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Funny but True Moments


The Irish told us to beware of the midgets in Scotland because they will bite your ankles and wrists. In Europe, midget is a term for mosquitos. We had a very different image in mind, one that included leprechauns.

The Italians kiss cheeks “hello” and “goodbye.” Lydia was having technical issues knowing which cheek to kiss first and she almost ended up with a few “French Kisses” in Italy.

I walked into a shop and the cashier asked me, “are you alright?” I became instantly concerned about my welfare. I ran to the bathroom. Was I pale? Do I look sick? I asked Lydia if I looked alright and she confirmed “yes.” Later I found out in England “are you alright?” Is synonymous with the American, “how are you?”

I asked a grocery market employee if they have a bathroom I could use and she replied, “you are going to have to get a hotel if you want to do that. In Europe they call the bathroom “the toilet.” A bathroom is a place to take a shower.

A French gypsy caravan park owner held my passport ransom for 14 euros.

An Italian man brought us back to his flat offering us a place to stay for the night. Lydia went off to the shower. In that time, the Italian man asked me, in such a hospitable way,

“hey, if you would like to go in there with Lydia I can put my headphones on and study for a while.”

“No, no that's okay,” I responded with a chuckle.

“Well, I could go on a walk for a half hour and you could use the entire place. It's no problem.”

Inside a patisserie, I dropped a euro coin on the floor and the lady next to me immediately bent down, picked it up, put it in her purse and refused to look at me.

Lydia walk into a tiny market in France. The cashier, introducing himself as a man from Morocco, asked is she was traveling with anyone as she set her ice read on the counter.

“My boyfriend,” she said.

“I don't know that word. Cousin you say?”

“No,” she laughed, “boyfriend.”

“I don't understand. Father-in-law?”

“Huh?”

“Step-brother?”

Lydia made a heart with her hands.

“Oh, husband. 1 euro please.”

Be careful asking for directions in Ireland. They are very helpful, but they will always tell you the best way to go, and then the 3 other ways you don't want to go and the reasons why. By the time you’re done, you don't know up from down.

I was enthusiastically teaching Lydia the art of pooping in the woods on a mountainside in Wales, U.K. When I was caught in the act by a innocent evening jogger.

I was appalled by the fact that Lydia is a Chicagoland resident who didn't know of Al Capone. During a ride I gave her a brief history lesson. A few days later, someone in Austria asked where we were from. When we responded, “Chicago!” He said, “ah! Al Capone!”

Every time we’ve been yelled at in foreign languages we pretend they are complimenting us on our trip and continuously repeat, “thank you! Thank you so much!” In their language.

Sometimes, instead of using my lock, I tossed a pair of dirty underwear on my bike.

Lydia mistook a doorbell for a light switch in an apartment complex hallway. When she attempted to turn the lights on a resident opened the door. Staring her in the face, Lydia panicked, ran to our room and bolted the door shut.

While camping outside the city of Winchester, a man began circling our tent at 3 a.m. Shortly after he began screaming scrambled gibberish at the top of his lungs. As our nervousness grew I called the English Police. They called me back 45 minutes later and asked me if the man tried to enter my tent. When I responded “no” they replied, “Well, if he tries to get in, just ask him nicely to leave. I’m sorry but we are too busy to come out there. Have a good night.” *Click*

The doctor in Switzerland asked Lydia if she was on any medication besides “The Anti-Baby Tablet.”

In Europe the lightswitch is on the outside of the bathroom. It is fun for the person not in there.

I thought “bonjour” could be used interchangeably as “hello/goodbye,” like “aloha” in Hawaii. It is only a greeting in France and I confused a lot of people. I did the same thing with “buenos dias” is Spain.

Due to my lack of proper pronunciation, instead of asking for a refill of water (d’eau) in France, I kept saying “the lou” which means “toilet.” Not the best tasting water.

Somewhere in France I impulse bought a rotisserie chicken and was forced to smush it in my front pannier. It still smells like chicken juice in there.

A swan and her baby chicks (cygnets) blocked a bike path in Ireland. Groups of people formed on each side of the hissing swan. Every agreed that if I went first it would probably scare the swan off the path and then everyone could cross. As I peddled along the path, taking wide of the swan, she decided to chase me and bite my leg.

No one else crossed the path.

As we set up the tent in the Croatian wilderness, coyotes howled in the distance. In the middle of the night Lydia and I both awoke to a rustling noise outside by the bikes. Lydia clung to me as I trembled for my light. I poked my head out the tent, turned my flashlight on to spot a baby kitten playing with my luggage.


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