Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The funny European moments I didn't tell you, round 1

So I blogged for I think it was 39 straight days. Then I came back and returned to being boring. This is why, even though I've been thinking about this post since before I left Europe, it is being posted now, nine days later.

As you know if you've read my blog -- or have met me -- I am really quite dumb for a smart girl. Combine that with my innate awkwardness and the fact that traveling solo for weeks at a time presents unusual challenge and just tends to make one, well, weird, and you get some really good moments. Many of these made it into my blog throughout the trip. Others did not. Here's the first round of stories, in no particular order.

Falling up 
I'd planned to go to church as much as possible during this six weeks, and by week five had been an admirable zero times, so I made a concerted effort in Prague to go, even finding the building the day before. Come Sunday, my alarm went off, I got up, got ready for church and walked to the nearest subway stop. I was on the subway, halfway to church, when I glanced at my watch. It said 9:30. 9:30! Church started at 9! How did this happen?

I pulled out my phone; it said 8:30. I breathed easier, then spent the rest of the subway ride puzzling over the mystery of my watch. Did I accidentally set it forward? It seemed weird that it was exactly an hour ahead, but that seemed more likely than the Prague demons setting it forward to throw me off. I dismissed the whole thing.
Days later, Rachel and I were discussing Daylight Savings Time, and she wondered if Europe practiced it. She looked it up; they did, only they fell back a week earlier.

At no point had I attributed my watch being exactly one hour ahead on a fall Sunday to the annual tradition of Daylight Savings Time.

Adjust your equipment
Getting to the BMW museum was something of a hassle, so when I got there I didn't want to waste time. I also didn't want to pay for a public bathroom, so I took advantage of the facilities. As I was exiting the stall, I passed a mother and her (far too old to be using the women’s restroom) son on my way to the sink, who appeared to be whispering to each other.

At the sink I happened to glance sideways and discover I had tucked my skirt into my underwear. Not a little bit, not just the hem – my entire rear end was hanging out.
I'm sure they weren't whispering about me, although I suspect I would have been.

Congratulations for what?

 I flew from Dublin to the Netherlands on Ryanair, a budget airline that flies throughout Europe. When the plane landed in Maastricht, a triumphant noise came over the PA and a voice said, “Congratulations! You were part of another successful landing.”
Is that supposed to be encouraging?

I realized later it said successful on-time landing, which makes a lot more sense. It feels like announcing that “Whew, we landed without crashing” isn’t really going to inspire a lot of confidence.

Bare necessities
I crossed skinny-dipping off my bucket list in Germany. It just made sense to take advantage of the nudey spa. I mean, I was already running around in a towel, and if someone walked out and saw a naked person in the pool, they would think nothing of it.

But it required a lot of thinking on my part. Once I realized I was alone by the pool, I had to talk myself into it. Right as I’d built up my courage to shed my towel and jump in, somebody walked out. Again, I suspect he would have thought nothing of it. I freaked out, awkwardly sat down like that's what I'd been planning to do the whole time I'd been huddled by the pool and waited for the area to clear. Then I threw down my towel and jumped into the coldest swimming pool I'd ever been in. (It was 40 degrees and raining in the shadow of the Black Forest, so I probably should have seen that coming.) I got out quickly -- partly because I was naked and partly because I was really, really cold.

Lost him I did

I'd never stayed in hostels before this trip, but I'd gathered enough information to feel like a flashlight would be a good investment. I never really crystallized why I thought this, but I did. However, flashlights are kind of big and bulky, and I didn't really want to haul that around.

Yoda on a keychain with an LED light is not big and bulky, however, and I just so happened to have LED Yoda on a keychain, so I brought him along for the ride. He got a lot of use.

His usefulness was almost cut short in Dublin, though. I was walking down the street when I heard somebody yelling at someone to stop. I ignored this, as all people do when strangers are yelling at other strangers.

Except the guy was yelling at me, to tell me I'd dropped my toy.

"Oh, it's Yoda!"

Yeah, there's really  no way to come back from that.

Tune in tomorrow for round 2.

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