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How to couch surf: tricks and lessons from the road

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 14, 2008 in Travel Tips

Sean taking couch surfing too seriously in Copenhagen, Denmark on Oct. 31, 2008.

Sean taking couch surfing too seriously in Copenhagen, Denmark on Oct. 31, 2008.

If you peeped Episode Six, the last we did abroad, you saw us discuss the merits and failings of your options for accommodation.

We mentioned, as we have throughout our trip, couch surfing - a concept with which you should familiarize yourself if you plan on doing any extended cheap travel, whether it be in Europe, domestic or anywhere else. These networks are huge and extend through all boundaries.

While we talked about CS in the episode, I thought the process merited some more discussion.

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6

American sports gear, baseball hats displayed in Europe

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 13, 2008 in Foreign Perspectives

A selection of hats to buy in a Vienna, Austria Foot Locker on Oct. 23, 2008.

When traveling big European cities, you’ll likely see more New York Yankees hats than any other. Those hats represent too many things not to be so prevalent.

It is our country’s largest and most culturally present city. The Yankees - despite recent failings - were long a brand of consistent dominance in the sport long considered the most American of games. Their very name - the Yankees - is slang still used by some to refer, mostly playfully, to us. It’s a chance for teenagers in Budapest to seem international and for Swedish seniors to note family relations abroad.

Sean and I took a particular interest in the global politics of sport brands, particularly the baseball hat. We took copious notes on the subject. Those Yankees hats were most popular, but they certainly weren’t alone.

We were about to escape Brussels, which seemed the most European of the big Euro-metropolises we, without seeing a single American sports emblem. Then I spotted the bus driver. He had a Phillies hat, the Philadelphia baseball team on its way to its first World Series championship in nearly 30 years.

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3

When visiting, how a city isn’t a country

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 12, 2008 in Commentary

WDSTL at Tour Eiffel by We Don't Speak The Language.

I haven’t really been to the United Kingdom or England or whatever you’d like to call it. I spent less than a week in London, the country’s most populous city and de facto capital. That doesn’t offer much insight into the English mentality. Come to think of it, five days doesn’t allow me to know much about London itself.

I am on year five living in Philadelphia. I started out in a secluded dormitory for the city’s largest university, before renting out the ground floor of a fine rowhome in the Lower Tioga neighborhood.

I don’t know Philadelphia.

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Amsterdam versus Brussels, others: Euro frites to the death

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 11, 2008 in Commentary

Sean enjoying a sausage and fries at Curry 36, a food stall in Berlin, Germany.

Sean enjoying a sausage and fries at Curry 36, a food stall in Berlin, Germany.

I try to avoid American foods when traveling. So I can focus on local delicacies; so I can return home and appreciate it all as I stuff my food bag.

But I had to change plans for one of my favorite American foods: french fries. A handful of European cities have stalls that lay claim to being among the best.

We started the pursuit in Amsterdam and Brussels. Both cities have a rich tradition in French fried potatoes, seriously.

In Amsterdam, Mannekin Pis - like the statue in Brussels, confusingly enough - claims the best fries in Holland - and beyond if you ask the right person.

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Belgians say they developed the technique though. We were sent on a long walk south for the best fries in Brussels. They were good - the sausage burgers weren’t - but not worth world renown (video forthcoming).

Then, at a noted sausage stand in Berlin, we came across some more noted fries - Sean’s favorite on the trip.

I think I have to go with Amsterdam’s. Ooh. eating. Anyone have any good Euro-french-fry eating experiences?

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4

Graffiti around the world: How the Philadelphia creation of tagging has gone global

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 11, 2008 in Experiences

Graffiti in a skatepark in Brussels, Belgium. The Philadelphia creation has gone global.

Graffiti in a skatepark in Brussels, Belgium. The Philadelphia creation has gone global.

Graffiti is global.

We’ve spotted some great tags across Europe, more so than in even a city like Philadelphia, where the very concept developed - more on that below.

Check a slideshow of some of the best on Flickr.

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1

Dagens rätt in Stockholm, delicious and somewhat cheap

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 10, 2008 in Experiences

The fixed price menu of Slingerbulten in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov. 3, 2008.

The fixed price menu of Slingerbulten in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov. 3, 2008.

On Monday, Sean and I took on the urban Swedish tradition of dagens rätt, a fixed price menu for lunch, at Slingerbulten in Stockholm.

Fish, potatoes and cabbage, as per tradition, but even more so is the act of a cheap(er) meal for working people in a business district. We paid 80 Swedish krona ($10.5 USD). In a city as expensive as Stockholm, that is divine.

Check video of the feast below.

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We’re back: WDSTL comes home

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 9, 2008 in Experiences

Sean Blanda (left) and I on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps on May 28, 2008. Together we travel blogged and podcasted for a month while backpacking Europe.

Sean Blanda (left) and I on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps on May 28, 2008. Together we travel blogged and podcasted for a month while backpacking Europe.

OK, so we weren’t entirely honest.

If you saw our final episode, you know that Sean and I returned.

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, we flew from Stockholm, Sweden to Dusseldorf, Germany before heading across the pond back to Philadelphia.

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Where we stayed during our month-long tour of Europe

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 9, 2008 in Experiences

The bed on which I slept while couchsurfing in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 20, 2008.

The bed on which I slept while couchsurfing in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 20, 2008.

Turns out many of you have been interested in where we slept at nights. So we’ll do you one better. Here is a list of everywhere we stayed, our experiences and any other advice we have about this end of a tour like this.

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4

Ep. 7 - Back Home. Philadelphia, PA

Posted by Sean Blanda on Nov 8, 2008 in Podcast

Sean and Chris are back hone in Philadelphia.  They go over their regrets and give you advice for your own Eurotrip.

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2

Choosing your destination: Europe a ‘dusty museum’

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 8, 2008 in Travel Tips

A photo I took of the Coliseum in Rome March 2007.

A photo I took of the Coliseum in Rome March 2007.

More than a year ago I wrote a commentary piece for The Temple News, the college newspaper of my alma mater Temple University, deriding the European continent as location of choice for young travel.

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