We often get the most sage advice from the simplest sayings. Like the one that says "after you've crossed the Ocean once, you will always be on the wrong side." Ever think this when you've come home after a wonderful trip? And this, which I heard from a German man who works in Switzerland and was sitting at the next table. "In countries where nothing works, everything is possible. In countries where everything works, nothing is possible." This says much about the differences between European cultures. Knowing this may even help recognize the showmanship typical of Italians. If you've ever had contact with Italians you are sure to bump into a few who offer what seems like an exaggerated sense of what can be accomplished. There are lots of reasons why this saying is dead-on when describing function and possibility in northern and southern countries. Take, for example "the French are like the Italians, but in a fowl mood." There is a universal truth, not only making us smile, but acknowledging profound wisdom in just a few words.

Stereotypes are assumptions that apply to large numbers of people and sayings offer some explanation to culture's many facets. They are generously attributed to all of us, no matter where we come from and resonate after one has had direct experience with travel. The saying often originating from the most unlikely sources are the most poignant. Sayings, like anything else capture the essence of humanity. They also are what make old cultures so appealing. Perhaps you can come up with one yourself.

Posted on August 21, 2013 .