A few months ago, we did a piece on a viral thread that had Europeans revealing their biggest WTF moments while traveling in the US. But since planes fly both ways across the Atlantic, let's turn the tables, shall we?

Turns out, Reddit user Cyber-Gon submitted a question to r/AskReddit, asking: "Americans who visited Europe, what was your biggest WTF moment?" and their answers are just as entertaining as the Europeans'.

From divine German tap water to the number of bicycles in the Netherlands, here are some of the most-upvoted replies!

#1

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Y'all get how many days of paid vacation?! And sick leave? And public healthcare?! And you don't live in a socialist hellhole like I've been told? America, you lied to me!

BarcodeNinja , Rene Schwietzke Report

Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
1 month ago

Lol 😂

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#2

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Tripped on an escalator in England. Got stitches. Was laughed at when I offered to pay the bill. "What bill? This is the civilized world."

godzillabobber , presidenciamx Report

Rick
Community Member
1 month ago

The person shouldn’t have laughed at you and instead gave you the appropriate form to complete in order to pay for the service you received from the NHS as a non-British citizen.

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#3

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Toulouse, France, I went to a nice restaurant and ordered dinner. When it arrived, I was like, 'Where's the rest of it?' The waitress laughed, as she grew up there and in Canada. (I'm from Brooklyn, New York, where portions are huge.) She calmly told me to eat it and if I was still hungry to order another one. By the last bite, I was stuffed. That was my WTF moment: when I realized how rich and high quality the food was over there.

Doc580 , beccafawley Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

I am always overwelled by American portions, and I was born and raised here. American portions are ridiculous. Where else in the whole world would you have contests to see who can eat a 2kg (72oz) stake the fastest?

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#4

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks It boggled my mind how old everything was and how it was still integrated into everyday life. Like in the UK, drinking in a pub that had been in the same spot since the 11th century or eating dinner at restaurant in an 18th-century cathedral. Or in Prague, staying in a hotel that had been operating since the 15th century

ronluvstwizzlers , Gonçalo Trincão Cunha Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, history was a thing that happened.

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#5

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks My biggest WTF was coming back to the States. Seemed like such a downgrade.

raditz495 , Aero Icarus Report

Mr. Derpy Dino
Community Member
1 month ago

lol it kind of is... Ive always dreamed of going to Germany, but the cost of living there is a ton.

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#6

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Not American, but Canadian.

First time I went to Ireland, I go through customs and the agent says to me...

"business or personal"

"personal"

"oh yeah, what's up?"

"Visiting the Inlaws."

"first time in Ireland?"

"Yes sir"

"feck*ng eh... Well, why ya standin around. go get pissed.

golbezza , Willis Lam Report

Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
1 month ago

Sounds very Irish 😂😂😂😂

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#7

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks We were driving through Spain, and to the side of one of the roads, we noticed these MASSIVE bird nests in the high power electrical towers. They were at least twice the size of eagles nests that I had seen. And there were so many of them!

Then we saw these giant birds in them! We stopped by the side of the road and tried to take some pictures (didn’t have a great zoom lens, sadly). But no one else was stopping. It was so odd. We are accustomed to at least a few people stopping to watch the osprey, eagles, or other birds where I’m from.

So a few days later, we are chatting with a German tourist, and we bring up the birds...

I think she thought we were joking until we pulled out the pictures. Then she started laughing.

Storks. Those are storks. Of course, don’t you know that? They are everywhere and such a nuisance. Don’t you have storks in America?

Well...no?

Then she looked confused. Well, if you don’t have storks, who brings the babies in kids stories?

Storks.

Um...how does that work?

And that was when we realized that the story of the storks makes a whole lot more sense when storks are nesting on every chimney, tree, or tall place...

notwearingwords , Bernt Rostad Report

Premislaus de Colo
Community Member
1 month ago

In Poland the storks are believed to be noble birds and are extremely regarded and respected. Some people would purposedly build starting of the nests for them just to have them in the neighbourhood.

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#8

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks French butter made me stop and reflect on the beauty of being alive. I didn't think butter could be improved upon, but holy sh*t. So creamy."

jjbutts , Justin Henry Report

Jos Poisquet
Community Member
1 month ago

We only eat the real stuff

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#9

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks If something costs five euros, it's exactly that. Tax is included.

Aaron1570 , Jeremy Noble Report

Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
1 month ago

Of course.

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#10

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Europe, wait staff are paid a living wage so they do not need tips. The eating experience is much more laid-back and slower in Europe, relative to America. It also seems like [European] wait staff is never trying to force you out of the restaurant once you are done eating.

canesfan8193 , Shutterbug75 Report

Jos Poisquet
Community Member
1 month ago

Indeed, we are very polite in Europe

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#11

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Went to Dover England and saw a mother f*cking castle. The newest section was built like 300-400 years before my country was founded. Turned a corner and the next part was 200 years older than that. Ten minutes later walk up to a Roman light house built 2000 years ago. Daaaammmnnn

Edit: The best part was we arrived the night before we went to the castle. I didnt see it on the ride to the hotel. (We get inside and our room is the largest room we had seen at any of our hotels apparently the hotel was built by an American company so the rooms were built like they would be In the US.) I open the curtains to see what is out my window, usually a parking lot, another random building or something boring. Not today Yank, not today. CASTLE.

nobodytrickedme , Wikimedia Commons Report

Sue Simmons
Community Member
1 month ago

Love this. Lived in USA 21 years and laughed at how old Americans think is old.

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#12

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks I lived in Spain for 9 months at one point and was trying to get to the supermarket in the middle of a weekday and the entire city center was blocked off. I had to park and walk a ways and discovered that they were having a giant block party. Kegs and all. Around noon. Celebrating the towns new garbage trucks.

I love Spain.

Inspectorcatget , Salim Virji Report

Katie
Community Member
1 month ago

Totally awesome !!

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#13

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Funny enough, my biggest WTF moment came from an American. We were at a restaurant in Cinque Terre, Italy called Trattoria Dal Billy. About halfway through our meal, I overheard a guy with a Tennessee/Arkansas accent say, verbatim, in a frustrated tone "you need to speak more American!" to his waiter. This isn't Rome. This isn't Venice. It's a small town called Manarola. The odds of finding someone fluent in your language are drastically lowered; however, this guy was pompous enough to not only continue to berate his waiter, but then tell the manager who came around that he needs to hire someone who can speak American...in a foreign country...of which he obviously speaks ZERO of their language. Seriously, WTF!

westicular , ongchinonn Report

JennyLaRue
Community Member
1 month ago

They fact they think "American" is a language explains it all really

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#14

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks I was doing a study abroad program in the UK but also had to take monthly blood tests for a medication I had been put on before I flew over. I was fully prepared for a laundry list of paperwork and fees to deal with the tests as well as getting these results to my doctor back in the states.

After the first blood test I went up to the receptionist and asked what I owed. She looked at me with a bit of confusion and said, "Oh, no, you're fine you can just go." My doctor doctor also got my blood results in less time than they did when I got them in the states. Screw our broken healthcare system.

Glass_Jaw , valelopardo Report

I I
Community Member
1 month ago

socialist medicine at its best

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#15

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Went to Denmark on a whim with some friends. The biggest surprise was when I realized that I had met a ton of strangers over the course of a week and I had no idea what they did for a living. Never once did we talk about work or school.

Ninjasensay , Free-Photos Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

Amazing insight I'm going to screen cap this and repost to instagram. Americans are so brainwashed they don't know how hard they're being screwed.

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#16

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Every night in Spain, around 3 a.m. this MASSIVE fleet of street scrubbers, vacuum-mobiles, and water hoses appeared and cleaned the entire city for about an hour. It was like ~100 people every night just cleaning the city. The following morning, all of Salamanca was spotless. That sh*t was magical.

reddit , Garry Knight Report

respulero
Community Member
1 month ago

Better they do it. Salamanca is full of students partying all nites

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#17

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks My biggest WTF moment was when I visited England and people respected me a lot more when I told them I was canadian and not american (I'm actually canadian)

General-Snorlax , waferboard Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
1 month ago

Now that America is untrumped you might get some of that luv for being American too

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#18

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks When I️ visited the hospital and had X-rays done, spoke with two doctors, and was triaged by a nurse, all with no health insurance, and my total bill was 24 euros. Then I️ had to pay 10 additional euros for some painkillers, again with no insurance or anything.

literocola431 , AlarconAudiovisual Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
1 month ago

I believe it is called basic human rights. Something about the right to live and have health taken care of.

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#19

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In my early twenties, on my first trip to Europe, I took an Italian ocean liner, New York to Genoa. My WTF moment was going out on the deck on morning six for the foggy passage through the Straits of Gibraltar. Europe emerging through the mist on my left and North Africa on my right, coupled with the awareness of how many voyagers throughout history had sailed through that passage (including my Italian grandparents traveling in the other direction), gave me chills.

Roundaboutsix , timeyres Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

Ooooh, that sounds wonderful.

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#20

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Not paying for a gynecological exam. I developed an ovarian cyst while in England that was causing some pain. I made an appointment at a health clinic and was examined. Afterwards, I expected to pay because A) that's always the first thing that happens in US healthcare and B) I was a foreigner who had never paid into the UK National Health Service. They just laughed and said, "We don't take money for services and we'd have no idea what to charge you".

Mind blown. God save the NHS.

SnapesGrayUnderpants , orzalaga Report

Nat Hedley
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

You're our guest. We don't bankrupt you just because you got ill while you visited.

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#21

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Amsterdam, the number of bicycles outside the central station. How the F do people find their bikes once they park them?! Also, the Dutch are easily the most graceful cyclists. The way you guys can weave through dumb folks standing in the bike paths is outstanding.

gezelligs , frank saptel Report

Laura Mende (Human)
Community Member
1 month ago

You know your bike (type, colour, etc) and then you recognise it. So simple... 😂

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#22

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Spain, the siesta is real. I just thought that it was an archaic thing that some people did. Nope. Everything shuts down for an hour or two. Even in super-touristy places, 99% of shops and businesses shut down.

the_planes_walker , Scottb211 Report

Pittsburgh rare
Community Member
1 month ago

This has to do more with extended working hours rather than actual siesta. Shops are open from 9-10 am to 8-9pm, so in order to not make more than 8 hours a day they have an unnecessarily long lunch break, but workers in big cities rarely get to have lunch at home, let alone take a nap.

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#23

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Blatant nudity everywhere. Porn mags just sitting at the front of newsstands in the middle of the city. A giant graffiti penis and nobody cared. Made me realize how prudish we are in the US

reddit , Stan Wiechers Report

Oerff On Tour
Community Member
1 month ago

Americans have the right to bare arms. Europeans have the right to bare their entire body

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#24

This was a few years ago before "chip" credit/bank cards were like "a thing" in the States. But when I stopped in Amsterdam, and hoped over to Latvia, I discovered that in both countries, my DEBIT card that needed to be swiped to buy anything, was like a weird old relic. Every cashier everywhere gave me a confused look when I handed them my card and they saw it didn't have a chip. They would, after I politely mentioned it had to be swiped, question whether or not that was even possible with their register. They always looked shocked to discover that the little slat along the side of their credit card thing was to be used to slide a card through. And when it actually worked, they always looked even MORE shocked. That's the first time I learned "Oh damn. Maybe America is behind in a lot of ways." Because everyone looked at my card as if it were carved out of stone and would pay them in some Flinstones-style currency that they were convinced they couldn't actually accept. By Day 2 of the trip, even I was like... "You f*cking American assh*le with your ancient technology."

ameadows252 Report

Rick
Community Member
1 month ago

A guy from an American company shouted at me a few years ago when he wanted to fax something over to our office and I told him we didn’t have one. He angrily asked why we didn’t have a fax machine. I replied “because we’ve moved on from the 1990s”.

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#25

How easy and unencumbered by useless bullsh*t most things are.

Getting on a 5:30 train from Burssels to Berlin? Show up at 5:20. And get laughed at by the Germans who will finish their beer at exactly 5:28 because they know the walk from the bar to the platform is 1 minute and 57 seconds.

In the states that would require showing up at 3:15 because of at least 4 security checkpoints and 8 lines of people who can't figure out how an escalator works.

FruitbatNT Report

Hayley Rodgers
Community Member
1 month ago

Not to mention in many places in the US you don't know if it will be late or early or whatever. From what I understand, things run more on time in a lot, if not most, of Europe

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#26

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks How to party like a German: pre-party on Friday at 11 p.m., get into club at 2 a.m., leave club on Sunday at 6 a.m. Germans are nuts, in a good way.

Ooooweeee , Matthias Ripp Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

Me in 2008

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#27

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks The quality of the fast food surprised me. Everything from the street vendors to chains like McDonald's was better quality then anything I'd gotten at home.

Creepas5 , Mike Mozart Report

Jihan Kim
Community Member
1 month ago

that's what travelling does to you

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#28

Late to the thread but here goes... Went to Sweden on a vacation package. Stayed at a wonderful historic hotel for part of the trip that had a restaurant inside of it. Part of our package called for a free dinner at the hotel and we had asked that it be the night we arrived.

We arrived and got settled in our room and then went to check out the restaurant. As soon as we walked in, there was no one there, only a hostess. She immediately said they were expecting us and we could sit anywhere. There was no one else in this gorgeous, ornate restaurant. A waiter came out and said they had prepared a special meal for us. We asked why it was so empty and he said the restaurant was closed one day a week and today was that day.

We were shocked, we apologized profusely and told them that we had booked through another company and would have just scheduled it for another day. He said it was no problem and we had some free extras such as wine and dessert. The main course ended up being a huge piece of meat, which we jokingly said must have been because we were big fat Americans. No one rushed us, we had a great time, and after we left they closed the restaurant for the night.

It was a total WTF moment because if you booked something like this in America, they'd either force you to reschedule or just have the restaurant closed with no explanation.

davidjoshualightman Report

J. F.
Community Member
1 month ago

Note: The staff probably got paid a lot extra for that shift

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#29

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Spain, everyone appears to be very thin yet I swear eats a loaf of bread a day.

WilominoFilobuster , Nikchick Report

lenka
Community Member
1 month ago

Bread is not the enemy. Especially if it is made from flour without the added thickeners, stabilisers and preservatives. In most European countries, bread, and other food, is real.

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#30

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks That their standard of living was just as high as ours, but everything was smaller. Smaller apartments, smaller cars, smaller grocery stores, and fewer jars of peanut butter in the smaller grocery stores.

LadyCeer , Kenneth Lu Report

JennyLaRue
Community Member
1 month ago

I've never known standards of living to be measured in quantities of peanut butter 🤔

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#31

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Orange Fanta ACTUALLY tasted like oranges.

_Dodge , Fredrik Rubensson Report

Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
1 month ago

Shouldn't it?

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#32

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Lisbon, feeling proud of myself for eating late like a local at 9 p.m....only to walk into an empty restaurant. By the time I’d finished eating at 10 p.m., the place was full.

western_style_hj , Free-Photos Report

Losferatu
Community Member
1 month ago

Portuguese cuisine is amazingly good.

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#33

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Italy, when buying a soccer ticket, they needed to know which team I was rooting for to determine where I could sit. Then, during the game, people were setting things on fire.

groovychick , Maggio7 Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
1 month ago

Aaaah, the tradition of stadium bonfires. Amazing how destructive people get and how quickly they get back in the prehistoric "wolfpack" mode when in an uncontrolled crowd.

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#34

Had a positive what the f*ck moment in Greece in the eastern Peloponnese where I saw a guy walk down to the end of a pier and throw an actual f*cking trident into the Aegean and pull out a wriggling octopus. Dude walked up the beach and handed it over the deck railing to a chef.

reddit Report

Bernd Herbert
Community Member
1 month ago

Congrats, you just saw Poseidon himself!

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#35

I lived in Germany for 8 years from 1992-2000 (Ages 4-12). I didn't realize it until I moved back to the states but there were recycling bins on EVERY street corner. It wasn't just a green bin then a trash can, it was a giant blue bin. One section for green glass, one for brown glass, one for clear glass, one for plastic, and one for paper.

Oh and going to a German school, students took public transit. There wasn't such a thing as a school bus.

bick803 Report

Carole Reid
Community Member
1 month ago

I saw kids with their school packs riding public transit to school in Germany and didn't think of no school bus until I read your post.

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#36

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks Most stores are not open on Sundays. Not even grocery stores.

copper_tulip , Kristina D.C. Hoeppner Report

JennyLaRue
Community Member
1 month ago

This one would depend on the country, in the UK shops are open on Sundays, although for a more limited time. (UK still being in Europe, if not the EU)

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#37

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks In Germany, they had the cleanest, safest, and best-tasting tap water, but nobody drank it and they called it toilet water.

efshoemaker , Paulo O Report

Jeannette Treusch
Community Member
1 month ago

I am German and I can tell you: only beer and wine fanatics call it toilet water. In fact, Germans drink gallons of tap water.

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#38

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks When I visited Prague, water cost two crowns and beer cost one.

AmA_Mr_BS , Petr Dadák Report

Ivo H
Community Member
1 month ago

Just to make it clearer - approximately 22 crowns is one dollar. And the prices are exaggerated of course :) Beer is ~30 crowns (~$1.4) and water... it depends. But I seen it for as much as 60 crowns (~$2) per litre in some restaurants. It's because there is (or maybe was) law, that at least one non-alcoholic beverage has to be cheaper than beer, so most of the restaurants put tap water for such ridiculous price on menu, just to comply.

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#39

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks British food. I went there expecting chip shops and roast dinner, but instead was amazed by every variety of tikka sauce that could possibly exist.

Tess_ORourke , visualpun.ch Report

Sum Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

What did you think they british were doing when colonising the world... stealing our foods

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#40

Americans-Share-European-Culture-Shocks I was 16 years old, ordering a beer at McDonald's.

NeetStreet_2 , Mike Mozart Report

Exquisite Spam
Community Member
1 month ago

Our school trip to Paris had wine and beer available at every meal. We were instructed in no uncertain terms we weren't to have it even though our meal tickets would cover it. Absolutely none of it smuggled up to the rooms noooo..

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