Watch Those Fingers and Do Say ‘Bon Jour’: Austin Adventures Posts Etiquette Tips, Foreign Phrases to Help Americans Blend In While On Adventure Tour in Europe

Billings, MT, May 20, 2011– Award-winning tour operator Austin Adventures (ALA -, the active travel company setting adventure tours standards in The Americas, Europe, Africa and beyond, has enhanced its mission to create meaningful cultural interaction while traveling on a Europe Adventure by posting on its website etiquette tips and a few basic phrases in five languages that will help guests break the ice with the locals and feel more comfortable on foreign soil.  

For example, in Italy they recommend that travelers “don’t talk about politics and the Mafia;” in Holland, “don’t discuss your income and possessions or the Dutch Royal Family” and even if you long to tap the middle of your forehead with your index finger – don’t!  It is a sign for “crazy” and considered impolite. 

Fingers are issues elsewhere. The index finger made into a circle with the thumb is verboten in Spain and Germany and it’s probably a good idea to avoid it elsewhere as it’s considered an obscene gesture. Don’t bring up Franco (in Spain) and the Nazis and even though you may drive a Mercedes back home, button your lip because not everyone in Europe can afford to.  But this may be the toughest one of all to get under an American belt. In France they don’t appreciate jokes but do like serious conversation. 

“That being said, the on-line language tips remind us that even though we’ve seen the Eiffel Tower in hundreds of pictures we’re now on someone else’s doorstep and it’s a compliment to our host to extend our most courteous hand by making at least a small effort to say ‘Bon jour’,” says Dan Austin, owner and founder. “It’s also a great way to meet and connect with people who are usually delighted to help you find a secret spot that only the locals know or the best place to eat in town. Your pronunciation doesn't have to be perfect; all that matters is that you are trying and that means a lot to the locals.” 

Austin’s team has thrown in a few notes on local customs as well:  

French: -- Instead of a 3-course meal that Americans are used to, the French traditionally serve 6 courses. In order, they are: hors d’ oeuvres, fish course, meat course, salad, cheese plate, and dessert. Bread and wine are also staples that are always on the table.

Italian: -- Italians take part in La Passeggiata daily. This is a stroll around the town at about 6 p.m. The purpose is to see and be seen and catch up with friends before dinner.

Spanish: – In a bullfight the Matador dedicates the death of the bull to his president or the crowd before performing his faena or “dance with death” when he stands in the arena with his sword letting the bull charge him until he finally kills it. This tradition dates all the way back to 711 A.D.

German: – Every year for 16-18 days from the end of September to the beginning of October, Germans celebrate Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is the largest fair in the world with more than 5 million people in attendance each year.

Dutch: -- Wooden clogs worn by Dutch people of the Netherlands are an iconic symbol of their culture used for Dutch dancing or worn by farmers. They keep feet warm in the winter, cool in the summer, have good support, and absorb perspiration. 

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About Austin Adventures

Austin Adventures, with a 37-year legacy, provides adventure vacations on five continents, has built an international reputation for small group active travel to destinations in North, Central and South America, Europe, the Pacific Rim and Africa. The company specializes in adult and family multi-sport, hiking, biking vacations that emphasize history, culture and nature’s charms.  Trips are limited to 12 guests (18 on family departures) and feature excellent regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, ALA offers customized trip planning.  ALA offers each traveler a money-back satisfaction guarantee. 

For free 2011 catalog call toll-free 1.800.575.1540, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To review current trips, schedules and itineraries log onto:

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