5 years ago
The American’s Guide to Europe: The UK (Part One)
  • Posted Aug 27, 2014
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‘Ello loves! After nine days of globe-trotting, and I am back stateside. The high altitude has faded, jet lag has subsided since as we know it’s easier flying westward than east, but I’m definitely still abuzz from being in the land of strong ciders, Cornish pasties, and infamous royalty.

Aside from Canadians, the British are our closest cousins. After all, more than 49 million Americans report English ancestry. “England and America are two countries divided by a common language,” and though we may look fairly similar, there is a hard line between our two cultures.

Luckily, we get a pass for certain first-time travel faux pas, as the Brits find us fairly amusing. Then there’s that stereotype in which everything we do gets chalked up to American bravado or innocent ignorance from a lack of passport stamps.

You can only rely on such excuses for so long, however. And, if you plan on staying past a fortnight, they expect you to be on the up and up on at least the basics—like pub etiquette!

We’re all about quick success in the states, so here’s a cheat sheet on how to shine like any worldly traveler when returning to the motherland:

 

Language

American Way

Description

British Way

Example

Subway or
Subway System

A mode of underground transportation

Tube or
Underground

You’re a fool to pay for a cab! Use the tube.

Bold or slightly rude

When you’re being saucy or slightly forward

Cheeky

Can I be cheeky, and taste your cake?

French fries or Potato wedges

Delicious carby goodness usually deep fried in fat

Chips

Would you like chips with your burger?

Potato Chips

Thin slices of deep fried potatoes that come in a bag

Crisps

Grab some crisps and a Ribena! I need a snack.

Movie Theatre
or the Movies

The silver screen

Cinema

We’re going to the cinema to see “The Theory of Everything.”

Trunk and Hood
(of a car)

Parts of your vehicle

Boot and Bonnet

Take that bag off the bonnet and place it in the boot so we can get going.

Note: Brits may be renowned for being polite, but they use loads of irony and sarcasm in conversation. Don’t take everything literally.

Transportation

Getting around London in a cab is a joke, and the fastest way to spend your already weakened dollar. Everyone—and I mean everyone uses the subway system. There are attendants at every stop, so the chances of getting lost are mitigated.

Plus, you can buy an Oyster card, load it up with £20 (about US$33) for unlimited off-peak travel across central London. For peak times, and getting around to other parts of town, the prices vary. My card lasted me nine days of travel!

Here’s a quick video on How to Use the Tube.

Stay tuned for Part Two where I’ll cover where to go and what to eat! Cheers for reading.

Have you ever traveled to the UK? What were the most obvious differences that you experienced?

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