Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Europe: An Essay

The short version:

Frick and I went to the Netherlands and Belgium for vacation. Spoken language barriers rarely existed, because nearly everyone spoke good English in addition to Flemish. Written signs, instructions menus or descriptions were nearly universally in Flemish, so that was sometimes problematic.

Navigating the cities was particularly difficult for me for several reasons: 1) I’m retarded, 2) the grid system wasn’t in place, 3) many streets weren’t labeled (there were not sign posts, but instead the signs were mounted on the corners of the buildings), 4) many street names changed as the street went through the city, 5) narrow passageways that I considered alleys or sidewalks were actually streets, but often unlabeled, and 6) it was too easy to just let Frick figure it out.

Most of the time I just followed Frick around and had no clue where we were, what direction we were headed or where the hostel/train station was from our location. Still there were a few times that I was able to help figure out where we were.

The weather was warmer than I expected – probably mid thirties to low forties. I expected it to drizzle most of the time, but that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, more often there was a clear day with short intense rainfall that turned to hail/sleet and then stopped as quickly as it began. My packing was good for the weather.

We stayed in hostels and carried all of our stuff in backpacks. I showered almost daily and washed my underpants as daily. I didn’t wear a bra at all in Europe, Frick commented that the bralessness explained why I looked even flatter than usual. What a charmer.

I started writing my thoughts and it became a several page essay. I've broken it down for somewhat easier reading -- but the segments are all long and babbling and filled with monotonous sentence structures.

Day 1: The Journey to Europe

Amsterdam Arrival: More Bone than Chicken?

Amsterdam City of Bikes

Torture, War, The Church, Hookers

Belgium

Odds 'n Ends

Return Journey

I don't have any pictures, because Frick has the camera -- when he returns he might post some pictures.

3 Comments:

At 6:00 AM, Blogger George said...

Good stuff.

Can I be nosy?

In round numbers, how much did you spend on your trip?

Our daughter and some friends want to visit Europe for a couple weeks this summer and they don't have a whole pile of money saved yet.

Thanks:-)

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger jojo said...

George,

I spent roughly US$700 in Europe which includes everything but airfare: hostels, trains, gifts/postcards (probably $100), food, alcohol, museums, bike rentals.

Frick and I roughly took turns with expenses, but he'll agree that I paid somewhat more than my share. He estimated that we each spent around 50 euros a day.

We ate from restaurants/cafes/bakeries for most of our non-breakfast meals and could have saved money by using grocery stores instead.

Summer will probably be more expensive, however if she is under 26 and/or student, she will get train & museum discounts.

Hope this helps!

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger George said...

Thanks!

She will be 19 when she heads over, my wife is having a cow about letting her out of her sight, my wife seems to forget *she* went to France for 6 months when she was the same age:-)

She is budgeting about 2 grand for 10 days (not including airfare) so hopefully we won't have to wire her any money!

 

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