Posts Tagged: Europe

A Eulogy for My 2nd-most Reliable Travel Companion

As border security in London dismantled my bag looking for drugs, they found another fun piece of contraband: my prized, five-inch hunting knife. I like to think that no one on the Eurostar train 9040 was going to f*ck with me. That was its last gift.

“You’re lucky they didn’t catch you with that out there,” a border agent points towards the rest of the station, “they would’ve arrested you. Knives are a little bit different here in the U.K.

I momentarily got that heady rush of American bad-assness.

Ohne Bananensaft: A Few Notes on the German Beer Myth

So, ran a piece of mine covering German beer mixes. Despite the sardonic tone of the article, it springs from an earnest desire to try, what I feel, is the true, modern drinking culture of Germany.

But, oh god, does it look delicious. (Jamie Peacock/September 2012)

The Germans don’t make “good” beer. They make time-tested styles of beer, and their populace has long come to depend on a level of beer quality and service most cultures care not to maintain. Seriously, even the dive-iest sh**hole in the former East knows how to pour one with a perfect head. (The asian restaurant down the street…well, that’s a whole other story).

But any American who dabbles in craft beer connoisseurship will be utterly “whelmed.” Dare I say, “underwhelmed.”

When Words Won’t Do: A Day with the Dead in Paris.

One thing about ancient cities: they’ve spent a long time dealing with death. Paris is pretty ancient. In its catacombs, you can almost witness the point where dealing with the dead went from sacred memorial to menial job, until finally they ended up turning the dead into an art–a sort of sacred-memorial-menial-job hybrid.

Walking along a underground cavern lined with human skulls and ancient mausoleums isn’t the sort of thing that translates well into words. So we set Lily next to them and snapped some pictures–like some kind of “Adam’s Family Vacation” photo album.

Don’t forget to impress your friends by commenting and sharing. Enjoy!

When Words Won’t Do: Je Ne Sais Quoi in Paris

Family. Cheese. Croissants. And, honestly, a lot less B.O. than I expected. Though the smell of urine permeates many corners, Paris is still a hell of a place to kill a few days. Hopefully, these photos serve as proof of that.

Iván, old bathroom floors, and Catalonia (Spain)

I was recently tearing up the floor of a bathroom in Leipzig, helped by a spaniard named Iván. Iván comes from northern Spain and speaks English the way I speak German–just enough to fool people into thinking you can understand what they say in response.

Ivan pries up floorboards laid down in either 1885 or 1950. Either way, we’ll both develop brain cancer from the mold and lead combination we breathed for two days. (Jacob Bielanski/2012)

Construction banter is funny when you don’t share a language. A lot of pointing, head shaking–in this instance, a drain on the 3rd-floor bathtub broke (or had been broken for a while, we’re not sure) and soaked the floor through to the ceiling below. A floor originally constructed in 1885 must be ripped up. To give you an idea, dirt and rocks are what they used for insulation between the joists. Iván and I pause frequently, sharing a lot of head shaking.

McDonald’s in Paris

When a single look defines the whole day. (Jamie Peacock\2012)

It was somewhere amongst the screaming kids and the 25cl Heinekens (note: that’s, like, 8 ounces) that I realized that we’re all humans: infinitely capable of being fat, stupid and annoying.

God I hate (other peoples’) kids.

But that’s not France. That’s not Paris. It is, but it also isn’t.

When Words Won’t Do: Farleigh Castle and Other Old English stuff (Salisbury)

Once you figure out how not to crash cars while driving on the left side of the road, the island of “England” just opens up. You can virtually fling a dart at a map of the U.K. and hit a destination full of history and quaintness; in fact, that’s virtually what we did. On our way to Salisbury (for a giant cathedral) and Bath (for, well, ancient baths, I guess?) we found ourselves delightfully diverted to small churches and ancient castles.

We were never more too far from a nice warm, flat pint.

Here are some visual highlights, worthy of your time.

When words won’t do: London

Yeah, I’m pretty crafty with the wordsmithing. But some thing are virtually indescribable. You need light, color, a really nice camera, and someone who knows how to use it.

Without further “adieu” (get it? I’m in Paris Haha)…

They are experts at herding tourists in London. Note the words on the ground. (Jamie Peacock/2012)

Driving in England

This is a picture of me driving from the passengers side, as far as I’m concerned.

“I’m just going to hang up,” I hear Jamie’s voice through the car rental guy’s iPhone, “because I don’t know what to say.”

Yeah, ten minutes after renting a car, I side-swiped a parked Land Rover. The shocking part is that they immediately gave me another car. I took it, pondered the possibilities, and decided to go driving for a few days anyway. I’m glad I did.

Iceland: The Truck Stop to Europe

Iceland Air apparently thinks that insanity is the reason people choose one country over another. Their ad campaign was specifically designed to glaze over a desirable feature of their home country in order to emphasize an inversely terrifying other feature. For example, one ad read “Iceland isn’t just known for it’s beautiful fjords and use of clean energy, but also for the fact that over 50 percent of the population believes in elves.”