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    31 Things About European Culture That Shock American Tourists Almost Every Time

    "You can drink a beer anywhere, anytime. I woke up in Berlin and bought a bottle of beer at a small breakfast stand in a park. It was like 6 a.m."

    Recently, Reddit user u/jrusj posted in r/AskReddit asking, "Americans that visited Europe, what was the biggest shock for you?" Here's what these ✨well-traveled US folks✨ had to say.

    1. "How old a lot of the cities are. People are still living in buildings older than the US! Walking down some of the old streets feels like you’re time traveling into a medieval fairytale."


    2. "My first time in Spain and it was 10:30 p.m. The sun was still out…parents were sitting, drinking, and relaxing while kids ran up and down. It felt so completely safe and comfortable."


    3. "Europeans dress up for the day. Y’all don’t wear athletic shorts and tennis shoes. Like just going to the store, ya gotta dress up decent enough!"


    two well dressed women greet each other with cheek kisses

    4. "The amount of casual nudity on TV. I had to chuckle at all the naked breasts frequently visible. Europeans are just healthier in their views of sexuality and nudity. We Americans are ridiculous prudes by comparison."


    5. "How small things like appliances, paper towels, and toilet paper are. I really wanted to take that idea home with me — it makes so much sense."


    6. "In France people get two-hour lunches. Like some stores will have two separate open and close times cause they’ll just shut down for two hours a day to enjoy themselves. Most people seemed much happier and relaxed as a whole."


    a spread of cheese, bread and wine on a picnic table

    7. "I was surprised at how much walking I did. I did it because it was easy, not because I had to."


    8. "Personal bubbles are very different. It shocks you at first, and you feel sort of claustrophobic, but then you get used to it."

    "It's kind of subtle until you come back to the states, unconsciously stand close to someone else in a line, and they start shooting you dirty looks."


    9. "In the Netherlands and several other countries, Big Bird from Sesame Street is blue. The Dutch will insist that it's actually Big Bird's 'cousin', Pino, but I wasn't fooled!"


    a light blue Big Bird looks at the screen

    10. "How people just walk away from minor vehicle bumps/scrapes. In the US, they would pull over and at minimum exchange info, if not call the police."


    11. "That tax was included on the price tag."


    12. "I was surprised by how many people still smoke cigarettes and how common it was to have people smoking in outdoor restaurants and bars."


    a cigarette being held between fingers

    13. "When I ordered a small drink, it was actually small."


    14. "When I went to Scotland, I ran across some German tourist who asked me to translate what the Scot was saying. We were all three speaking English, they just couldn’t understand each other's accents!"


    15. "Ground floor is not the first floor. It's the 0 floor."


    an arrow pointing to someone pressing the zero button on an elevator

    16. "You hear about how big the Roman Empire was and all the advanced building tech they had, but it doesn't really sink in until you see it with your own eyes."


    17. "How young the US truly is."


    18. "I was surprised to see so many people riding bicycles in Amsterdam. In my entire life, I've never seen so many bicycles."

    "If you cry out, 'HEY! That's my bike!' in Amsterdam, six out of ten people will drop their bikes and run," a lady in a shop told me. Bike theft appears to be the most common crime there."


    a ton of bikes parked on the street in Amsterdam

    19. "How everything is less sugary/sweet."


    20. "The vegetables are exponentially smaller because they're not genetically modified."


    21. "Every apartment has an electric bath towel warmer. It’s pretty standard apparently."


    an arrow pointing to a ladder-like towel warmer

    22. "How restaurants aren't about pumping people in and out, and no one is really in a rush."


    23. "Holidays! Europeans get so much paid time off. Anywhere I went in late-July–August, there were tons of shops closed cause people were spending the month with their families enjoying their time off."


    24. "You can drink a beer anywhere, anytime. I woke up in Berlin and bought a bottle of beer at a small breakfast stand in a park...It was like 6 am."


    a group enjoys drinks while walking down the street

    25. "The amount of public transportation is surprising, and in many places, people don't drive and/or don't not even know how to."


    26. "How much smaller vehicles are. If you go to a typical parking lot in America, 50% will be SUVs or trucks. I barely saw any in London or Paris."


    27. "Fruit-flavored sodas are required to have fruit juice in them, so the Fanta sodas here are more like a spicy Sunny D."


    store shelves showing rows and rows of flavored sodas

    28. "Tipping culture doesn’t really exist."


    29. "For me, it was how well I was taken care of as an artist. In America, a musician is treated like help at the bar. You’re paid whatever the minimum amount they can possibly give you is. You might get 2–4 drink tickets. In Europe, they respected you, fed you, and found you places to sleep. Free drinks. Enough said."


    30. "In Spain in the afternoon, it's time to run some errands. It took me a week to learn that on days from 2–5 p.m., the entire country shuts down."


    a woman wearing headphones take a nap on the couch

    31. And lastly: "Complete privacy when taking a dump in a public restroom. It was hard to come back home just from that."


    Answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.