant (it is expected, and considered very rude if you don't). "S'il vous plais" before asking a question, and "merci" when you are leaving a store. Tipping in France or Spain isn't required, but it is okay to leave your change or a euro if service was good.
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    Jun 01, 2012 9:03 PM GMT
    Wherever you go, get a map of the city if you plan to explore. Also,pay attention to time if you are depending on subway.

    I had to walk home many nights due to forgetting this point. GPS is best if you don't speak the language. I find maps and train schedule to be the most important things besides food. Good luck and have a blast!

    icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 2:08 AM GMT
    OP you say you want to hang with guys your age.. well I am WAY over your age so you might not be interested...with that said should you change your mind I would be more than happy to show ya around Barcelona should you choose to visit Spain's most fabulous city!
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    Jun 02, 2012 3:20 AM GMT
    Aggieboy saidOP you say you want to hang with guys your age.. well I am WAY over your age so you might not be interested...with that said should you change your mind I would be more than happy to show ya around Barcelona should you choose to visit Spain's most fabulous city!


    ^ Lol when I said guys around my age, I was talking about the cruise!!! I don't know if these cruises are packed with old people or if there r people around my age on them as well?
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    Jun 02, 2012 3:21 AM GMT
    To add on to that, dude you are 26?!!? That isn't old at all!
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Jun 02, 2012 3:31 AM GMT
    My impression is that the Spaniards and the Italians will welcome your money and that the French do not welcome anyone.

    I do wish I had the means and the balls to go on such a trip. Have a great time!
  • SEA_Coffee

    Posts: 4

    Jun 02, 2012 3:43 AM GMT
    Why the harsh words for France? I liked it just fine. If your cruising your going to be in port town that cater to tourists and will be friendly to anyone that doesn't treat them dirty. I never expect the peppy American diner waitress and I never got one. They are efficient with orders and no table talking nonsense.

    All of Europe: Everyone speaks English in any large city, under the age of 45.

    Italy: super thin people and great jokers. Wave with the back of your hand doing a motion like your calling someone to come over only with your finger, not from the wrist. Italian wave, and say ciao. I always get smiles and great conversations when I act like i'm flirting with EVERYONE. Italians flirt really hard, it's awesome. Go see the trevi only at 3 am, the lights are on and the tourists are thinner, always present but thinner. All of Rome is more brilliant at night really. FREAKING HOT during the way. Drink from the fountains, its gorgeous. Whole city is historic so just walk around.

    Spain: PARTY, or at least try to keep up. You wont, but you can try.

    Have fun!
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    Jun 02, 2012 4:02 AM GMT
    flguy18 saidTo add on to that, dude you are 26?!!? That isn't old at all!



    Sooooooo. What IS "old"? Eh? Care to toss an age out onto the table??? icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 4:45 AM GMT
    I don't get the French hatred either. As an earlier poster said, if you greet people with bonjour when you want to speak with them and remember to say s'il vous plait and merci, they are very warm. The French are big on decorum and we are not. We like to walk into restaurants and shops and blurt out our demands. Use basic politeness and you won't have a problem there.

    I've always said that any American who was treated rudely in France deserved it.
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    Jun 02, 2012 5:00 AM GMT
    GAMRican said
    flguy18 saidTo add on to that, dude you are 26?!!? That isn't old at all!



    Sooooooo. What IS "old"? Eh? Care to toss an age out onto the table??? icon_lol.gif


    This is getting complicated.....stupid meee icon_evil.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 7:31 AM GMT
    Lonely Planet phrase book. People appreciate it if you at least try to speak their language. Get the thick but still pocket-sized one that has like five languages. The first page is phrases you might need when speaking to the police. There are two or three pages of phrases you might need to use while negotiating or having sex in each language.
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    Jun 02, 2012 7:33 AM GMT
    hide your wallet! they have some pretty bad times going on over there (particularly Spain) keep a good eye on that bad boy!
  • Limoncello

    Posts: 20

    Jun 02, 2012 8:01 AM GMT
    While in France, speak with a low voice. Speaking loudly in public is one of the rudest things one can do in France (unless you are selling fruits on the food market), and logically most French people will not want to help someone if they think she/he is rude. If one can understand your conversation more than two feet away, you are speaking too loudly.

    I don't say that all Americans act this way, but this is, by far, the main complaint I hear about American tourists, here in Paris (the second one is that they wear white socks icon_biggrin.gif ).

    This is less important in Southeastern France though (Riviera/Provence area), where many locals tend to speak very loudly too. As a general rule, people in Southeastern France are more relaxed (they are a bit like Italians).

    We, French people, do smile a lot less, and do not show our enthusiam as much as Americans do. So ... if you find that French people are cold or rude because they do not smile a lot, do not talk a lot, are not enthusiastic about what you are saying, there is nothing personal against you. It is just the way we act, with everybody, because being reserved and discreet is our way to be polite. Speaking to someone with a broad American grin would be interpreted as insincerity, mockery, a sign of mental impairment or an invitation to have sex.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Jun 02, 2012 8:31 AM GMT
    What rubbish.

    The Italians, Spanish and France are lovely people.

    You don't need to speak the languages, but being polite shows you have manners and tipping in restaurants and cafes is good.

    You'll have a great time.

    Loz
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    Jun 02, 2012 9:02 AM GMT
    And the Spainards tend to eat late (like after 9pm) and don't expect any club scene to be busy before 1am (if not later). In Spain, in the evening go to the bars and do tapas.

    In France and Italy, evening meals are not so late.

    And I've only had good experiences with the French. They can be quite charming if you are polite and show an appreciation of their culture. Treat them respectfully and they treat you respectfully.
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    Jun 02, 2012 10:51 AM GMT
    As a Canadian and having traveled to all of these countries I've not had any problems whatsoever in them. I found the people friendly and polite. Rome, Messina, and Barcelona were amazing. Marseilles in France I can take or leave although Paris is on my bucket list. (had no problems in Marseilles... just found it somewhat gritty)

    Tips:

    - Be polite. Make an effort to learn some of the basics in the language such as hello, goodbye, please, and thank you.
    - Don't be obnoxious or give attitude. If someone can't help you find someone who can.
    - Respect the customs and culture of the country you are in.
    - Be pleasant

    Saying your Canadian in France won't work because then they'll expect you to speak French. ;) Canadian French dialect is actually different from Parisian French. (It's more slang then Parisian)

    Don't forget that Europe is having some tough economic times at the moment. It may show in people's attitudes. You may sense people being down... or it may be the complete opposite.... The times are bad so people are friendlier.

    Just remember to set a good example of the country you are from. You'll do fine.
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    Jun 02, 2012 12:11 PM GMT
    unless your fluent do not speak french except for the basics
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    Jun 02, 2012 1:02 PM GMT
    A few things that haven't been mentioned:

    1. Wear a money belt under your clothes. Do not carry valuables in a "fanny pack".

    2. Do not wear jewelery or a good watch off the ship...pickpockets, particularly bands of gypsy children are everywhere.

    3. Most cruises have GLBT meetings regularly. If the times aren't posted in the daily newsletter, ask at the front desk. Some cruiselines call the meetings "Friends of Dorothy" meetings. My partner and I go to them regularly. You'll meet some really nice folks that way.

    4. In Rome, plan to take the family to have drinks toward sundown at the rooftop bar at the Hotel Eden...it's a couple of blocks above the Spanish steps. Most spectacular view of the city...take out a loan ahead of time to pay for the drinks!!! (They're expensive!)

    5. Most Europeans...at least where you're going...eat dinner very late; e.g., around 10:00 pm.

    6. Try the local food in local eateries. Be adventurous about it.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jun 02, 2012 5:00 PM GMT
    book rail tickets in advance for cheapest prices
  • WhoDey

    Posts: 561

    Jun 02, 2012 5:25 PM GMT
    Is there anything to do in Europe besides looking at museums and churches?
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    Jun 02, 2012 5:47 PM GMT
    WhoDey saidIs there anything to do in Europe besides looking at museums and churches?


    Nope, nothing at all. The entire continent is just one big museochurch.
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    Jun 02, 2012 6:03 PM GMT
    You will love Rome! I'm Italian and I think is one of the most beautiful cities I ever visited! There are a lot of things to do but you will find it very expensive because of the ÔéČuro. Don't go to bars close to the most famous places (Trevi, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, Colosseo, etc) or you'll have to pay more than what you expect!
    Try to visit Trastevere in the night! It's amazing!
    Ah, get ready for two things: The weather is hot in summer and Italians don't speak English! We're terribly ignorants!

    I think you're going to visit Barcelona and/or Mallorca/Ibiza.. There's no a lot to say about them! they are amazing! If you visit Ibiza go to the Port (main place of the island) during the night: there are a lot of crazy people and many many guys! Barcelona is big and there is a lot to do (visit La Rambla and Maremagnum!). My favorite place is Passeig de Gracia but the downtown is in Urquinaona.
    If you are not so shy you'll find a lot of guys you can talk and enjoy with!

    Let me know if you need more information! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 02, 2012 9:37 PM GMT
    As long as you don't go in acting as though you're in Epcot, you'll be ok. They have different cultures and customs than your own so just show them some respect. Most people probably speak English, but it's rude to assume that. At the very least learn to say "hi" and "do you speak English?"

    With the situation in the Eurozone, speaking Spanish in France might not make you the most popular person in the room.
    You could get by speaking Spanish with an Italian accent in Italy.

    The bottom line is if you have a positive attitude and an open mind you'll have fun.
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    Jun 02, 2012 10:03 PM GMT
    oh the french do hate everyone. It makes them feel good.