It’s 11.26am in Krakow, Poland and I have been up since 4am after a 12-hour train ride. I’m seedy, sleepy and have furry teeth, but this is travel baby and it feels real good! Last night, as I was rocked to sleep in the arms of the country’s efficient rail system, I thought about writing a list of the weird things I’ve noticed about Europe.
A list of the weird things I’ve noticed about Europe:
No-one cares if you die: I first noticed this when I made eye contact with a lion at Berlin Zoo. A lion kept in an unfenced enclosure, with a deep moat the only thing protecting me from its powerful jaws and sharp claws. It’s like dudes, have you not seen Born Free? Lions can leap! Then after climbing a massive church tower in Dresden and up into a giant fortress in Konigstein, I noticed the Europeans care not for protective fencing. Jump off if you want and take your enthusiastic, ice-cream-eating husband with you, for all the Germans care. In Poland I also saw someone reverse their car within mere millimetres of an unfenced train platform just as a train sped by. I actually quite like this about Europe. It’s kind of saying if you’re stupid enough to tempt a lion, test gravity or screw up a simple driving manoeuvre, you deserve to die.
Sit where you want, losers: The numbering on train seats across Europe is incredibly confusing. A few times J-man and I have been assured we’ll be sitting next to each other, only to find we’ve been placed in seat 23 and 78. But yep, seat 78 is the window and 23 is the aisle. Well, that just makes perfect sense!
Peron!? Peroff! Same goes for train platform numbering. Sure, your train leaves from platform two but which side of platform two? It’s a game of chance, skill and dumb luck. I’m just glad we didn’t get on that train headed to Elblag, like Joel suggested.
Leopard print is slimming: Many older European ladies like to wear their clothes two sizes too small in the least flattering patterns and materials possible. So what if you’ve had eight children? Treat those animal print tights like sausage skin and squeeze it all in. Then match it with some blonde, teased hair and coral pink lipstick and you are ready to scoff a truckload of Lody or Bacon Butty with all your gal pals.
Dames? Pretty much everywhere in Europe you have to pay to use public toilets, or the good old WC. It’s kind of a cool system because you can mostly be assured the toilets will be clean and fully stocked with paper, soap and the latest edition of Hello! The weird thing is the attendants who take your money are often old men in white lab coats who grunt as you walk in and then watch your every filthy move with a suspicious eye. A few times it’s been a kindly old woman, including one in Gdansk, who had her little table set up with pictures of the grandkids and Jesus and Mary. Why she still believes in god, I don’t know.
Until next time I see something weird…