Saturday, September 06, 2014

Euro Nation

The Brutalism family is back from a two-week trip to Iceland, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brugge and  Brussels. (We generally like to travel in alphabetical order...Iceland was an aberration...) It was a great adventure and because travel is such a learning experience, I find it helpful to capture knowledge gained in a handy list format.

European travels, what I learned:

1) It is advisable to not share with your 8-year-old how much money you are carrying so when a dishonest Amsterdam cabbie insists he does not take credit cards and you (dishonestly) claim to not have any cash, she does not helpfully and honestly blurt out, "But, Mommy! You have 200 Euros!"

2) When you happen upon a contest at a beer festival in Antwerp that appears to be a bunch of drunken men throwing a large hand and you take a picture of the posted sign near the event to translate later, you realize that what you witnessed was, in fact, a bunch of drunken men throwing a large hand...
Oh, like that's so ridiculous...our most popular drinking game is called cornhole...
3) You feel like a big dummy when every single person with whom you interact speaks at least three languages and often many more. (A young kid checking us into the apartment we rented in Antwerp mentioned that he spoke seven languages after mistakenly telling us the dryer was “upstairs” from the washer instead of “above” and then apologized profusely when we looked confused.) Yes, the kid who had taken the trouble to learn our language apologized to us

4) A benefit of visiting Amsterdam for the first time at age 21 is that when you visit again many years later, it is like seeing the city again for the first time, as you will have absolutely zero recollection of anything. Except that the man is always trying to keep you down:
Hotel rules, explicitly designed to harsh our collective mellow. 
5) When you buy your first-ever pair of aqua socks to wear in the Blue Lagoon and model them for your husband the night before you leave, you experience another first...a sex-free vacation.
Aqua socks hidden. As God intended.
6) Food trucks in Brussels are a little more upscale than what we're used to: 
Is it physically possible to be drunk enough that food truck escargots
sound like a solid option? And that's coming from someone who ate
airport sushi in Reykjavik.
7) Mannekin Pis was much smaller than expected:
#thatswhatshesaid
8) It is fun to use military time as the Europeans do and to find a reason to insert it into every conversation (e.g., "I was thinking we should go to the museum at 1400...or perhaps 1430.") (See also: "Could you please STFU with the military time at now hundred hours?")

9) When you are touring an historic Icelandic town that housed the original Icelandic parliament and take a moment to appreciate the majestic beauty of a nearby waterfall, you may wish to avoid the historical marker explaining this is where they used to stuff women into sacks and drown them, as it makes the setting slightly less enchanting.


     10) Iceland becomes enchanting again when you get an electronic sad face on the highway when going too fast through a speed checkpoint.


Canetto is a lead foot.
    and because of road names like this: 

Canetto is also a Snorrabraut.
11) When in Belgium, it is worthwhile to sample frites with mayonnaise, waffles, beer and chocolates, especially those made by Belgium's "renegade artisan" and "shock-la-tier" that include chocolates with bacon, cola (containing carbon dioxide gas so they bubble in your mouth) and fried onions. It is also worthwhile to stage stupid photos in the chocolate shop...


















12) The assessment of Brugge by Colin Farrell's character in "In Bruges" (that being, "I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn't, so it doesn't.") while hilarious, is not something with which we agreed.
Belfry Selfie = Belfie
13) You realize that your husband was meant to be the father of a little girl when he returns the rental bikes after a two-hour ride in Brugge and asks (after hearing about it for two hours), "Did everyone have a good time? Even though everyone's vaginas hurt?"
Smiling through the pain.
14) When you are somehow given a room on the Executive level of your hotel which provides you with access to a happy hour in the Executive lounge every night, you quickly go from grateful and excited to blase and entitled when the same hot hors d'oeuvres are served two nights in a row (derisive snort).

15) You feel at home in Belgium when you notice your family name is represented in the straat- and plaat-a-palooza that is the Antwerp city street grid:   
My family name is C6.  
16) You quickly become very used to ridiculously gorgeous sights from your hotel room window, such as this:

and this:
This was the view we enjoyed one morning as "Ode to Joy" (the EU anthem)
 played in a nearby bell tower.
Eruption of Bardarbunga aside...well played, Europe,
Brutalism

UPDATE: Thanks to DC Blogs for linking to this post. (They felt it was a worthwhile read even though I left out the part about seeing all the bungholes at the Cantillon Brewery...)


And a couple of my other favorite pics from the trip:
Tim almost misses train. Avery laughs. Team Canedo FTW.
Getting a briefing from HQ.






5 comments:

Trish said...

Sounds perfect!

JenBC said...

Love. this. post. Best travelogue and pics. Welcome back. :)

اسلام خالد said...

Love. this. post. Best travelogue and pics. Welcome back. :)

cairomax said...

Love. this. post

dilettante07 said...

My cousin Mildred married into the C6 family. Didn't know they were Belgian.

Your blog is very educational. I thank you.