Holidos and Don’ts: When in Rome

Do like the Romans… or the French. Or the Americans… or the Asians… it’s Holidos and Dont’s: When in Rome.

These are the foreign customs that catch us out, but the trick is forearmed is forewarned.

And play it safe.

Back in the day when I was going to Italian classes I tried out an idiom in Rome on the concierge.

‘Buona notte e sogni d’oro’, says I, and the concierge would shoot a smile back.

When I returned to class Donata was aghast when I told her.

‘Good night and dreams of gold? You only say that to your girlfriend, Jim.’

So here’s a quick guide on other customs and sayings to keep you right:

Italian caffé

Italy: An easy one to start with. Never order a cappuccino after 11am.

Italians consider milk too heavy for after dinner or in the afternoon.

They will make an exception for macchiatos but that’s only a dash of milk.

And if you want an espresso, order a caffé (not a coffee shop) and that’s what you’ll get.

Check out my review of a walk through Lazio in Small Roads Lead to Rome… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/

And check out all things Italian at the website www.italia.it

Faux-pas in France

France: In the land that gave us the faux-pas, simply greeting somebody is fraught with difficulty.

If you want to be French (mais, oui) then you’ll want to kiss the person you meet on the cheek.

It’s usually the left cheek but there are regional variations, and you wouldn’t want to end up kissing a stranger on the lips.

I’d just shake hands.

And this is all before you get to what time of the day you go from saying Bonjour to Bon Soir.

How do they do it in the chic Cannes. Read my review… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-boat-dazur/

And visit www.atoutfrance.fr for all things French.

Big in Japan

Japan: Etiquette is everywhere in Japan.

This one we like.

In Japan it’s the customer who should be thanked in restaurants so it’s not the done thing to tip.

Tips in America

Americans have been known to run after you if you don’t tip.

So, some general guidelines.

If you buy a drink at the bar, it’s probably a dollar, 15 to 20% in restaurants.

A fiver for the concierge, a dollar for the bellhop (don’t know why) and I usually leave a fiver for every night stayed for the housekeeping.

Where do I start with my American reviews.?

Why not the worst waiters in the world, those in Hollywood who would rather be waiting table for Spielberg. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/

And check out Visit USA. http://www.visitusa.ie. www.visitusa.ie and www.visitcalifornia.com.

Bad hair day in Jordan

It was never going to apply to me but one of our party quickly stuck her hair in a bun.


Her hair was wet, and Jordanians think women going out with wet hair have loose morals.

Not sure what it’s like in other Arab countries but best check first.

And also check out my review from Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/

And the Jordan tourist board. www.visitjordan.com

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