I have been lucky enough to have traveled a bit.  As an adult much of this has been international and some of it, particularly recently, has been to Europe.

I have several thoughts going through my head and I would love answers and opinions on any or all of them. Here goes…

I have heard that English is the language of choice — almost necessity nowadays — that is studied in school in Europe. I presume you feel this is correct…?

I know that many people, especially those involved in the tourist industry speak English, as is the case all around Europe, but I wonder if this is the case with, say, French, German and Italian particularly in Spain. Surely, there is a strong tourist presence from those countries. I know that there were waiters who spoke German at restaurants in southern Spain when I was there. Would you say the numbers of American tourists is greater than the number from the other countries I mentioned? Would you say it is true that Spanish, in general, is not spoken outside of Spain?

I recently visited Amsterdam and was amazed at how much English was spoken. I saw Dutch store owners greet even Dutch customers in English. Maybe it was just easier to do it that way, I don’t know. I am not sure that their command of French or German was that good.

Are there any specific things that mark us as Americans? Other than the fact that we are: loud, fat, demanding, wear shorts and white gym shoes, carry cameras and don’t speak a word of your language? I remember some German nationals even telling me that it was the way we had our hair cut. The other interesting point is that — I am generalizing here — most American men wear some sort of hat. A baseball cap or flat cap or something. I have heard that Spanish men do not do this. I love hats and I never know what I should bring and/or wear in Spain or any other European country.

And now, just an observation based on some of my experiences, not just on my most recent trip, I can understand why we Americans are so hated by people from other countries. Some of the things that were said and done just made me want to crawl under a rock and die.

I look forward to hearing any and all ideas and opinions!

Many thanks.