Day 23: If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

Nine countries. 18 days. $448.50. 

Welcome to the new American tourist of the 1950s and 1960s. Following the premiere of a documentary about these new European travelers: young, broke, and hip, “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium,” is a whimsical, pleasant satire. These new tourists are nothing like the wealthy Americans who could travel first class of generations past, such as Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier’s account of their year of traipsing through Europe. The new American tourist is ready to see the “real” Europe, whatever that was at the time, which included pre-paid packaged tours where they roomed two to a room, and it included all of their meals, tours, and transportation. 


If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” focuses on Worldwind Tour #225 with a friendly group of tourists led by their Don Juan tour guide, Charlie Cartwright, played by Ian McShane (John Wick, Pirates of the Caribbean).  The beautiful Suzanne Pleshette (The Birds) stars as Samantha, a department store buyer from Minneapolis who needed to get away from her day-to-day routine to think about what she wants in life. The other members of the all-star cast include Murray Hamilton (Jaws, The Graduate), Sandy Baron, Michael Constantine (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and Pamela Britton.


The enthusiastic, talented cast along with the stunning scenery of some of Europe’s most attractive sites, which gives it a charming appeal to a unique era of American tourism. Filmed on location in London, Amsterdam, Rome, the Alps, Venice, Germany, and Brussels adds to the feeling that you, the viewer, is also a tired tourist on a bus with the same people for 18 days. The hustle and busy of London, the enchanting view of the Alps, and the romantic scenes of Venice give the film a particular vintage feel about traveling.


One of my favorite scenes is at one of the war memorials and an American and German tourist share their intense, but differing versions of the battle to their wives. It is humorous and bittersweet. Along the way, the group loses one of their members, who accidentally joined a Japenese tour. Although their paths cross on a couple of locations, the poor husband is left to finish the tour without his beloved Irma. Eventually, they find each other and begin planning their next vacation destination: Japan.

This is by no means a filmmaking masterpiece, but it is a quaint, laid-back story of a group of Americans who find themselves together exploring the unknown. It is sweet and comical. As Ebert stated, “If It’s Tuesday” isn’t a great movie by any means, but it manages to be awfully pleasant. I enjoyed it more or less on the level I was intended to, as a low-key comedy.”

I hope you enjoyed the simplistic comedy of the film and thank you for choosing Worldwide Tours for your European adventure.

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