Friday, August 12, 2011

Things I Learned on my Honeymoon

Don't get too excited ... this isn't THAT kind of post. I've just been wanting to write a play-by-play of our adventures in Belgium and the Netherlands last week, and it would take up far too much blog-space. So here's a list of things I learned:

* My iPhone's keyboard kept switching to the International AZERTY keyboard, as well as auto-correcting in French.
It's impossible to type anything quickly or efficiently under such circumstances, but also impossible to stop laughing.
* Both Dutch and Flemish are made-up languages designed to confuse tourists. Seriously, it sounds like German Pig Latin. But I love that two scarcely-spoken languages have survived, and now I want to learn conversational Flemish. Anyone?
* Skinny jeans are out, but Hammerpants are back. Especially for women. This is the truth. Don't say I didn't warn you.
* The store called "Scotch & Soda" is not as great as it sounds. We were both excited to see the sign, but it turned out to be a European Abercrombie & Fitch. I was hoping for a liquor store, or at least a J.Peterman-esque shop. But no. Nautical-themed clothing for rich young kiddos.
* Go RIGHT on the roundabout. I had a minor freak-out when HWT turned right on the roundabout. While touring in the UK, the most important thing to remember is to go LEFT on the roundabouts. That is now so driven into my instincts, that going right on the roundabouts on the Continent freaks me out.
* Continental breakfasts are still called "continental breakfasts," even when you're on the Continent, which seems a bit redundant. They do, however, include massive wheels of brie, gouda, and other cheeses, so it's not like your American Best Western. Not even close.
* Always go to the market. Americans get excited by the Farmer's Market because it's a cute throw-back to a mysterious way of life. In Europe, it's still the way of life, and you've never seen ANYTHING like the markets there.
* Don't be tempted by roseberries. They are gorgeous. They are disgusting. Unless you pretend they are nature's Sweet-Tarts. Then you might love them.
* Skip Antwerp. I know, I know, it's not its fault. It was destroyed in World War II. But that means that now, it looks like any town in Ohio. If you're looking for beautiful honeymooning Europe, skip Antwerp.
* Go to Gouda on a Thursday. Thursday is Farmers' Market Cheese Day in the picturesque town of Gouda. Little Dutch Girls wear costumes just like you'd expect and carry around wheels of Gouda. The old men at the Cheese Museum are kind, and knowledgeable, and they make the cheese and pipes and candles themselves.
* Belgian waffles are better in Belgium. That is all.

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