Behind the Blog

As we prepare to bid farewell to Europe after nearly five months – and, sadly, prepare to wrap up our year on the road in general – it’s time for one last edition of ‘Behind the Blog.’ For you dedicated readers, our European tour has led us through 24 more countries and resulted in another 51 blog entries. My ‘Travel’ folder and its accumulation of effusive Word documents is beginning to look scarily similar to my ‘Dissertation’ folder on my home laptop. So much for taking a break from writing after clearing my plate of that formidable body of work.

Anyway, this is perhaps the shortest behind the scenes look to date. Perhaps we are getting better at handling unforeseen circumstances? Perhaps we’ve learned how to avoid embarrassing ourselves in public? Or maybe there’s only so much to say about sink laundry, never-ending PB&Js, and eating your lunch with a stick. Regardless, here are a few prized travel moments from the last leg of our journey:


While we’ve seen a lot of pretty great signs everywhere, we particularly enjoyed this one, prominently displayed on the toilet of our Lithuanian apartment. There’s not much to say about it – the explicit anatomy of the little cartoon just cracked me up. And I love the pee stream. It’s like the little man has no neck and no arms, but there is remarkable attention to detail below the belt.


Headed to the bus station in Vilnius, Lithuania to catch a ride to Poland. Clearly, I felt I wasn’t hauling enough crap around, and had to add an entire sakotis (a traditional spit cake) to the load. Stephan suggested we get one of the small packages from the central market that had a few broken pieces in it. Hello?! If you are going to get a tree cake, you need to get the whole damn tree to have the real experience. Furthermore, it’s cake. Why would one ever want just a few shards of dessert shrapnel?


Stephan’s cell phone post-sour cream bath. While attempting to photograph his vedarai (potato sausage), he somehow managed to drop the phone straight down into the plate, sending a tsunami of sour cream over the stuffed creation (and himself). I was pretty much dying with laughter sitting across from him; I couldn’t understand how anyone could just drop the phone like that. I am pretty sure I spent the next 10 minutes bawling my eyes out and sweating through my shirt, as I attempted to photograph his suave maneuver (note: the phone was still functional post-sour cream bath).


Our attempt to purchase a local beer in Serbia. It was mixed in with the rest of the beer, but Stephan popped the top only to ruefully discover that it was a can of white wine spritzer. Womp womp.


What $0.25 USD will buy you for lunch in the middle of rural Bosnia… a hunk of fresh bread the size of your head!


Our arrival at our apartment in Split was not the smoothest of our trip. We arrived in Croatia several hours late after a 9-hour bus ride, and were then stranded helplessly outside in the dark for a couple hours as our phone dropped all coverage and we couldn’t contact our AirBnB host. Once we finally made it into the flat, all I wanted was some supper and a hot shower. Alas, the removable shower head refused to fit in its little holder on the wall. Ever determined to be clean and relaxed, I (plumber extraordinaire) present to you, the endless versatility of a plastic coat hanger.


One of the wall hangings from our apartment in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city. I thought it was a great idea – turn a living room decoration into something useful. But then Stephan pointed out that the password for the ‘XXX channels’ was prominently displayed in the center frame. Umm… eww. Get out and see the city, people.


Rope-covered steel cable on the Matterhorn – 1. Jenn – 0. Probably the cleanest cut I’ve ever had, and holy cow did that baby bleed.


And yet another gem of a sign… this time on the toilet lid of the Virgin train from London to Holyhead. Better still, a soothing, programmed, female voice recited the words aloud to you as you peed. Those Brits and their zany sense of humor.


One more MacGyver moment: When you rent a car in the U.K. in December and they don’t provide an ice scraper. Yes, that is the plastic lid from a container of chips – and aside from some cold fingers, it worked pretty stinkin’ well.


Grazie, danke, merci, and thank you, Europe! We thoroughly enjoyed exploring your diverse national parks, quaint, medieval towns, and grand cathedrals. We only wish we’d had more than 90 days in the Schengen Area to poke around a few more countries, and explore others with a bit more detail. But for now… until next time, Europe!

3 Responses

    • Paul! Glad you’ve enjoyed – thanks for keeping up. We’ve got a handful more posts coming, so we can occupy you for another week or so. 😉 Merry Christmas to you and Carol!

  • Jenn & Stephan – Your pictures have been spectacular! Both Carol and I have really enjoyed following along and picking up some new future destinations for us to visit. Welcome home! Merry Christmas to both of you!

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