(This a living document that will be updated often)
Recently, my buddy Dave asked me what I’ve learned during
my trek through Europe. Upon reflection I had accumulated a huge collection
of unspoken, every-day kernels of European wisdom that have become so ordinary
and customary that I had already begun to take them for granted as common
knowledge. I started to make a list and it took on a life of its own. I’d
like to share this knowledge with you now.
· 'Freelancing' doesn't mean people are gonna give you
· Immigration officials in the UK do not like to hear
the phrase "Well, technically I'm homeless."
· Having a decent grasp on Spanish will allow you to
successfully wing it on occasion when trying to speak Romanian,
with one very key exception; in Spanish, “muy” means
“very.” In Romanian “mui” is the infinitive
of “to give a blowjob.”
· Two words that you don’t want to see, hear or
even imagine side-by-side; “Extra-large” and “thong.”
· Do not skip rocks into the sea, while holding a plastic
cup of wine.
· Do not sneeze, while holding a plastic cup of wine.
· Do not pee, while holding a plastic cup of wine (ladies
· Do not run, while holding a plastic cup of wine.
· Do not watch the movie “The Ring,” while
holding a plastic cup of wine.
· Do not jump for joy, while holding a plastic cup of
· Do not jump for thrown keys, while holding a plastic
cup of wine.
· Do not jump for more wine, while holding a plastic
cup of wine.
· Do not walk backwards, at night, on uneven beach, while
holding a plastic cup of wine.
· Do not pan cook, with extra grease, shirtless, while
holding a plastic cup of wine (once again, obviously, ladies
· Do not wear the same light blue shirt that you spill
wine on, without fail, every single time you wear it, for eight
months straight, while holding a plastic cup of wine.
· Spanish women smoke so ferociously and tan so aggressively
that by the time they are 28, their faces and bodies are so
ragged and burned out that they appear to be in their 40s, with
a voice that only a coalminer could love.
· Due to the aforementioned unappealing and over-used
state of the Spanish women in their late 20s and older, the
social acceptance of a man in his 40s or 50s dating a girl in
her late teens is so widespread that these relationships are
casually depicted in everyday scenes, like major car commercials.
· Cute example of ancient laws still in effect in York,
England; You can legally shoot a Scotsman with a longbow from
the city walls, provided you spot him approaching on horseback.
· This just in; DO NOT even think of drinking and driving
in Bulgaria! The first time you get caught, you go to prison
for a loooong time. The second time you get caught, they execute
you… by firing squad. Whoa!!
· In clothing optional areas, inevitably it is the people
that you would least like to see naked that go the distance.
Double goes for Germany.
· By and large, the Spanish do not understand the concept
of a “garbage can.”
· Fortunately, Spain has a fantastically robust street
· (Not necessarily a European lesson, but nevertheless…)
Do not playfully spray canned, pressurized air on yourself in
an effort to be cute. It gets really cold, really fast.
Also, do not ever shake the can before using it. Trust me.
· Check to make sure that your very expensive digital
camera with numerous delicate moving parts is not in your day-bag
before you go to the beach.
· If you ever wanted to know what a sea urchin tastes
like, go up to the water line on any beach, get on your knees
and lick the ground.
· Never eat at a restaurant that has pictures of its
dishes out in front or that is located within two blocks of
any major tourist site.
· I was shocked by how many Australians knew of Minneapolis,
until I learned that it was only because of fricking “Beverly
· In Italy “five minutes” means an hour.
· Italian deodorant is detrimental to the effort of fighting
· If you see a huge group of tourists under the age of
50 all heading for the same place, check it out. It might be
· Never take directions from a drunk person.
· I don’t care what nationality you are, men should
never, ever wear thongs.
· No matter what continent, country or city you visit,
bus drivers are all rude, anti-social, constipated dickheads.
· There’s always room for wine.
· Just when you think that skirts can’t get any
shorter, they do.
· Money belts make you look fat.
· Being drunk at 10:00 the morning in Germany is socially
· A “Flying Buttress” is not a WWF, female
· Amsterdam prostitutes do not like to have their pictures
· If you’re feeling lucky, public transport can
be taken for free in Genoa, Verona, Venice, Stockholm, Berlin,
Salzburg, Prague, The Hague and Brussels (Metro only).
· “Omelet” is a relative term.
· None of the elevators in the Haarlem (The Netherlands)
train station work.
· If you find yourself trapped in an elevator in the
Haarlem train station, five minutes before your train is scheduled
to leave, bashing the control panel with your fist out of frustration
will only succeed in drawing your own blood.
· No matter what terrible thing has just happened, if
your mom asks you how you are doing, just say “fine.”
· When you are in a crowded, loud bar, if you can hear
one voice above all of the others, it’s either an American
or an Italian.
· Shower rooms in certain parts of Denmark are unisex.
· If someone asks you if you are younger than 26 and
qualify for a student discount, just say “yes.”
They never check.
· If you ask someone where the “bathroom”
is, they will either say that there isn’t one or you will
be shown to the showers. Ask for the “toilet.”
· Time flies when you’re drunk.
· As a tourist, you can and will be busted for J-walking
· Unless it is the last stop on the line, regional trains
only stop at each station for about 60 seconds.
· Be ready to get off your train the instant it comes
to a complete stop or you will get an unexpected bonus ride
to somewhere else.
· If your train starts moving away from your desired
station before you have had a chance to clamor off of it, with
supreme effort, you can throw yourself and your heavy bags off
the train at speeds up to 10 MPH.
· You can get sun burned in the Arctic Circle.
· Edinburgh is pronounced “Eh-din-brah” by
· The English language seems to routinely ignore it’s
own phonetic rules.
· If you’re riding on a bus, metro or tram and
everyone suddenly gets off at the same stop, no matter how sure
you are that you know what you’re doing, follow them.
They know something that you don’t.
· If you get trapped on a tram in Prague that abruptly
empties and heads into the garage, the driver cannot or will
pretend to not be able to stop and let you out until you are
deep into the garage.
· If, while in a public place in Norway, you go three
minutes without hearing a cell phone ring, the entire Norwegian
cellular network has crashed.
· Country where you will do your most drinking: Spain
· Country where you will shatter your travel budget:
· Country where you are most likely to get laid: Iceland
· Country with the best public transport: Norway
· Country that has such a bizarre computer keyboard configuration
that it will actually cause nightmares: Luxembourg
· City with the cheapest transport: Prague (totally free,
if you have the cojones. Otherwise a mere 25 cents)
· Even cheap wine in Europe is still way better than
half the stuff they feed us in the States.
· Nothing wilts a bad mood like a chocolate gelato.
· Never trust anything a Berliner tells you, not even
· Never buy a youth hostel breakfast. If it comes with
the price of the bed, fine, otherwise you can get a much more
satisfying breakfast at the grocery store for half the price.
· When you’re on the road, it’s almost impossible
to look good all of the time, but you can at least endeavor
to not look funny most of the time.
· European Mars Bar = American Milky Way
· European Milky Way = American Three Musketeers
· They don’t have a candy bar called “Three
Musketeers” in Europe
· At 33, you are considered to be a geriatric on the
· If you buy and wear a t-shirt printed with the name
of the city that you’re visiting before you have returned
home you are a geek.