I’m a member of the Matador Network, loads of great stories and pictures. One of the ones I read today got me thinking about the time I spent in Zagreb last year.

It was hot and I wasn’t feeling very well when I got off the train from Budapest, getting to the hostel I had been greeted by a very impatient woman behind the guest who had zero understanding of customer service. It wasn’t a good introduction to Zagreb and Croatia in general.

It was much later in the day before  I met some of my fellow travellers, a German and an American (unfortunately I can’t remember tier names and have lost some of my travel notes). there was the usual conversation, where are you from, going, and the other usual stories and jokes. Later the following day I was feeling a bit better and ran into the American guy again, he was heading out for a few drinks at a bar he knew of and I was invited, I agreed and we went down to watch Michael Phelps win yet another gold in Beijing.

While watching the inevitable I got chatting to another American guy, who knew the owner of one of my favourite record shops (Amoeba Music). He was of course invited to the bar too.

Sitting around a wooden picnic table outside a little shed like bar near the top of the funicular railway I was discovering a bit about a stereotypes, English stereo types. The German was shocked I didn’t like football and didn’t drink much (I don’t drink much normally these days and my current state of health was limiting that even more).

It was hard for the hard drinking football loving German to understand that English guy didn’t like football, it is a an unfortunate stereotype, drunken football fan and I hate it. I found I was surprised to be with two well travelled Americans and realised I was doing the same thing. I had a little laugh and decided not to do this again.

Now apart from trying to remove my countries stereotype, I’d like to say that everyone I met in that hostel (except the staff) were friendly and helpful. I hope I do not stereotype Croats in the future because of one experience and I hope anyone not from England reading this will not expect every English man to be a football fan, some of us like real sports!

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