Putting my metabolism to the test

9 Mar

I’m not going to lie: I think very highly of myself right now.  I just got back from a week long tour of the European institutions in Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris; I’m going to Strasbourg tomorrow to visit the European Parliament with IES; Friday I’m off to Copenhagen, Denmark (or “The Land of My People” as I like to call it); then Cologne on Monday for the Fastnacht celebration.  Sleep when you die, they always say.

My trip last week across Germany, Belgium and France was much better than the quarantine I faced in Berlin/Prague.  In the mornings I got my dose of academia, with meetings at the European Central Bank, European Commission, European Council, and World Bank. In the afternoons, it was tourist time.  In Frankfurt, I basked in the beauty of professional men in business suits everywhere.  Sadly, we were only there for part of the first day, so it was a short-lived love affair.  Next was Brussels, the capital of the EU.  I haven no idea what drug withdrawals would feel like, but I have a feeling its something like eating Belgian waffles everyday then suddenly not having them anymore.  In respect of Belgian tradition, I had to try the beer before I left, but as I am not a beer lover–or even liker–, I tried Delerium’s Kirsche Bier (cheery beer) and may have found the only beer in the world I can actually swallow.  After three days in Brussels it was on to Paris.  My expectations for Paris were set extremely low, as I have heard nothing but bad things about it.  Yet every pre-judgement I had about this gorgeous city was completely wrong.  Sure there are a lot of conners and pickpocketers, but otherwise the people are incredibly friendly and nice.  When I was lost for 1.5 hours attempting to find my way back to the hotel after the metro had already stopped running, 4 different people asked me if I needed help (clearly I did with my nose buried in a map and seriously confused expression on my face–couldn’t be more American).  I know what you’re thinking–blonde American girl in Paris, of course they offered to help, I was an easy target.  But everyone was super helpful.  The story does get a little scarier beyond that, but I’ll leave that part out, for the sake of preventing my mother from a heart attack.  Just make sure you remember the metro stops running at 2 AM if you every go to Paris…  Our last day in Paris, some friends and I climbed the stairs up the Eiffel Tower, then grabbed some crepes for the 8 hour bus trip back home.  You know you’re American when you’re running down the streets of Paris, double-fisting crepes in both hands, to jump onto a giant white bus.  Don’t worry, even I’m ashamed of myself sometimes.

The day after we got back was Rosenmontag, a national holiday in Germany.  They celebrate with Fastnacht, which honestly I don’t entirely understand other than there was a parade, lots of good food stands, and people in costumes all over the city.  Oh, and more crepes 🙂


One Response to “Putting my metabolism to the test”

  1. Kendra March 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Will you please be careful!!!! Sounds like you are having a great time and learning tons. I amso proud of you!

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