You know when you’re at McDonald’s post-clubbing?
Yes, yes you do.
Everyone pretty much looks like hell. Girls are walking barefooted with feet dragging across the filthy filthy linoleum floor, dudes are squinty-eyed and discussing the night’s triumphs and mishaps, and it is arguably one of the grossest places to be picked up at at the end of the night.
There’s always a few people who are still club-drunk and are laughing loudly, sputtering out their menu order with the coherency of a toddler, and are generally making a fool out of themselves.
That’s Winda and I, the morning after we’ve broken Fabrizio’s ancient key, missed our morning train to Florence, and are subsequently left wondering our purpose in life in an Italian McDonald’s. We buy 1 euro espresso shots.
We are so. Freaking. hHngover.
It is 9:00 AM in Rome — we had to leave Fabrizio’s apartment due to his checkout policy/we needed to get out of there ASAP before we broke anything else of his.
We are laughing-slash-crying because our heads hurt so much from last night’s escapades. We look like crap. We have our giant backpacks with us — of which is comedic in itself because our backpacks look like they could eat us.
Just to backtrack a bit, this was not our only drunk night in Rome. We also had the opportunity to party with some ridiculous Italians.
Lemme tell you the story.
We’ve set up at Campo de’ Fiori. We have our mojitos, our grape-flavoured hookah. We are basking. A group of Italian dudes at the next table motion towards us to join their table. We submit to their boyish timidness (derived from speaking in broken English) and yet, their Casanova calibre assertiveness. They literally move all of our stuff — our drinks, hookah, table, and chairs — to join their table.
Naturally, they begin introducing themselves. Here we have a lawyer, e-commerce specialist, accountant, and..
“Taxi driver!” They exclaim in unison, pointing out their most outgoing friend whom had initially approached us. He smiles sheepishly. They pause for a second, taking in his self-consciousness. “… And stylist!” They add with enthusiasm/thick Italian accents, pronouncing it stye-leest!
We chat. They are hilarious. One of them, named Francesco, has an amazing handlebar moustache — reminiscent of our friend Alessandro — and continuously strokes it. They talk about their jobs and the friends emphasize just how stylish the Taxi Driver-sash-Stylist is. They really want us to know that he is more than just a taxi driver.
The Stylist invites us to a club.
We get into a cab and head to a Roman club. In hindsight, was it a good idea to get into a cab with strange Italians? I’m gonna say no…
Bumpin’ is not the word I’d use for the club we’re at — maybe simply interesting. The Stylist turns out to be an amazing dancer. Really amazing. Winda steals his stylish hat. We booty bump with Francesco. The Stylist does the Harlem Shake a few times. The ratio between men and women at this club is way off.
I can’t really remember all the details of getting home, but we do. A cab takes us back to our AirBnb in trastevere and I remember him asking for a kiss instead of paying him in euros.
Hard pass, my friend.
Ciao, Roma! You were so good to us.
Sidenote: I come back again for another adventure later on in my Eurotrip — this second time we meet two Italian boys who ask us if we’d like to break into the Coliseum! God bless the Italians.
We arrive in Prague. I’m recovering from an allergy attack, but am ready to bask in all the presence that is well-preserved buildings and el cheapo beer. We have heard rumours of Prague. Mainly that it is party central, dirt cheap, and that the ice cream is pretty legit. So we roam. We have dinner. Czech cuisine is particularly potato-ey. Winda and I are huge fans of their potato soup, and their beer is bubblier than expected.
It is fucking roasting in Prague, by the way. Stickiness is at an all time high, we are panting 95% of our time here, and it is a no-pants nation. As the sky dims on our first day in Prague and hordes of young travellers congregate in preparation for a night of debauchery (synonymous with Prague’s pub crawl), we wander into Prague’s Old City Square. It is très nice. The rumours are true–this is the equivalent to Helen of Troy–it is like standing in a fairytale come to life.
Face-To-Face With The Degenerates Of Our Country
We meet a fellow Canadian on our first night, and spoiler alert! I fucking hate him. As we’re seated having drinks on a patio–the evening air is all nice and serene, and with the Old City Square bustle in full view–we can hear his douchebag drawl from a mile away. “It’s called yellow fever in Canada,” he says knowingly to his friend, “Just go up to them and ask them how they are, and where they’re going tonight,” He’s purposely speaking very loudly. Homeboy’s got a case of unashamed, self-proclaimed yellow fever/most likely objectifies women on the daily. I obviously have to destroy him.
Canadian Douchebag is sitting with friends (which baffles me till this day, because really? He has friends?). His nice Hungarian friend asks us to take a picture of their group. Hungarian Friend explains that he’s here with his brother and his brother’s new wife (cue awww), and with his friend, Canadian Douchebag. He asks where we’re from, “We’re from Canada,” we say. Canadian Douchebag interjects–all slouched in his seat and oozing a perceived coolness about all things–“I’m from Canada too. Toronto.” No one fucking cares.
Hungarian Friend joins us, and we really like him. He tells us about his search for true love (I am dead serious, as is he), his struggle to find love while working in Germany due his issues with German and Hungarian women alike (no German wants to move to Eastern Europe, German women are hard to get, etc.) This man’s got a torrid love affair with media’s depiction of true love, and we sympathize for him.
His friend, Canadian Douchebag, however, is suuuuuch a colossal douche. He waddles over, uninvited obviously, and sits down next to me. An aura of ickiness immediately clouds over us.
“You Viet? You look Viet.” he nudges me, while simultaneously paying tribute to all panda fever stereotypes everywhere.
Is this flirting?
“No.” I respond dryly. Levels of unamusement are rising at speeds never seen before.
“What are you girls doing tonight?”
“We’re going out–”
“Can I come? I’ll pay,” Ignorant, sexist, and talks over people! We have struck Yukon gold here (pun-intended).
“No. We have our own money.”
“OK then, you can pay,” he throws his head back laughing, holding his stomach–fully absorbing the pronounced hilarity of his joke.
His presence continues to severely irritate me. He drones on–with the most pitiful attempt at flirting in the I’m-an-asshole-but-you-like-it approach.
I want to tell him he’s not remotely cute enough to pull that off. Instead, I whip my head to look at him dead on, and say, “You need to leave.”
His eyes widen in disbelief at my blatant lack of decorum, “Are you serious?” he stutters.
“You think you’re ahead right now, but I’m telling you, you’re not even in the running.” Not even.
Winda bursts into laughter from across the table.
The look on his face would make any feminist proud.
“You think I’m joking, but I’m not.” I add, shutting down any suggestion that this might be some flirty kind of witty banter.
He’s still staring at me in shock. “Wow,” he over-enunciates the ‘o’ in a dramatic attempt to make me regret my audacity. “Wow.”
He gets up to leave and turns to his Hungarian Friend, “This one’s a bitch,” he lowers his voice but not so that I can’t hear him. He wants me to hear his last stab at self-preservation.
Thank God, we got rid of that one.
Besides getting Canadian Douchebag to go the fuck away and befriending his Hungarian Friend, we resume our night of indulging in cheap beer and asking our server for fun facts about the Czech Republic. We love fun facts. We learn that Škoda (car brand that saved our life in Iceland) is from the Czech Republic. We eventually venture into Prague’s nightlife district, and subsequently fall asleep at a club.
The constraints of jetlag has produced the following napping milieus: public spa room, in the parking lot of a Taco Bell, at our hostel in Germany instead of going on a pub crawl, and now a club in Prague. Yes. It is possible to completely doze off while eurotrash techno reverberates off the walls. Our bodies have failed us. We go home with our heads hung in shame, and pray for a better, less sleepy, tomorrow.
Besides Blacking Out In Germany…
We visit Theatine Church, which is a smoke show of a church (oof.) We have cute German breakfasts at our hostel. We go on a Dachau concentration camp tour–of which remains the best tour I’ve been on throughout my entire backpacking trip. We go on a bike tour called Mike’s Bike Tours with a guy named Charles. We bike through a nudist meadow, the Englischer Garten (English Garden), Odeonsplatz, and Eisbach (surfing in the Isar River, So. Fucking. Cool). Winda contemplates jumping into the Isar River. I am strongly against this idea. We eat the creepiest looking fish on a stick, bratwurst, schnitzel (obvs), and beer at Königlicher Hirschgarten (largest outdoor beer garden in the world). We contemplate stealing another beer glass. We decide against it–our hostel receptionist (Jon From Australia) has already labelled us as criminals escaping from Canada.
We go to Augustiner Keller, end up sitting at the same table of a nice (and super fucking tall) Australian couple, and are fed lies about Australia (I say this in the most loving way). We make an American friend. We will eventually and unexpectedly see this American friend later on in our travels because the universe does things like that..
Bye, Germany–you were just delightful.
Started my exchange in Aarhus, Denmark in July. Spent the rest of my summer having dinner with some beautiful people..
From top to bottom: Dinner in Copenhagen–the night I very nearly single-handedly ate a whole bag of family-sized curly fries because I’m from North America and I had to have it; our first garden dinner in Loes’ backyard, perfected by an international spread; dinner in Copenhagen #1–nothing better than arriving in a foreign destination with dinner sitting on the table; Night of a Thousand Wines (we had 10-12 bottles–a bottle per person); that time Loes made pavlova, and it was gorgeous; pre-Holland vs. Argentina sustenance; French evening, where Gauthier made a shit ton of crepes–both savoury and sweet; smuggled French wine in the park, and my fav apple cider; garden dinners & more. Hygge mad.
I’m easily smitten by good food, good company, and consecutive bottles of rosé. Easily.
I love me some Sunday Funday! Mainly because it rhymes with ‘funday’ and for no other particular reason. I just love things that rhyme.
1. Home of the best stone oven pizza in Vancouver (in my honest opinion), Nicli Antica Pizzeria is white and immaculate.
2. Even their ice cubes are perf. Boylan sodas are made with cane sugar, so we suppose they are healthy ish. I recommend their birch beer or red creamy birch beer–a less sugary ode to root beer x cream soda.
3. Misto salads x warm olives — Sweet baby Jesus, I hate olives so much.
4. Sexy corners of their margherita, prosciutto, and secret pizza. I didn’t tell you here, but their secret pizza is at the back of the menu and is soooo good. It’s the right kind of spicy, with perfectly cooked slices of mushroom and artichoke.
5. Their affagado is life itself. Espressos are simply incomplete creatures without a dollop of vanilla bean gelato.
6. Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary’s banana split x vanilla malt shake. Try anything with their homemade pineapple sauce, and anything covered in their toasted salted walnuts. You will die. You will die and come back to finish the rest of your ice cream.
I literally dream of the aforementioned substances. Plus, Glenburn is family-owned and offer the adorable novelty that are old-school paper straws.
2013 was tanned to a buttery kind of caramel-kissed skin, took on some great and some dirty hair, was situated under the fluffiest and most nearly-in-your-reach clouds, was all about Niall Horn, smelled like pineapple and salt water, was filled with the tastiest ish (but every year is about good food in my life), considered IHOP mornings/struggles to get up, felt like beach hair and sandy toes, introduced me to Sewing 101 where I failed miserably, had copious amounts of iced coffee, paved the way for Loofah Adventures, contained $3 wine, promoted bike lane usage, involved alcohol abuse, watched the sky move in the back of a pick-up truck, required doublé espresso shots, saw people come and saw people go, was dusted off with gold glitter and silver strings, floated on a several bodies of water, did not result in getting mugged in Stanley Park at night–although we did some things that might’ve triggered it, sipped on san gri gri with our heads tilted back, set one timid foot into the wilderness, fell in love with people in the nonromantic kind of way, had painted skies glowing above our heads, spoiled us with the most breathtaking of sights, offered lots of [undercover] marzipan, and was actually just chillin’ in a onesie this entire time…
2014 is hopefully going to be Belgium chocolate-dipped, doused clumsily in a cup of café au lait, hit with a paddle in a German beer hall, will stumble over ancient cobblestone in very cute shoes, will contain more One Direction (I am banking on the fantasy of running into Niall Horan hard–it’ll be in a pub in Ireland before he embarks on another great North American tour), is drenched in chili-infused extra virgin olive oil, and tastes the way only pizza tastes after every other establishment on the street is closed.
The best has yet to come! I am stoked for more beautiful things to come within the next year. If 2013 has taught me anything, is that I am incredibly lucky and incredibly annoying. I am lucky to have really amazing and beautiful friends–and it’s an honour to have been able to celebrate several milestones with all of them this year.
- 2 pitchers of Sapporo, 7 bottles of sake, 2 pitchers of random cocktails, + too many tapas and skewers = $90 per person
- Taking the wrong highway exit, ending up at the airport, and having to leave through the airport parking lot = I wanna say priceless, but it was actually $4 + lots of screaming to myself in the car
Girls night out featuring a lot of in-depth discussion on “What is your worst puking story?” (mine was during Spring Break in Los Cabos with my head buried in the filthy toilet of the local El Squid Roe), the value of good friends, serenading the whole restaurant with [what we could remember of] the Sailor Moon theme song, followed by a thought-provoking question “Which sailor scout are you?”, several toasts to happy things, and high school hilarity.
Any time off always passes you in a blur. I remember being 8-years-old and complaining how it would be a whole year until I turned 9–literally banking on the fact that a year was equivalent to forever or “sooooooooooooo long, mom.” You literally just have to make the best of everything, which I will admit, I have not been living up to at all.
Adios, winter vaca! Not sure if I’m hoping to see you next year.. because that will either mean I’m graduated and avec job, or in school and without. Strange revelations.