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Oh hey there hey! I’m back (and better than ever) from our epic European adventure. Obviously, I’m going to force you to read all about it in the weeks to come, but I wanted to pop in for 7 Quick Takes with a few fun facts and statistics for you.

— 1 —

 

Fun fact, you can't go more than 50 meters in Budapest without falling all over something with my name on it. Because all of Budapest belongs to me.

Fun fact, you can’t go more than 50 meters in Budapest without falling all over something with my name on it. Because all of Budapest belongs to me.

Steps and Miles.

According to my beloved FitBit, I walked a total of 324,916 for 155.58 miles. Of course, we can’t necessarily believe what the FitBit tells us in terms of mileage but I do think that I could stand to put in a little more effort into my daily physical activity — because health and stuff.

— 2 —

The Wawel Castle in Krakow. Former hangout of Pope Saint John Paul the Second -- before he was a Pope or a Saint.

The Wawel Castle in Krakow. Former hangout of Pope Saint John Paul the Second — before he was a Pope or a Saint.

Cities and Sites.

Over two weeks, we were in 5 cities that spoke 4 different languages. We took five planes and four trains to get there. I would tell you the number of churches, cathedrals, palaces and museums we visited, but we lost count at the double digits.

We visited 1 zoo, though. In Vienna. It was the best zoo I’ve ever been to.

— 3 —

Gothic Cathedrals, man. They're everywhere.

Gothic Cathedrals, man. They’re everywhere.

Religious Experiences.

  • 6 Masses.
  • 4 Adoration of the Blessed Sacraments.
  • 500+ Viewed Relics.
  • 1 Saintly Relic Touched.

Catholicism — yea.

— 4 —

I found some horses.

I found some horses.

Slogans.

Most of the cities we went to had slogans — because tourism and stuff. Some of them were pretty impactful, like “Vienna. Now or Never” and “Vienna Waits for You.” (Yes, we totally noticed that those two seem to contradict each other.) There were also such gems as “Budapest: Pearl of the Danube.” and “Krakow: JPII’s Boyhood Home.” (“Budapest: Home of the Ballpoint Pen.” didn’t make it through the run-off elections, I don’t think.)

As great as those slogans were, we decided we needed to write some of our own:

  • Poland: Where Everything’s Made Up and the Laws Don’t Matter.
  • Vienna: You Can Drink Beer in Our Zoo.
  • The First Rule of Post-Soviet Hungary Is That You Don’t Ask about Soviet Hungary.
  • Central European Rail Travel — Seems Legit.
  • Budapest — Hey, Have You Heard that George Ezra Song?

— 5 —

See? See? Everyone is getting on the Fishsticks and Mac'n'Cheese Friday trend!

See? See? Everyone is getting on the Fishsticks and Mac’n’Cheese Friday trend!

Fun Facts from Other Travelers.

One of the best parts of traveling is that you get to meet other people who are traveling. For the most part, we did what we could to avoid making new friends out and about (sosorrysointrovert) but, despite our best efforts, we did meet some friendly people who told us all about what life is like in Britain. Here are some things that I learned:

  1. Neil Diamond — yes, that Neil Diamond — is “a national treasure” in Britain. They also really enjoy the sweet, sweet musical stylings of Bruce Springsteen.
  2. Paid holidays are still a thing in Britain. When confronted with the concept that many Americans do not have paid vacations, our new British friends pronounced our system “archaic.” (Here, here!)
  3. According to our new dinner buddies, Chicago is either a 20 minute or a 8 hour flight from New York City. They were a little confused as to which.

— 6 —

At the center of the best zoo in the world.

At the center of the best zoo in the world.

Odd Objects.

Anytime you travel, you find all sorts of stuff that you never knew existed. For example, we greatly enjoyed the sesame goldfish crackers that were available for purchase in several countries. We were not quite as enthused by the ketchup-flavored Cheetos. The best weird thing we brought home by far is the Mike Tyson Energy Drink.

…honestly, it’s so good that it’s going to get its own post.

— 7 —

No open container laws means that you can enjoy your Otter viewing with a side of Ottakringer. Your bobcats with beer, your penguins with porter and so on and so forth -- I can do this all day.

No open container laws means that you can enjoy your Otter viewing with a side of Ottakringer. Your bobcats with beer, your penguins with porter and so on and so forth — I can do this all day.

Odds and Ends.

  • I read 7 books while we were gone (one of which will be reviewed next week). I left most of them in hotel rooms, coffee shops and airplanes, which is good because we bought ten books to bring home.
  • Two weeks with no data plan taught me quite a bit about how I’ve been using my phone. Mostly, that I’ve been using it too much to kill time and procrastinate. I can’t say that I’m going to live my life with my phone permanently on airplane mode, but I am going to try to to cut back on wasting so much time.
  • Everyone in Europe uses reusable shopping bags because almost every place in Europe charges for plastic bags. Since I’ve decided to take a good hard look at our consumption habits around here, I’m thinking that I need to get on the canvas tote trend. Because environmental stewardship or something.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum! Bring sparklers because Kelly can be a touch sensitive about her pyrotechnics.

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