The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: Austria

The Hills are alive with the sound of alcoholism!

Overview

Austria, also known as “Germany Lite,” was the birthplace of four famous historical figures: Mozart, Hitler, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the greatest tour guide ever (Our tour guide) Andy.  To make Andy seem better than the other three (Like I need to), I’m going to talk some trash on the other three. Mozart was a sickly and girly voiced douchebag, Hitler was a filthy vegetarian (as well as the killer of a bunch of Jews) and Schwarzenegger is shorter than he claims, the lying bastard.

Dude, I was just kidding. Put the knife down. We all know you're over six feet. Please don't hurt me.

Austria was a part of the Roman Empire for a while, what with it sharing a border with Italy and all, up until the 16th century, when it became one of the main powers in Europe. It then became the Austrian Empire in 1804, which then became the Austria-Hungary Empire in 1867. Then, in 1914, the assassination of the band Franz Ferdinand triggered World War I, which ended the Austria-Hungary Empire.

Initial Thoughts

My initial thoughts were: “Austria, eh? Well, let’s put another shrimp on the barbay!”

"Wanna get freaky?"

I said this to Brennen and Sammy, but none of them seemed to appreciate it as much as me. Then, once we reached our hotel in Altenmarkt, I updated my facebook letting everyone who cared that I had made it into Austria. My dad replied to my status with the same quote that I used above, and Hollie, a girl on my trip from Wyoming, replied with, “That’s Australia.”

uh DUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH!

Clearly I was one of few people on the trip who’s actually seen “Dumb and Dumber.” But yeah, I’m the crazy one who is not fit for high society (or any regular society, as they say). You know what? Maybe they’re right; I am a crazy bastard, and I’ve put them in danger seven times, and that was just the two days before we made it into Austria. And one of those times, one of our tripmates ended up dying (Rest in peace, Greg. We all miss you). But still, they haven’t seen Dumb and Dumber.

Point: Me.

Accommodations

This was our room:

Holy shit, look at that TV!

this is only the washroom

This is the water closet. Yeah, we have a two-part bathroom.

And this was the view from our room:

And THIS is the pool area:

The pool as a tree!?!?

And the spa area:

And the sauna:

fuck yes

What I’m getting at here is that the hotel was awesome. Well, it was being renovated in some areas that they set up a blockade to. And by “blockade”  I mean they set up sheets and mattresses in front of the door ways. Needless to say, the guys and I checked that shit out. Other than that, I spent my two days in Austria chilling at the spa- well, after visiting Salzburg, going for a hike in the Alps, and white water rafting. That really brings my relaxation time down to four hours, but it was a goddamn relaxing four hours. I got to sit in a steam room, which combines my four favorite things: extreme humidity, nice smells, not being able to see far in front of me, and not doing anything. I then hopped into the sauna and let my body sweat as I had some quality bro-time with our tour guide.

We stayed at a Ski Lodge in the small, practically uninhabited town of Altenmarkt. No, this didn’t result in a Scooby Doo-esque mystery, but we did all discuss how we were probably in a horror movie. And who’s part each of us had. We decided that:
Either Cie Cie or Paul would die first, because they were our only two minorities on the trip. We figured that it would probably be Paul, since he’s a frat boy.

Sorry Paul

Anna would die second, because she’s Anna. And also loud.

We then decided that one of the sorority girls would die next, which means either Julie, Tristan, straight hair Lauren, or April.

After that, things get a little hazy and we don’t know who would die next, but we figured that either Kevin or Nick (The two nicest guys on the trip) would be the killer, and the other would survive. I pointed out that I would either be the hero, or I would die the coolest death, so they agreed that I would die the coolest death, because the douchebag usually does anyway. Zack would probably die heroically to save his girlfriend, Shar, and that other than Shar, Natalie and the other nice guy would be the only survivors.

Unless Natalie was the real killer all along…

I'm pretty sure Nat did it.

Sites

In Salzburg, there a few major sites, like Mozart’s house or where they shot The Sound of Music. They also have a statue of Mozart, a pretty epic fountain, and a castle on the edge of a cliff. While in Salzburg, most of the woman visited the palace that was the set of The Sound of Music, a group of us guys decided to go check out Mozart’s house. Well, we checked out the front of it, and decided if we’d ever come back, we’d totally go in.

One day, Mozart's house, one day...

As I said, Altenmarkt was pretty much a ghost town while we were there, what with it being a ski resort town on a Sunday in the middle of the summer, But they still had tons of great views on the dozens of hiking trails. What was also cool about the hiking trails is that they had several different workout activities placed around the bottom of the mountain. Nick and I stopped on our way back down so that I could try to do the iron cross. I totally did it on my first try. Isn’t that right, Nick?

Nick, don't make me do something we'd both regret.

Anyway, closer to the top of the mountain we stumbled upon some freaky, Blair Witch Project shit. Check this out:

Well, that's not that terrif-AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

OK, just a little weird, right, well how about this? You could see figures through the cracks in between the boards, and I assumed they were real people trying to scare/ murder us. Where we were was incredibly quiet and insulated with enough alpine forest that no one would ever hear screams.

And on a unrelated note, those two straw people kind of look like they’re humping. Just sayin’.

Food

In Salzburg, I had a bratwurst hotdog with mustard. It was amazing. The bun was warm and flaky and the brat itself tied with the brat I had in Heidelberg. But I did burn my mouth on it a little, so I guess I should deduct a few points for it in that respect. Sorry Austria.

I also had schnitzel again. And again, it was delicious. I had it this time at our dinner in Altenmarkt with my entire group. I assume everyone who wasn’t a vegetarian loved it, and I’m glad that they didn’t know that schnitzel isn’t schnitzel  unless it is made out of veal. PETA, apparently, isn’t a thing over in Germany. So that’s two things that Central Europe has in common with the American South. I honestly don’t mind eating veal, but then again, I don’t care what animal I’m eating as long as the meat that came from it tastes good.

I would like a steak of that with a side of carrots and a plate of cheddar bay Seabiscuits.

Alcohol

Honestly, I don’t think I drank much in Austria. However it could be that I was so hammered the entire time I was in Austria that I don’t actually remember drinking anything.

Yeah, it was probably that second one.

People

Well, The Austrian I had the most contact with was our tourguide, Andy, who I mentioned above as being the greatest thing to come out of Austria since schnitzel (I really loved that stuff), but  I was worried that Andy’s awesomness wasn’t an accurate depiction of all Austrians. I mean, other countries don’t base their assumptions of America on only one American, do they?

Well, shit.

The people I met in Altenmarkt were pretty nice, and they tolerated me and my antics, like riding a bear through their lobby and locking Natalie in the steam room because she gave me lip, so I’ve got to say that, definitively, all Austrians are amazing. They should be the poster children of Europe, not those dirty, dirty French.

Overall Atmosphere

One word: Serene

Altenmarkt (because it was a weekend during the off season) was magically peaceful. I literally saw only one person in town and a total of three cars. This was a great stop on our trip because it finally gave us an opportunity to sit and relax. The views everywhere were beautiful,  and even though it was cold and rainy the two days we were there, the place was still majestic. And it’s even more majestic when you see it while riding a bear.

OK, Pictures:

FYI This is Mozart. Yes, I thought he was a pudgy woman too.

Nick is on the far right. We had just come back down from our hike. Clearly, we should have waited for this group.

White water rafting is so metal

The MEN

Peace out

The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: Belgium

a

God Cj, a gun is not the same thing as a phone. This is why I never bring you hunting with me.

Overview

Brussels, apparently, was built one the sick fetish of little boys peeing. Let me explain. Legend has it that invaders were trying to set fire to Brussels because raping and pilliaging, while good for the invading force’s economy and the army’s moral, is still a lot of work. They opted instead (I assume under influence of a leader who had a disturbing fascination with lighting things on fire) to burn the whole city down. So they lit a fire and then fled, knowing that the people of Belgium were way too stupid to figure out how stop the magic hot light-wind. Luckily, a small boy really had to take a piss at the time, and thought, “Hey, why not?” He then proceeded to play fireman all over the fire.  The town was saved and, from the sounds of it, the invaders turned around and went home because they were the worst invaders ever- even worse than the Spanish. The people of Brussels then built a fountain in the boy’s honor- the fountain being a naked boy peeing into a basin.  The modern day people of Brussels dress the boy up in colorful clothing to signify an important holiday. Think of that next time you decorate your house for Fourth of July:  the only way you’re going to beat Belgium is if you dress a pissing child up in goofy clothes. The game is on, America, the game is on.

               

I won't be the first to say this, and I won't be the last: Europeans are weird.

Initial Thoughts

I do believe my first thought was, “What the fuck is that thing?” as I looked at the Atonium Building. Was it the real Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory? Or maybe Dr. Evil’s latest hideout? I had no clue. It took me stumblingupon a series of images of the world’s landmarks to actually find out its name. Although, I think a better story is that that is the hideout of superhero The Atom. Yeah, that is a much cooler idea. Let’s just say it’s that one.

I don't think Dr. Evil would hide in a place so gaudy.

Accommodations

We only stopped in Brussels for about an hour or so, so I didn’t have “accommodations”. So, to be honest, the accommodations were pretty awful.  Where we stayed there were no bathrooms, no beds, not even a goddamn roof. A one person tent is more luxurious than where we stayed in Brussels.  I hope you’re happy Belgium, you’ve incurred the wrath of the best and funniest blogger on the internet according to everyone the blogger is willing to talk to.

Food

Well, going in to Belgium, I knew I had to at least have waffles and chocolate. Belgium is like the Mecca of sweets. But, apparently, Brussels is also famous for mussels. Yeah, I didn’t know that either. I also didn’t know (what with me not being a huge fan of seafood) that mussels are actually really damn good.  Only slightly fishy, the mussels had a delicious savory taste to them with just a hint of celery (They were cooked along side some celery; they don’t just taste like that for no reason). The mussels also came with French fries because… I don’t fucking know why actually. We’re talking about Flems (what people from Belgium are called) here. What they call themselves is enough evidence to prove that they just make shit up as they go.

This is a douchey artistic photo I took of the mussels.

Anyway, after the mussels, we had very little time left in Brussels, so I really had to hussle to get some waffles.  I did, but I only got the plain one (the one with just chocolate, how boring).  The long and short of it was that it was good. I didn’t get a picture, but here is a picture of the waffle that one girl in my group, Julie, had. Enjoy:

How do you eat something like this? Do you just pour it into your mouth? As an American glutton, that is what my whole body is telling me to do.

Alcohol

For those of you who don’t know (This should be just about everyone who reads this) there is a specific type of alcohol that is associated with Brussels: cherry beer. For everyone (again-just about all of you)  who hasn’t tried it to get an idea of what it would taste like, take a cherry four loko, make it not taste like fermented ass,  but instead like an alcoholic cherry soda. Yes, it was good.

I don't always drink-hic- beer, but when I do- hic- I drink this cherry shit. It's real-hic- real-hic- really fucking good. YOU DON'T KNOW ME!!!!

People

Well, I didn’t get to speak to a lot of them because English is not their first language, and I don’t speak their crazy loogie language (it’s called Flemish… really). Therefore, the native person I talked to the most was the woman who served me my mussels.  She seemed to be mildly pushy, but overall really nice, so I’m going to assume that she only seemed pushy since she suddenly had to deal with 30 some odd American that demanded to eat all her shellfish like a bastardized version of the Walrus and the Carpenter. My observations of the rest of the Flemish people are that they are rather relaxed and easygoing people, much like the rest of Europe (other than the English, who are essentially Americans with cute accents). Another thing I noticed about the Flems: they love open markets in public squares. Within the short time I was there, I saw a gardening market set up in the Grand Place, and there was an art market set up right across the street from where we ate lunch.

Overall Atmosphere

In all honesty, Brussels had a very eclectic feel to it. It had the historical sections like London, the laid back feel (minus the constant cloud of cigarette smoke) of Paris, and the tight and winding side roads of  other European cities like Rome and Florence (I’ll be getting to those soon). It also had the deserted feel of a city in the middle of a zombie epidemic. I mean that in the most complementary way possible. But that still never creeped me out, so I guess that says just as much about me as it does Brussels.

Here are some extra pictures if you’re wondering what Brussels looks like:

OK, well that’s all I have for now. for next time, I think I’m not going to update on my travels (The next one will be of The Netherlands), but instead talk shit on some beloved pop culture icons, up to and including Harry Potter and the most interesting man alive from those Dos Equis commercials, so stay tuned!

The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: France

Well, this is embarassing. I’ve been home for over a month, and I am just now getting my second post up. Damn. But in my own defense, I have been busy rewriting my last 3 Awesomesquad! Assemble! blogs into a short story and also writing a letter of “go fuck yourself” to a former friend, so I’ve been a tad bit busy lately. I apologize. But enough of that gay stuff, here is my latest blog post!

The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: France

Ooh la la!

Overview

The area that people know of as “France” was originally settled by Romans during the expansion of the Roman Empire as a place where they could be free to eat stinky cheese, be snooty, and surrender to the Germans all they want. It is important to note that Germany was not an actual country until around 1814, so they had a good millennium or so of a head start. During that time, they were pretty badass: They built a massive palace and garden for the royal family at Versailles, they fought in all kinds of wars with England and Spain, they conquered most of the new world (which they would later sell to us, which was smart of them, because we we’re just going to take it from them anyway), and towards the end of 18th century, the cut off a fuck ton of heads in the name of democracy and tore down a prison with their bare hands. However, in the 100 Years’ War, they were sucking so hard that they needed a 19 year old girl to whip their asses into shape.  Today, the French are known around the world as “Those stuck up bastards with the weird hats and crepes.” To me, they appear to be the cultural enemy of the good ole U.S.OF.A. in that they are liberal, (The believe in that weird voodoo called “evolution” and they think gays deserve rights) while still maintaining a strong sense of nationalism. Hey, ever wonder why they think of themselves as too good for English? Well that’s because they think that if you’re in their country, you should know their language. Does that sound familiar, America?

Initial Thoughts

My first steps in France were not in Paris, but on the coast. We took a ferry from Dover across the English Channel. When my group stepped off of the ferry, we were met with a desolate wasteland. There was nothing but empty streets, empty parking lots, and empty buildings everywhere.  Due to my training in this field, I instantly assumed that a zombie outbreak occurred. In a flash, I had found a steel pipe and was proceeding to swing it frantically at anyone who got too close. Well, a few wings of that pipe and a couple of tranquilizer darts later, I was drooling on the bus and on my way to gay Paris. (On an unrelated note, “gay Paris” sounds much more offensive when it is not spoken with the French accent.)

Accommodations

In all honesty, the accommodations were pretty disappointing. I mean, our hotel wasn’t bad: It had a pretty decent breakfast,  it had a nice courtyard that we could sit (and get trashed) in, and even though the rooms weren’t as nice as the 5 star hotel in London, they weren’t half bad. But, and this is a huge but. I mean, like a Oprah Winfrey sized “but”. BUT when we went to the Palace of Versailles they would not let me sleep on any of the beds. NOT ONE! I even told them that it was OK since I am American and that they owed us since we saved their cheese eating asses in both World Wars, but they still wouldn’t let me. I was completely offended. I mean, sure I was jumping on the bed with my shoes on when they caught me, and yes, I do have a tendency to piss on things to mark my territory, but it was still my God given Amurican right to sleep in whatever palace I pee on. They’re just lucky I didn’t spit in their mouths and make them thank me for showing them what freedom tastes like.

Food

Well, In Paris I mostly ate brie and baguettes, so I have to say they don’t have a huge selection of food. I did have some crème brulee, which was much better than I expected.  I didn’t get to try escargot, but I did try it last time I was in Paris, and I have to say, once you get past the thought of “Hey, I’m eating snails right now,” they’re actually pretty good too. Those are the only 4 foods that French people eat. Talk to my Eurofriends to find out how the fast food chain, QuickBurger, is. I heard it was amazing.

Alcohol

Three words and one 1 hyphen: Cheap-ass wine. Seriously, you can buy a good bottle of red wine for about €4 (about $6.50). I shit thee not. But you need to be careful when buying wine; my roommate picked out wasn’t wine but grape juice. The people I was drinking with only noticed how smooth and good tasting it was. I was the one who thought, “Hey, something isn’t right here.” I looked at the bottle and wouldn’t you know it, it has “sans alchool” right on the bottle.

Needless to say, we were a stupid, stupid group of college graduates.

People

This one is a bit of a mixed bag. Of course, going in, you are just going to assume that every Frenchie that you meet is going to be a pretentious, scarf wearing cock. To my surprise, I did not see any of these French people. I did however watch as what I assume was a Parisian child spit off of a bridge and into a crowd of Japanese tourists on my Seine River boat cruise. I assume the child was French because he was, like, 10 and all alone in Paris, which he seemed to be comfortable with. Also, who doesn’t love to spit on tourists (when you’re not one of them.) Then, there was this one girl at a club in the redlight district that totally snubbed me when I tried to dance with her. In her defense, I didn’t speak any French other than what Andy (my tour guide) taught us, she didn’t speak any English, and I did try to start a conversation with her twice. Looking back, I was mad creepy to that girl.

I did meet a few nice people in Paris, but mostly because I was buying something from them.  A man in the subway station sold me a ticket for the train for only a Euro  ($1.50) when they were actually more than that. And he was nice enough to neither scam me, or demand fellatio from me.  that’s right, I bought something from some random guy in the subway station and not only did the ticket work (I went through the wrong entrance, but it still worked), but I was also not mouth raped. We Americans could learn so much from these French philanthropists… these Phrenchanthropists. Also, when some of my group and I were wandering  through the streets of Paris, scrounging for food, the man at the restaurant that we stopped at was incredibly friendly (even nicer than the nicest I have been treated by American fast food employees) despite the fact that I was blatantly attacking his native language with my uncivilized tongue.

Overall Atmosphere

Romantic. At least it looked that way. I bet if I was in love and I was there, I would be caught up in the beauty of everything, but since I wasn’t in love when I was there, I was just caught up in the Architecture, the history, and the locations of famous pop culture scenes. You know, like Inception:

This is the cafe from Inception. Yes, I was disappointed too.

And The Da Vinci Code:

No one was murdered there when I was there. What a jip.

And, well, that is all that I can think of right now.

I know of a certain lazy eyed hunch back who feels left out and forgotten.

But all that aside, Paris and Versailles is beautiful. And there’s so much to do that you need much longer than what I had (three days) to see everything. I am absolutely going back, if only to see their statue of liberty. I didn’t get to see it up close and , needless to say, that pissed me off so bad that I threw a mime into the river.

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