Last week, I embarked on a week-long, Amazing-Race style adventure across Europe, beginning in London, then Berlin, and ending with 3 days in Paris. Here are the 20 things I learned:
20. Food In Iceland Is Well-Packaged and Kind of Edible. During our layover in Reykjavik (preferred pronunciation: “Rakey Vac”), we marveled at the various foods being sold in their starkly modern airport. To begin with, we discovered a new flavor of Doritos… “Cool American”:
As promised, they tasted exactly like Jake Gyllenhaal. We also invested in a variety of authentic Icelandic candy, clearly packaged sometime between “The Cold War” and the season finale of “The Jetsons”:
The Icelandy people sure do love their licorice, as we soon vommingly discovered. They dip it in everything! Mainly chocolate and other brown stuff. That being said, I would have to rank the “Hraun Bar” and “Lindiu Buff” as my favorite candy bars in Iceland. So, to the one guy who hand makes all of them and then personally delivers each bar to the 200,000 or so people of Rakey Vac: Good job!
19. I want a Parisian Baby. No, really. These Parisian kids were basically the best. So well behaved. So well dressed. Like living breathing awesome dolls that you would actually want to raise and not abandon in a T.J. Maxx dressing room. My new goal is to get a Parisian baby and raise it until it’s about 11 years old. Then, in typical French fashion, send him or her to Milan to become a model/sleep with the elderly.
18. When Flying Easyjet, Speedyboarding is Key. Easyjet is the Jet Blue of Europe, only much cheaper and hassle free. And for an extra $15, you can be a “Speedy Boarder,” i.e. board the plane and pick your unassigned seats before the rest of the unwashed masses. If you ever want to feel like a celebrity for under $20, there is no better way. Marvel as you sit in your special cordoned off “Speedy Boarder” section with ample seats and legroom at the gate, while staring face to face with throngs of antsy travelers, standing shoulder to shoulder, pressed up against one another, wondering how you got the VIP hookup. One might even say it is a “speedy” way to feel privileged and American.
17. Paul Foot. English Comedian. Clearly Insane. Painfully Hilarious.
16. If You Think They’re Gay in Berlin, They’re Not. Berlin. A club ’round 1 am. My friend, a young attractive gay fellow, makes eyes at an attractive man across the bar. I look over and smile my welcoming “feel free to come over and chat” smile. After 10 minutes of this charade, handsome German finds my friend. And proceeds to ask about me. While this was fantastic for my own ego (believe me), it did perhaps create a rift between gay friend and myself. That is until the next day:
15. If You Think They’re Straight in Berlin, They’re Not. Lunchtime. Handsome, tall, German faced waiter, seemingly the only man in the entire country with a sense of humor. Flirts with me like a pro. Gives us our check and tells us to come back at 7 PM for wine. Which we do. I look amazing, like Drew Barrymore at the end of Ever After, wings, glitterface, crystal heels…. And guess what? He’s a big gay German. Has crush on my friend. Prospects of birthing blue eyed child? Nil. The lesson here? Don’t trust anyone in Germany.
14. People in Germany Have Forgotten How to Laugh as a Human Response. Just an observation really. Even their children are stonefaced and silent. Which is shocking given this is the nation with a giant orphaned polar bear as a mascot. Speaking of which!
13. Knut Has a Girlfriend. We went to the Berlin Zoo! And saw Knut, our favorite polar bear of all time. He issssss veryyyy brown. Covered in dirt. And guess what!! Knut has a girlfriend. She’s from Stuttgart. Of all the animals in the incredible Berlin Zoo, Knut was the only one that failed to impress. But that might in part be due to the fact that we made best friends with one of these:
12. Cassuary’s Are Bird Dinosaurs with Great Personalities. The most wonderful thing about the Berlin Zoo is one is able to get right up close to the animals. Like… inches away. And the zoo was pretty empty on this Wednesday, meaning you could spend some quality time with prehistoric dinosaur birds like the above Cassuary. Then again, sometimes it was possible to get too close to the animals:
11. Ostriches in Berlin Love Fanta. This one, for example, tried to peck mine out of my hand.
10. German Foods Sound Delightful! Especially if you’re Bulimic and/or Alfred E. Newman:
9. No One In Paris Has Heard of St. Germain. Not Even People Who Live On St. Germain. We figured Paris’ cup would be overfloweth with our favorite liqueur, St. Germain, made from Elderflower. In fact, no one in Paris had really heard of it. This is interesting to exactly none of you, but to me… a revelation.
8. Combs Are a Non-Entity. Hair in Europe is cahcahcahraaayzy. It’s like waking up from a morning orgy with a Slavic Basketball Team and a horse, grabbing 3 bobby pins, and beginning your day. We love it.
7. They Teach Their Children To Womanize at a Young Age. This mug is intended for a 6 year old who drinks red wine during homeroom, right?
6. The Daily Mail Ain’t Lyin. It Actually Happens in Europe. Different species of animals really DO become best friends forever overseas. We saw it live for ourselves!! With this baby hippo and… whatever… that other thing is called. They were nuzzling!
Must see closeup of hippo face:
5. MTV Germany’s Joko and Klaas. Meet the Carson Daly’s of Europe. If Carson Daly was like, supah hot and hilarious and charming. It’s Joko and Klaas, MTV Germany’s resident hosts. Both handsome, both funny, both speaking German the entire time so, really, we have no idea what their personalities are like. But strangely, we can watch them for hours. Here they are at the German Porn Awards — a thing. The fun starts at around 3:00 in.
You can also watch them play something called Porno Ping Pong here. Yes, they love pornos.
4. Parisians Are Friendly. Their Food, However, Sucks. Surprisingly, and despite stereotype, we actually made many local friends while in Paris. Those we met all had great sense of humors and were eager to chat. On the flip side, we barely ate one slightly delicious meal while in France. Really, the food basically sucked. Other than the bread, of course, which I ended up fashioning into delicious crutches and noshing on in between miles-long strolls. In a related question, does history have any proof that an American has actually had a bowel movement in Europe? Please e-mail me such proof at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Girls in London Need to Buy Coats. They Also Need to Stop Being Drunk Prostitutes. Raining, windy, cold, they’re still all about strapless dresses, sandals, and taking dirt naps in the sewers.
2. Cheryl Cole. Cheryl Cole is someone who is very, very famous in Europe. Ironically, co-blogger Sarah Walker tried to make her “happen” during my absence. 2 weeks ago, I would not have cared. Since returning, my brain has been a jack-in-the-box repeating this song.
Before you comment, no, clearly she is not talented.
1. I Love Tourists. JK. Only these two: