Since Ray's latest trip to Paris seemed such a parody of an American tourist, I can't resist to rub some salt into the wound.
Maybe this was Ray's only chance to get to Paris and if I was in his shoes I'd probably want to see all the things that are famous there, but this just doesn't make sense. Louvre, Eiffel tower, Notre Dame and only some hours in the Museum of Natural History... That's only a really small part of Paris and since he didn't even spend time there (Hey, both Notre Dame and the Louvre are worth at least a full day) it was mainly "Look, I've been to Paris" (Hey Ray, there are such tools as photoshop, if you want a picture of yourself in front of the Eiffel tower you don't have to travel to France)
Especially, I hate those Europe round trips (Cover all of Europe in less than ten days, or how do they advertise for them?) Japanese people usually make it in less than a week, but that's another story.
London, Paris, Rome, Heidelberg, Madrid, and enough time for shopping? Or, with a focus on Germany: Berlin, Heidelberg (what else?), Rothenburg op der Tauber, Nürnberg, Neuschwanstein, Munich? And then those open minded tourists come home and claim they have seen Europe or Germany? Believe me, there is more in Germany than mountains, beer and Disneyland castles.
Is that how Americans see Europe? Lovely little villages, marvelous old buildings, amazing castles,...
Don't misunderstand me. I like sightseeing, but it takes time. It takes time to see the small things that can tell you something about the town or the country. Notre Dame is wonderful but I like the view from the toiletts of the "Samaritaine", the Louvre is magnificent but I somehow prefer the "Musee d'Orsay", I have my personal picture of Paris. It's not perfect and objective but at least I learned some things about Paris that I can't see in documentaries. I don't think it makes sense to go to exact the same spot where every tourist in Paris takes pictures of the Eiffel tower.
I've seen a lot in Europe, even the popular sights, but I really prefer the small castles in France, the unknown ruins somewhere in Germany, the 'not easy to reach' waterfalls in Norway, the unknown churches in Rome and all those small towns all over Europe where you're usually the only foreign tourist. Even if they don't speak English there...
So, please, if you want to see all amazing buildings in Europe, watch a documentary. Spend time at one place when you're on a sightseeing tour. Find your own treasures. And don't go to the Louvre just to see the 'Mona Lisa'.
Don't behave like Ray.
And next time I see pink haired old ladies blocking the bikeway and shouting "lovely" or "marvelous" at some buildings that have been there for several hundred years and won't vanish if they take the time to look for the sidewalk, I simply don't stop...