OLD BLOG – At least Try to Speak the Local Language (except in Scandinavia; nobody expects that)

Even when your attempt at Italian comes out in Spanish, they seem to appreciate the effort. 

On the Vineyard Paths

We discovered a Europe full of English speakers, as long as we never assumed that the person would speak it.  Start in the native tongue, no matter how garbled (but it has to be genuine), and we found that people would take pity on us.

There were a few small towns (and a working class football bar in Marseille) where I was really forced to rely upon my conversational French to interact with the locals, but most people spoke English – the key is being someone they actually want to speak to.

We also came across a few Americans who complained of “rudeness” or “poor service” in some of the very same shops or restaurants where we’d had excellent experiences.  We can only assume that they entered the transaction with an air of entitlement.  This tip probably applies anywhere you go and can be summarized as, don’t act like an jerk and people won’t treat you like one.

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