It’s already some time ago that I wrote a Blog story because last year was a very busy and interesting year with hundreds of tours. And as a life artist you have to enjoy life as well. I learned a lot about people, it was almost like an anthropological research. If you are studying social cultural anthropology I advise you to make city tours, because you find out a lot about the difference between the people out of many countries and areas of the world and you will learn to understand cultural relativism. It is really amazing to see the similarity, also when you understand that the people from that areas, often see only the differences.
Different countries have different weather, language, history and education. You can see humans as computers who get programmed. The difference with computers is that computers are all the same. Humans are all different from energy and that’s why the programming creates also different humans. It is where people get the instructions how to act and behave in society.
If you are working with tourists you have to feel them and you see that they all react different on stories, Philosophy, jokes etc. Empathy is an important tool for a guide. My goal is always to explain the city and the attitude of her inhabitants. That makes moving in a strange city easier. I also try to create a friendly atmosphere and to make people happy. It’s their vacation and they like to have a nice time. And life is nice with happy people around. And of course is it easier with traveling people who are out of their day by day life routine trying to find some relaxation.
I had the most tours with people from Germany and other German speaking countries. They often call me the Flying Dutchman. And this Flying Dutchman learned a lot from his tour guests. When I started writing this article I suddenly read a newspaper article with an interview with Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission,
where he has been asked if there is one cultural Europe is existing. He answers no, like there is not one identity in the European countries itself. Even in his home country he says, which is the not really big country Luxembourg, there are differences between North and South like in all the countries he knows in Europe.
And that is exactly what I experienced with my tours. For example, that the people from England are different as the Germans you can imagine. But the people from the South and the North behave also different and also the East and West have different attitudes. The same thing we have in the Netherlands where the different arias show other behavior. Is it the weather? Well I think in Luxembourg the difference must not be too big.
Although the attitude from the South European countries is totally different as the North European countries, because they have more sun and a higher temperature. And they like to enjoy that during the day. That is also why they have another idea about the importance of work. When the weather is cold you better move to get warm. In the South it is the opposite. When it is raining with lots of wind you are not really enjoying every day celebration of life. When you come in Portugal out of your house and the sun is shining, you are smiling and like to celebrate the sun. Why selling your time of life for later, when you can enjoy now. And they like to dance with Bacchus!
And don’t forget about history and religion as well. We had lots of wars between the Catholics and Protestants. The Spanish but also before the Romans went to the south of the Netherlands and Germany. And there is really another way of dancing with life. The protestants with their rational interaction with the bible is different than the more superstitious and mystic approach of the Catholics. And the protestants cannot make a mistake otherwise they will burn in hell, where the Catholics have the confession, what gives also a different behavior. And another funny difference is that in the cold North, you have to work hard and not spend your money.
At the day of your death, you will go to heaven. In the South you are, when you leave the house, in heaven and you spent your money to enjoy life. I think this could be also one of the reasons for the difficulties in the European Union that clearly has her foundations in the Protestant way of life where work is holy.
I saw this opinion also in a recently published book called ‘The real (S) pain of Europe’ written by the Dutch businessman Vincent R. Werner, who worked among others for ABN and Apple. He is living 17 years in Spain and complains about the different ethics in that country if you compare it to the North European ones. I had to laugh when I read it, living 17 years in Spain and then still just judging with the Dutch Ethics where Work is holy.
When I visit the Netherlands I see how fast everything and everybody goes. There is always a goal or even more goals and people seem to forget that there is more what they can feel. That’s why there is a lot of stress and with holidays they come often to Portugal because everything is so relaxed.
This is not something new and maybe even more natural. Life as enjoying and not like born to be a worker. After the earthquake in 1755, to be precise 1 November, Holy Saint Day, Marques de Pombal tried with the rebuilding of the, until then, very religious city, to create a more north European model for Portugal.
To realize that, he invited managers from England and the Netherlands. They had a six year plan, but went frustrated back after 2 years because it was not working like they were thinking it would be. Yes time is different here. Maybe it would be better to do life a little bit like I do with my Philosophy, eclectic. Take the best from all the different ways of living! And enjoy Life!