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How Europe catfished me

September 25, 2019

Let me preface just a little — this all may be common knowledge to those who are more “aware” than me, but everyone I told these very interesting things to seemed actually surprised by them, so I’m taking that as a good sign.

Now that I’ve given my warning, I can pack your brain full of the most random yet extremely helpful facts that I learned during my two weeks in Europe touring five different countries. Privileged, I know, but what can I say — I’m part of a Mount Pleasant suburban family.

Even if you don’t plan on going to Europe anytime soon or ever, you should still fuel my ego and read this. Also, I guarantee you will learn something new and wild to tell your family at dinner.

The biggest thing I learned, which was also the worst possible thing to experience, is that {a bottle of] water is always at least $4. You will not find it for cheaper. Even in restaurants, the water isn’t free. Listen, Europe is hot, and I mean hot. The amount of fellow tourists I saw literally passing out from the heat is uncountable, and I guarantee you if water wasn’t a million dollars they would have been peachy keen.

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This is where it gets very interesting — Europeans also don’t have air conditioning. I’m not sure why — maybe the economy or something — all I know is that every single night I went to bed sweating. The amount of pure childlike joy I felt when I found out one of our hotels had air- conditioned rooms was pathetic. Honestly, I know now why Europeans don’t wear a lot of clothes: they literally just can’t in that heat.

This may be a little far-fetched, but I have a theory. No air conditioning means people are hot. Being hot makes people need water. And like I said before, you aren’t getting water for less than $4. Is this how Europe gets its money? I don’t know, but I think I’m onto something.

Speaking of the sun, she is out and about until 10 p.m. every night. We were in Italy, eating some gelato (mango is the best, I won’t hear otherwise), and I realized it was 8:30 and still very, very sunny outside. It was amazing. The day is longer, you get to do more and it makes for lots of time to take instagram pictures.

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Swans. That’s it. Europe has some strange obsession with them, especially Germany. Everywhere you look, you can see something swan related, whether it’s carved into the buildings or just actual swans walking around on the streets. I think they said they are a sign of royalty to people there, but don’t quote me on that.

Repeat after me — French people are not mean. Got it? Good. France was where I experienced the nicest treatment of any place I went to (looking at you, Italians). They were patient and open to everyone, and Paris is where I had the best day of my life. Imagine a bunch of people on a street corner just sitting, and a man with a speaker and drums comes out. He starts playing absolute bangers and people from all over the street come together and just start dancing together. People from France, America, Mexico, all just enjoying the music and not caring that they didn’t speak the language. That is France, not the stereotype.

After drinking all of that expensive water, you better have a euro or two with you. No public restrooms. You must pay to pee. Even in the McDonalds.

Just so this doesn’t end up being as long as the line to get $4 water, I’m going to give you guys a rapid fire moment.

Spiral staircases that are easy to fall down (speaking from experience) are the only stairs they believe in. Switzerland had the most attractive guys. Hail storms kind of just randomly happen. You will see lots of abandoned castles if you drive through the country. Lots and lots of dogs. Voila!

But there is one fact that hit me the hardest. This one hurt worse than no AC. It ripped my heart out.
There are no beignets in France.

From day one I told my friends with my childlike hope and innocence: “I can’t wait to eat a beignet in Paris.” This did not happen. Apparently they are a New Orleans type of French dish, and not actually from France. After taking up most of my day looking for a cafe that sold them, I had to accept reality — I was not going to get my French beignet.

Despite the worst heartbreak I’ve experienced, Europe is the most diverse yet uniting place I’ve ever experienced. It makes America look like one giant block of tall square metal buildings. Everywhere you look, you see the history and elegance of each country you’re in. If life gives you the opportunity to go there, take it as fast as you can.

And bring a refillable bottle of water.

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