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.
“You do NOT want to get political with me!” I’m screaming. Top of my lungs. Full force. I’m screaming, and I’m probably spitting all over my friend who is trying to calm me down.
My head weaves to the right of her face, so I can get a good look at my oppressor. She’s too quick for me and continues to mirror my bobbing and weaving so that I can’t make eye contact with this douchebag motherfucker.
“You do NOT want to get political with me!” I repeat, because clearly–he does not want to get political with me.
It’s 5AM on a Saturday morning, post-club, we’re standing in line to hail a cab, it’s misting out, and I’m embarrassing myself and my friends in front of large percentage of the city’s Danish youth. I am just raging at this giant Norwegian guy in the middle of the street–jumping towards his towering physique, flailing my arms in the air in all my fury, and just being extremely World Star Hip Hop-ish cray.
He had asked me in a very accusatory tone, “Why do you have to bring such an attitude to Denmark?” To which I was immediately offended by and when the yelling started.
“What the FUCK is that supposed to mean?” The East Van in me is awakened.
He subsequently calls me a racist.
In my drunken state, I transcend into this obnoxious know-it-all Canadian girl. “You want to talk about political correctedness? Let’s do it LET’S DO IT NOW!” I shout.
“Kaylynn,” this is about the fifth time one of my friends is clasping my shoulders. “Let’s go home, it’s not worth it. Ignore him.”
More shouting ensues, further angry drunken words are exchanged, and I continue to make a scene despite the cajoling of my friends. Someone tells one of my friends to shut the fuck up. Tempers flare. I am going to kill someone via heated political discussion anytime now.
One of the Norwegian Guy’s equally massive friends appears on my left, “We’re really sorry. We’re going to go home this way, and you and your friends can go home that way, and we’ll never have to see each other ever again.”
He’s probably genuinely hoping he never runs into us ever again. In hindsight, I can understand why.
I don’t remember what exactly happens next, but I somehow get shuffled away from the Norwegian Guy and his very tall friends, and we get into a cab. I vocally and very liberally express my hatred for the Norwegian Guy as the cab driver takes us back home to our dorm. What a fucking asshole. I complain the entire way home about my attitude. I complain about my attitude.
“Do I have an attitude problem?” I wail in the backseat of the cab.
I have no pictures from that night, but here is a picture of me when I’m not trying to antagonize strangers while studying abroad in a foreign country.
“That will be 80 euros,” the airline dude says nervously.
Airline Dude’s very sweaty brow is reflecting off the fluorescent lights hanging above us and his attempt at feigning any last ounce of authority is more or less transparent. Poor guy probably gets reamed at on the daily for telling people they have to pay 80 fucking euros for luggage. It is literally some Utter. Fucking. Bullshit Vueling is trying to pull here.
It’s 9:30AM and I’m standing in Budapest airport with the world’s dirtiest ponytail, reeking of pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy), and half my consciousness intact. We’ve been milling around in lineups like cattle for the past half hour. If I wasn’t still drunk from last night, I would be gratuitously casting dark gazes, making snarky comments in my head, eye rolling at conversations I’m not invited to, and being an all around salty asshat. But because I’m still mildly intoxicated from last night, I’m just floating in a vapid daze. We got home at 5AM last night, slept for 45 minutes, then booked it to the airport.
It’s been quite the night with the Hungarians.
“80 euros?” I sputter in astonishment/in my barely conscious stupor.
“That is very expensive.” I say slowly, as if he isn’t already aware and because I’m really hungover.
I stare at him, “That is very expensive.” I assume I’m repeating myself because I’m currently lacking the brain capacity to say anything remotely comprehensible.
The lady next to me starts laughing at me. She’s caught an earshot my unintelligible efforts at adult conversation. If there’s impaired driving, this is impaired negotiation.
“Fuck,” I whisper exhale and hand over my 80 fucking euros for my fucking stupid ass backpack. This is what Winda and I get for thinking we could get away with bringing our backpacks as carry-on. This is what we get for fucking with budget airlines.
Last night was such a mess. We meet Hungarians. More engineers. They buy us a lot of pálinka and we are then subsequently required to shout “Pálinka!” every time it’s consumed. We get our asses handed to us in foosball–after grabbing Winda by the shoulders and looking her dead in the eye and saying, “Don’t worry, I’m really good.” I am not really good at foosball. We go to a lot of bars. Hungarians have a way of making just about anything into a bar–twinkly lights, patio furniture, overhead projector with the FIFA World Cup on display, miscellaneous food truck, a tiki-ish bar, et voilà. Then there are the infamous ruin bars which, imagine a dirty, old, crumbling abandoned building, add various types of garage sale furniture, hang a fishing net over the ceiling, and serve alcohol. We drink Somersby apple cider, and I am extremely pleased. We almost get taken to a random flat (keyword: almost.) Hungarians are kind of romantic–I get told my beauty is like stars in the night sky, that I’m a Hungarian princess, and that this guy would marry me if he could speak English. Winda gets a stalker. I get a guy who doesn’t speak English (not the same guy who said he’d marry me.)
Winda resumes her role as Monica Gellar and I’m Phoebe in that episode where Phoebe is dating a diplomat who doesn’t speak a lick of English, and Monica is dating the functioning translator. I say this multiple times throughout the night. Loudly. The guy I’m with just looks at me and smiles very often.
“Oh. My. God.” I say, about fifty times throughout the night.
We stumble less than gracefully through the front entrance of our apartment building at an ungodly hour and laugh loudly/regretfully at the ridiculousness that is our night. In hushed tones we both agree to not say bye to James because he sucks and our time to escape is now.
Next stop, the Eternal City.
We visit the famous castle. We watch a clock tower show (overrated.) We indulge in amaaazing strawberry and grapefruit beer for a euro, from a restaurant owned by the sweetest little man who helped us find our hostel on our first day. We have cute European breakfasts in our hostel. We go on a pub-crawl. We embark on a walking tour in 30 degree heat and learn more about Czech Republic during WWII (personal fav) alongside some self-deprecating narration. We befriend Americans. We get into a yolo-frenzy one morning when we come across what’s called bubble beer. It’s exactly what you think it is. It’s bubble tea but instead of a taro slush or whatnot, you are drinking syrup flavoured beer. I get passion fruit and rainbow jelly; Winda gets plain beer and pearls. She thoroughly does not enjoy her bubble beer. I most likely consume high fructose corn syrup mixed with alcohol at ten in the morning.
We have more Czech potato soup to the point where we feel like potatoes. We go to the Lennon Wall and gaze silently at its chaotic beauty–nodding approvingly to ourselves that we are all indeed dreamers. We have a lovely picnic with things found in our hostel room. We take a romantic paddle boat ride under the Charles Bridge. Winda tries making me call her captain. I refuse. Winda and I fall in love due to her exceptional organization skills and my bratty but surprisingly endearing behaviour.
Joking. That’s not until later on during our backpacking trip.
I’m ready to leave now. To my chagrin, we end up staying an extra night in Prague because busses heading to Budapest are booked full. I am near devastated. I want to leave this country. Everyone here is kind of cranky and I’m over the architecture. When it comes to backpacking, I’m smitten by the way a city feels as opposed to how it looks. I’m all about feeling as opposed to aesthetic value. Winda is like, “But the city is so beautiful!” Prague is stunning if you’re into gothic buildings, Disney-ish castles, and one big bridge–but I, for one, am over it. Prague is like the handsomest guy at the bar but he has absolutely zero personality/dumb as a doorknob/ends up being racist.
Bye, Prague. You were all kinds of beautiful and that’s about it.
Tour des chambres is quite literally a tour of rooms. It is the best kind of dorm party–where people in your dorm decorate their rooms a certain theme, you have a theme-related game, and you are served a welcome drink. You go room to room, and you end up drunk as shit. It is très amusante.
I share a kitchen with 17 people, and 15 of us were participating this year, so we split up into pairs and had 7 themed rooms, and one game/welcome drink in the kitchen. The themes were:
0) Beer memory game in the kitchen
1) Wine-tasting in France
2) Nude sketch/croquis class in France
3) Life of Pi directing and reenactment
4) Camping under the stars (le mine)
5) Drinking in the dark
6) Danish New Years Eve
7) Music and hookah lounge
Learnt a lot of random shit about wine/realized how unsophisticated I am when it comes to wine; did not expect to see penis but did. Plus I won best nude sketch and that’s saying a lot about my hidden talents; made my flatmate eat cat food and gnaw on my other’s flatmate’s neck (the game was rewriting scenes from Life of Pi, and my team did it justly); watched my flatmates play the North American gem that is Chubby Bunny. One of my flatmates had to spit out her mouthful of marshmallows, and that mouthful floated in my toilet for about a week after; drank in the dark because it soo unheard of; Danish New Years Eve is the cutest thing ever, and you get to eat cake with adorable Danish flags everywhere; by the time we go to the music and hookah lounge, I was so drunk that I knocked over my flatmate’s hookah, and there was ash everywhere… Thank God my flatmates are Danish, and are very calm about these sorts of things.
The Beginning Of My Demise
Fast forward to the after party, and I’ve fallen and twisted my ankle. It wasn’t as though I was running, doing anything remotely athletic, or even wearing heels for that matter. I was simply trying to sit down next to my flatmate, and I just toppled over and rolled my ankle like a complete loser.
After having to be carried, then lots of complaining in bed while three of my flatmates are drunkenly laughing and trying to soothe me… I wake up the next morning, and the pain is ridiculous. My foot looks ridiculous. It’s ballooned to about 3x the size of my right foot, and it’s in the sickliest shades of purple and blue. Groce. I’m contemplating whether or not to post a photo here because it might really offend some viewers. I spend the rest of the day in the fort–drinking tea, listening to acoustic One Direction covers, and reading Pride and Prejudice.
Everyone’s telling me to go to hospital, and I’m just shrugging it off like, “Don’t be silly.” Because, as I said, I’m always in the mindset that everything’s going to be okay. Plus I fucking hate hospitals. There’s something about the colour of their walls that’s so… sterile. Like a starchy yellow colour that forever needs to be starchy and yellowed. And the smell of it all. I hate it. I’m starting to think that I hate institutions.
To The Hospital We Go
I finally cave. I plan to call my doctor on Monday, but things work differently in Denmark. Family doctors don’t have x-rays on hand, no real medical equipment or anything. My Danish girlfriend and my Danish flatmates tell me that I need to go the ER. The E-fucking-R. Fuck me.
In Denmark, you have to call before you go to the ER. Yeah. Yeeeeeah. Because of free healthcare, people had previously been showing up at the ER with paper cuts (this is a dramatization) and so, they developed a system where you have to call in before making a visit to your local emergency room. You have to call in, explain to the dispatcher what your emergency is, and if the dispatcher supposes your emergency worthy, then you may go to the ER.
My flatmate calls in Danish for me, and by the end of the call, the dispatcher goes, “She twisted it on Friday night? As long as she doesn’t come in smelling like Bacardi.”
Blah blah blah. 2 hours of waiting, 2 doctors, more questions regarding my level of sobriety on Friday night, and an x-ray later… I find out that I have no broken bones. Thank the Lord Holy Jesus, because my foot looked it had been dipped in ink for the two days, the swelling had not gone down whatsoever, and I could barely walk. It’s just badly sprained.
My medical file reads: “Friday, twisted ankle, drunk.”
And my first visit to a foreign hospital has been completed. Woooohoooo, motherfucker!
Lost Luggage… Mayhem Ensues A Few Hours Later
Touchdown in Munich, and we find out the airline lost our luggage. Winda is freaking out–I’m alright. I’m laughing, and she’s grabbing and shaking me erratically, “How are you not freaking out right now????” I have faith that our luggage will be restored to us by this evening. The lady who got mad at us at the front desk said so. All will work out. We have free café au lait from the Lost Luggage department. I am happy.
In pursuit of our recent upheaval at the airport, we end up getting yelled at a total of three times upon arrival–but we still have free café au lait. I’m still happy. Welcome to Germany.
This thought process is indicative to the kind of attitude I’ve had for the entirety of the trip. I’m always sure things will be okay–if I could sum it up in one gesture, it would be a shrug and a small smile. My friends say it’s because I have no regard for the rules of life–both written and inherent.
We make our way to our hostel. Our first order of business is finding food, obviously.
Not the biggest fan of German food, but I do loooove me some curry wurst; train station sandwiches are not too bad, and HB beer is probably my favourite beer thus far.
One of my favourite things about Germany is how you can simply join somebody’s table if there’s no more available space in a restaurant. We get seated next to this dude who was drinking alone, end up talking, find out he’s a lawyer, and he ends up taking us to our first German beer hall. And this is where we committed our first European crime:
I’ll have you know we were encouraged by the German lawyer. He tells us he stole one when he was 16–it’s practically a rite of passage. And we fucking did it.
“We. Have. NOTHING!!!!!!!”
We get back to our hostel–all proud of our recent feat–and we ask the front desk whether our bags have arrived. No, no they haven’t. And it starts to dawn on us that we have no pj’s, no clean underwear, and no things to shower with. We are dirty as fuck. We. Have. NOTHING. Those minerals from the Blue Lagoon in Iceland? Still attached to, what really felt like, every single fibre of hair on my body.
We are bordering on hysterical at this point. We ask if they have any hostel merch to give us. The receptionist dude pulls out two tiny tank-tops with “Fully Booked” emblazoned on the front, and says, “I have these. But I really have, like, zero idea where they came from.” We take them in sheer desparation.
Our hostel gives out these drink vouchers for their bar upon arrival–except you only get one. We turn to our receptionist after crying pretty loudly in misery, “Can you give us another drink voucher?” Winda asks. I say, “Can you give us, like, five?”
And he does. And so, here are the beginnings of my demise.
Waking Up Next To My Hofbräuhaus Mug
I felt like I was pretty well-versed in the art of drinking until I blacked out for the first time ever in Germany.
Had a dream I was yelling, then got yelled at in return, had pizza, and tried throwing up. Only to awaken next to my Hofbräuhaus mug, in the same clothes as last night. My initial thought is, Aw… Winda put me to bed with my mug because that’s all we have right now. Then I notice I’m in the same clothes as last night. Ew, ew, EW.
The familiar words, What the fuck happened? surface in my mind, and I’m rolling out of our hostel bunk bed with an intolerable ringing in my ears.
Where The Fuck Is MY Towel?!??!!?
Turns out, upon receiving those 5 vouchers, we went a little crazy at the bar. I remember the personalities of the evening–Marcus #2 (Marcus #1 was the lawyer who encouraged us to steal), Marcus #2’s horny bald friend, and a French surfing nomad named Pierre. I remember spewing out bits of French (as I have done embarrassingly throughout this entire fucking trip), and telling Winda that Marcus #2 was really boring and kind of dumb.
Skipping forward (because I’ve lost track of this part of the evening,) I’m told that we enjoy consecutive glasses of wine and beer–numbers that far outstretched the longevity of our existing 5 drink vouchers. We get pizza–I wanted potato pizza, and Winda asks me very firmly, “Are you sure you want potato pizza?” (She hates potatoes.)
We proceed to our hostel lobby. Same dude that gave us 5 vouchers is there (I think his name’s Jon From Australia.) Winda wants a towel to sleep in, as we have no pjs. Jon From Australia hands her 2. I start screaming hysterically, “WHERE’S MY TOWEL?!?!?!?”
Jon From Australia’s colleague is quick to intervene. “Screaming isn’t going to get you anything!” She apparently snaps at me. Jon From Australia removes himself from the situation. I’m not even ashamed at this point, instead I’m really fucking sad, and really fucking drunk. “I’m sorry,” I say, “I’m just so sad. We. Have. NOTHING!!!!”
We leave the lobby area (I’m sure everyone was happy about that.) Winda is taking a shower, when I throw open the door (as she’s taking a shower), and frantically (and drunkenly) explain myself, “I need to throw up. I’m going to throw up. I need to throw up!” I try throwing up. I don’t end up throwing up.
I get put to bed. And that’s how I end waking up next to my Hofbräuhaus mug.
We Lived Happily Ever After…
There’s a happy ending to this story. Upon waking up disheveled and disoriented, our luggage has been delivered to our hostel that morning. I go downstairs to retrieve what’s rightfully mine, and the boys at reception are all, “Why aren’t you jumping up and down like your friend?” I whisper-inhale (because I’m so fucking hungover/overcome with emotion and fatigue), “I just can’t.”
Answer: I’m going to say… 1 pint of beer, followed by 2 litres of beer, then another beer, then 2 glasses of wine, another glass of wine, a bit of Long Island Iced Tea, and that’s all I can really remember.
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.