10 Predictions for Zack & Caitlin’s Crazy Europe Adventures

12 Sep


After two years, it’s finally here — Zack and I are flying to Europe. It’s Zack’s first time there*, and after our first few days in Germany, the rest of the trip will be all-new to me, too. We’ve got all of our hotels, flights, and train rides booked, and there’s a hard itinerary planned for Paris. We’ve got loose plans for all of the other cities, and narrowed down our activities to the best options we found in travel guides and cross-checking with Yelp. Per our personalities, there’s a lot of food**, biking, and outdoor enjoyment involved. We’re all revved up and ready to go, and although I’ve got some lingering anxiety, I know Zack will keep me grounded. As he keeps reminding me, as long as we’re together, it’ll be a great time***. We brainstormed some predictions about our trek, and explain them below. No matter what, I know this is going to be an unforgettable trip of a lifetime.

*I can’t believe I’ve never been. I got free trips to Australia and Israel and visited my sister in Buenos Aires, but am ecstatic to finally see Europe.

**Mostly ice cream and chocolate. Ok, a couple fancy Italian and French restaurants too.

***I keep telling her, even if her biggest fears happen and we miss flights or get sick, we’ll be together, making each other laugh and enjoying some free time together.


1. We will have so much trouble communicating that we abandon the activity we’re trying to do.

I am not one to have patience with activities that I find challenging or daunting. Especially in the art of communication, I get flustered when I can’t express myself appropriately. The last time I was in Freiburg, because I hadn’t known I needed to get my student traveling pass stamped by the University, a rail officer started speaking to me firmly in German. I didn’t understand him, and began to cry in front of a lot of strangers as I shrugged and he wrote me a ticket. A kindly woman nearby did her best to translate for me, explaining to the officer I clearly needed to be spoken to in English but he ignored her and continued yelling in German. I ended up only having to pay a small portion of the ticket for the misunderstanding, but it was a very stressful experience all-around and made me feel a bit ashamed. Hopefully since Zack will be with me this time, I’ll have the stamina to stick with whatever it is we’re doing. I hope that we don’t end up abandoning any restaurants, museums or other activities due to language barriers, but if it happens, I think it’ll happen in Venice. All of the “roadways” being water = massive potential for confusion. I think we’ll end up doing what we want to do for the most part. I agree the Venice language barrier and gondola situation could end badly, but we’ll map out where we’re going and try to find places we can walk to or take a water bus. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing. Anyway, we’ll be those tourists who go “Eifel Tower, s’il vous plaît?” or “Colosseum, per favore?” It really helps that we start in Germany where Caitlin knows the language and can keep a nice Jewish boy feeling safe. I’ll step up in the other countries.

Zack’s Guess: Almost, but we’ll prevail.

Caitlin’s Guess: Gotta piggyback Zack here, because I think together we will conquer whatever we set out to do.


2. We will only visit two of the four+ museums on our list in Paris.

Our day-by-day plans for Paris are pretty intense. We want to fit in museums, parks, monuments, and lots and lots of delicious Parisian delicacies. I think that if we end up cutting anything to slow down and take in more time at a cafe, it’ll be a museum. I know for certain we won’t want to cut the parks and gardens we want to visit, and things like the lock bridge and Eiffel Tower and simply must-sees for us. We’ll definitely go to the Louvre, but particularly on our last day in Paris where we planned to hit up two back-to-back museums, I could totally picture us saying, nah, we’d rather go wander in the park s’more. I just re-read the Paris plan and think we’ll hit up the Musee d’Orsay and Rodin as predicted. They’re both next to each other and have some really incredible pieces. I think we’ll have to take advantage of that opportunity. Even if we do walk through them at a quicker pace.

Zack’s Guess: We’ll make 3-4 museums.

Caitlin’s Guess: I’ll say we make it to 3 museums.


3. Paris will be our favorite city.

I don’t want to be playing favorites already, and I truly think we’re going to fall in love with every spectacular city we’re visiting. Berlin has always been my favorite European city that I’ve ever been to, because it reminds me of New York so very much. Freiburg is going to feel like home, and I think Venice and Rome are going to totally surprise me with their romance and history. But Paris is going to sweep my off of my feet. This isn’t even really a question — I feel confident that finally being in the hometown of so many of my favorite musicians is going to leave me with permanent starry eyes. Still, the language barrier in Canada ended up being more frustrating than I anticipated, and I do fear that native Parisians will be frustrated by another American with no knowledge of the French language. Hopefully, though, Zack and I will be so immersed in our plans that we won’t notice any eye-rolls directed our way, and will instead live in a dreamy haze of chocolate and wine. I think I’ll have a soft spot in my heart for Paris after this visit, but might surprise myself and Caitlin by saying Berlin is the city I want to go back to most. Beer and biking might overtake chocolate and wine when all’s said and done. I’d happily have a 5-way tie though.

Zack’s Guess: Berlin or 5-way tie

Caitlin’s Guess: I LOVE that Zack thinks he’ll walk away calling Berlin his favorite. I’m going to say Paris will be mine, but would be more than happy with a surprise 5-way tie or any other city knocking me off my feet.


4. We won’t go swimming during the entire trip.

In almost every city, there is some kind of amazingly impressive community pool, beach, or other watering hole. While we are excited about the idea of indulging in at least one of these places, I could totally see our Texan butts being surprised by how cool it is already overseas, and deciding it is simply not swimming weather. If we don’t make it to Badeschiff in Berlin (pictured above), the likelihood of this prediction coming true can pretty much be set at 99.9%. Yeah. I’d love to end up swimming that first night as there’s a crazy dance party going on, but it’s not going to be very warm outside (high of 70) and the idea of changing into and out of swimsuits and finding our way back to our hotel, etc. makes me feel this may be a swim free vacation. I really wouldn’t be disappointed.

Zack’s Guess: We won’t swim.

Caitlin’s Guess: We will go swimming once, somewhere.


5. We will have ice cream (at least) once a day.

This is more of an aspiration than a prediction for me. There are just SO many incredible gelato shops in every single city we’re visiting, that I can’t imagine us skipping a single day. However, I know that this puts fear in the heart (and stomach) of Zack. I think it’d be a given to say we’ll have dessert at least once a day, so I figure I’ll throw this one down and see what happens! Hey, we’ll be walking and biking a ton — that’s enough for me to really claim my Ice Cream Queen crown, I think:) It literally does give me a stomach ache just thinking about ice cream every single day. I’ll say this. We will have dessert every day. Maybe even multiple times a day on occasion. We’ll have some incredible chocolate in Germany and macaroons where macaroons are and gelato in Italy, but I think ice cream every single day is pushing it. 8-10 times? Very possible. Every single day? I’d like to be walking constantly and not bogged down in a food coma.

Zack’s Guess: Dessert every day: yes. Ice cream every day: no.

Caitlin’s Guess: I will have ice cream every day. Zack will have dessert every day.


6. We will climb the stairs of the Eiffel Tower to the top.

I desperately want to do this. I could see the line being long or being wary of heights, but I think this would be lovely to do and we’d get great views and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I hope Caitlin’s game and we get to climb. I’m totally game! While I sometimes overestimate my bravery, fear of heights in a sturdy building that’s built for me to not die is not a thing. I’d love to see the sights from the top of the tower, and I hope we make this a priority.

Zack’s prediction: We climb to the top.

Caitlin’s prediction: Put on your mountain shoes, we’re makin’ the ascent!


7. Zack will, despite his deepest desires to do so, NOT ever check on his Fantasy Football team.

This is tough for me. I have a bit of a fantasy football obsession, but I desperately want to NOT check it this trip. I’ve e-mailed two friends to watch my six teams and I gave them instructions, but above all else told them to trust their instincts and to not contact me about it. I’m going to delete the ESPN and Yahoo! apps off my phone and tell my league members not to tell me who won my match-ups. I want to unplug from Facebook and Twitter while I’m there as well. The only thing I’d like to do is post occasional trip photos on Instagram so it’s not all #latergram or 100 pics posted when we’re already home. Other than that, it will be really nice to seriously unplug for a while and be in the moment. I have trouble doing that, and what better time than now. I love this, and I will do everything I can to (kindly and gently) help Zack keep to his word here. I’ve been making a habit of unplugging from the online world after work for a full week each month, and the energy and peace I feel during these weeks tells me it will not be difficult at all to unplug. Just know this, dear readers:  I promise you, I’m alive! (That one’s for you, mom.)

Zack’s Prediction: Someone may text him info, but he will not seek it out.

Caitlin’s Prediction: I like that Zack’s prediction is written very biblically, so I’ll follow suit:  He may have trouble, but He will maintain the strength of will and mighty patience to Unpluggeth from The Internet.


8. Zack will say “When in Rome” more than 20 times … when in Rome.

Easily over. Double it if I get drunk. Triple it if I get drunk on scotch. I apologize in advance, Caitlin. This will be our last city and I’ll have that “let’s do it up” as a last hurrah feeling about me and I’ll be feeling saucy and quote-y. Oh, it’s totally fine. I played into this prediction by putting two “When in Rome” songs on a Europe mix I made for Zack, the favorite being a Billy Joel tune that you should listen to right now.

Zack’s Prediction: Over, duh.

Caitlin’s Prediction: Obviously over. I think the REAL challenge is whether or not Zack will say “when in Rome” more than he will say “Sortaaaaaayyyyy,” because we’ll be back in the world of “Sortie” signs in Paris…

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.45.00 AM

9. We will talk about Scooby more than 20 times over the course of the trip.

Not only will I take the over, I think we’ll be over 20 before we leave Germany. I miss this dude so damn much already. I’m already bugging Caitlin’s mom for pics of him and we haven’t left yet. I’d say we should keep track of the amount of times, but I’d rather keep track of things like how many times we get lost or are at a lack of words for how beautiful something is or have a language issue, etc. Let’s just say we’ll miss him a ton. Ditto, ditto, ditto. I want to rub his belly and give him eskimo kisses immediately!!!

Zack’s Prediction: WAY over.

Caitlin’s Prediction: Overrrrrr.


10. We will actually, finally, have a relaxing vacation.

For the most part, yes. It’ll be a bit stressful until we get to our hotel in Berlin. That first 24 hours of travel won’t be the most relaxing, but I think once we get there and get our bearings, we’ll have a mostly relaxing and incredible trip. It’s going to be busy and adventurous, but in the best ways. I think we’ll wish we’d picked one less city and have our share of language barriers and feel tired from time to time, but we’ll make the most of it and have the time of our lives. I agree with all of this. I’m already wary of having picked one too many cities to explore, but it’s tough not to make the most out of a very expensive European flight. I believe we’ll walk away from this trip feeling like we made great decisions, and have more cities to dream about and amazing memories to last a lifetime.

Zack’s Prediction: Our most relaxing vacation to date, but still an adventure.

Caitlin’s Prediction: The most relaxing vacation we’ve ever haaaad, but definitely still a whirlwind of activity.


4 Responses to “10 Predictions for Zack & Caitlin’s Crazy Europe Adventures”

  1. jessthetics September 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    I’m actually really excited about your trip for you! If you want any tips on Paris (art and vintage shopping especially, or, err, things to avoid which I didn’t manage to) just give me a bell, although it sounds like you have things pretty planned out already! I have to say, out of any European country I’ve visited, I find the French the least willing to compromise when it comes to the language barrier. I can count on two hands the number of French words I know, and they are not impressed (understandably) when you try to speak to them in English. But, after a lot of gesturing, you can always get your point across. I’m so jealous about the Germany part – I’ve never been and I would love to! xx


    • tapeparade September 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      I agree the french are the least impressed with english! The danish love english though, they are always willing to practise. X

  2. tapeparade September 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    No way I didn’t even realise you were planning a trip over! When did this come about? Have I just really been missing posts or something? If you’re coming to London please hit me up as tour guide!!!

    I hope you guys have the most fabulous time and I can’t wait to read about it though. One little tip-off (and this is not meant to sound patronising at all) but most of us Europeans get annoyed at US tourists saying “we’re visiting Europe” whilst you’re over. This is something I’ve discussed with my American family (my mums side) multiple times, I think sometimes in the US media Europe is presented as a kind of counterpart to the US, i.e. as a selection of smaller entities all linked together in a similar way to the US. Although obviously whilst the US is a collection of states with a common government and (broadly) the same policies and legal system Europe just happens to be a continent with numerous countries, however all countries have their own seperate histories, governments, schooling system, cuisine, culture etc etc. It’s just geography linking them together, France and Spain are no more the same place than France and India they just happen to be next door. I think most Europeans identify nationally by country rather than as European (i.e. a French person would describe themselves as French rather than European) and definitely when my two cousins and I were travelling around everywhere they innocently said “it’s great here in Europe” the local germans/spaniards/danes would look at them in a pissy manner even though my cousins obviously meant no harm. Cue me like “Oh we’re from England, they mean we’re enjoying your country” etc. Wouldn’t want you to have the same!

    Have a bloody amazing time you guys 🙂 XXXXX

  3. Caitlin October 2, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Thanks so much for your tips, ladies!! We managed far better than I feared with the language barrier and had an absolute blast.

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