"Mommy, Europe isn't as pretty as Rick Steves' videos."

These were my 10 year old daughters first impression of Italy. The garbage, homeless, graffiti, and people trying to sell you stuff constantly was overwhelming. Her thoughts in Spain and Portugal as well. Then our first day in Paris we went to Luxembourg Garden. Her eyes lit up and she said,"Mommy, this is the Europe of Rick Steves'." We are still in Paris with 20 more days of our vacation left. I just wanted to share this cute moment in our travels.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Unfortunately, like everywhere else, Europe has real cities with real people and real problems and it's probably better to be honest with your kid (they seem to be too impressionable when it comes to tv shows)...maybe Rick has painted it too much like a fairyland. Reality bites. Hopefully you weren't too surprised.

Posted by Sue
Sebring, Fl
5 posts

Agreed. I remember going to Capri and seeing all the trash floating in the water. Sad to see beauty spoiled as such. But, as noted, the world and its inhabitants can be pigs, to put it blountly. More reason for those of us who see it to make an effort to improve our planet. That should be the lesson.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9130 posts

Don't worry, some adults can't tell the difference between Rick Steves fairyland and reality either.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3205 posts

London and Amsterdam win first prize for the most garbage, and Amsterdam also wins for graffiti everywhere (even on almost every beautiful building), that we've ever seen... It blew my mind. So glad you all enjoyed the Luxembourg Gardens... I love it there... that's why I recommend it ad nauseum.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Geez Susan, I thought Paris would win the graffiti garbage prize, at least the northern area away from tourist areas. Should I be glad or sorry to learn there are worse? You have smart kids, Stay-ce

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7827 posts

Stay-ce that is cute!
My 11 yr old was shocked by the amount of garbage and graffiti we saw in many cities in Europe,, we just don't have same issues here ( oh we have others, but litter is not one of them. .lol ) If you get to Versailles please make sure dd sees Marie Antionettes Hamlet, and finds the "secret grotto" there... can't tell you where it is , we just discovered it ourselves by wandering the estate,, it will restore her visions of " pretty " and cute things in Europe...

Posted by Brad
Greeley, CO, USA
232 posts

Hey Stay-ce great story. We are going to Italy in three years. Very observant of her. We got back from Paris, Normandy, Bastogne and Frankfurt a month ago. We all loved the French, especially in Normandy and the Belgiums.
But my 15 year and 12 year old boys within five minutes of crossing into Germany on the way to Frankfurt said "we are in Germany now aren't we? We stopped at McDonalds (yes with a 6'2" 15 year old and 5'4" 12 year old we eat at McDonalds every four days or so when in Europe), immediately the cleanliness was apparent. You could eat off the parking lot and the bathrooms did not stink. We found few bathrooms in France in tourist areas that did not stink including the McDonalds.

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
201 posts

You probably need to spend time in the smaller towns of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We have made it a priority to stay away from large European cities for the reasons you mention.