Favorite Moments in Europe

1. Drinks with the Art of Manliness Himself

When I was in Brussels with my friends Tim Kenney and Katy Duffy, we visited a semi-famous independent brewery known for its careful preservation of the old method of making gueuze and kriek lambic, a fruity beer without carbonation. While there, we met a Canadian named Louis-Philippe Dionne, who had a fantastic moustache. The picture we took with him would have made the whole trip worthwhile even if Brussels hadn’t been awesome.

2. Touring shops on Champs di Elysèe

I didn’t know I liked shopping so much until I met Paris. I tried every men’s clothing store and every car outlet (Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari. etc). A night of browsing shops ended at the top of the Arc du Triomph with a panoramic view of the city (superior to that of the Eiffel Tower in that the Tower was part of the view). 

3. Eating a custom sandwich at a Salumeria in Sienna

I still don’t know why my friends abandoned me at the mouth of Heaven. Could anyone have resisted the celestial flood of aromas that besieged us from that Salumeria portal full of fortune and delectability? Of course not! Consequently, the next thing I knew I was ordering a 10 euro sandwich with several cheeses, salami, prosciutto, and pesto. I pointed at various carcasses hanging from the ceiling midst molds and spices, indicating that I desired it all. The butcher behind the counter, perhaps the most stereotypically Italian person I have ever seen, Mario mustache and all, obliged me with hyperbolic gestures and huge swings of a meat cleaver. I gratefully grabbed the sandwich and ran to a town square. I bit in… 

Words cannot describe…

4. Standing on a table and singing during Oktoberfest

There is nothing like singing words to a song you don’t know with people you don’t know after 4 steins of German beer (probably the equivalent of 12 cans of American beer).

5. sunbathing illegally in the aqueduct park

I am convinced that they made shirtless sunbathing illegal in Rome because of me and my friend E.J. There’s nothing like nuding it up next to ancient Roman monuments.

6. Dancing Gangnam style at a Roman dance club

The club Mood was small and loud. It was fun enough. Then they cranked up the Korean international sensation, and I went wild.

7. Bike tour in Barcelona

I am convinced there is no better way to see Barcelona. In two hours we saw every major neighborhood of the city. We saw the old city, Olympic park, boardwalk, beach, neighborhoods, parks, and Gaudi’s Sacra Familia. It was incredible.

8. Drinking rum on a pirate ship in Amsterdam

Our night in Brussels was going a little slow (as in, all the bars were very expensive) so we found a 7-11 and got a bottle of rum. We didn’t end up opening it until Amsterdam.

Now, Katy had booked the Amsterdam hotel. All we knew was it was once a ship and had been converted into a hostel. After a frozen walk in circles around the harbor, we finally came to the correct street. We look for anything ship-like, and the only obvious landmark are huge masts emerging from an old Danish Fluyt in the water. We start joking that this is our hostel, that we’ll end up sleeping on the Flying Dutchman. As we get closer, we realize that the name of our hotel is painted on its side.  

Sure enough, the pirate ship was our hostel. It was run by a bald, vaguely sailor-looking guy who immediately asked us if we wanted drugs. The night ended with us below deck, passing around a bottle of rum and laughing until we passed out.

9. Eating buffalo dairy

Who would have thought that a trip to a buffalo farm would be worth it? As it turns out, I had the best meal of my life there. Course after course of buffalo products (mostly mozzarella, but also yogurt and ice cream) kept us busy for hours.

Hi, I am Anthony, and I am a mozzarellaholic.

10. Hiking by myself to an edge of a cliff in Capri

When we were in Capri, we took a lift up Mount Solaro to a touristy viewing platform. It was beautiful, but there were a lot of people, and my Franciscan side needed some space to contemplate the natural beauty. The area was not well watched, so I hopped a fence and jogged down the mountainside until I came around to a 200-foot cliff. I looked over it, dropped a rock off it, and enjoyed an adrenaline rush from the “safety” of an overhanging tree before rejoining the others.

“He didn’t fall!? Inconceivable!”

11. Going to baths in Budapest with Andrich.

I’ve not felt so refreshed in years at least. Andrich, the husband of my family’s Hungarian friend Noni, was great company.

Gellert Baths Budapest Hungary

12. Making friends in Vienna.

It was one of those critical moments. I had been traveling by myself for several days, and thus had turtled into a particularly introverted mood. I knew that the Australian girls sitting next to me at the bar were my roommates at the hostel. Fatefully, I was able to force myself out of solo-travel-mode long enough to turn around and introduce myself. Immediately I met about 6 other people, one of whom lived in Prague and showed me all the cool night spots when I went there the next day. We all went out together and had a blast, even though all Vienna was closed on a Monday night.

13. Climbing to the top of Montserrat.

After everyone else had left Barcelona, Juan Manuel and I went up to the mountain monastery of Montserrat. It turned out to be an absolute tourist trap with no sign of any real monastic life, but lucky for me the mountainside was covered with hiking trails of various difficulties. Juan and I set out on the hardest one to the peak of the mountain (I think the highest mountain in the region). Juan gave up halfway up because he was worried about time, but I continued to the top as fast as I could. I was rewarded with a view of all of Spain and a several mile steep downhill jog.

14. Snowball fight with Milan cousins

After attending a dinner celelbration for my cousin Vittorio’s fiancee’s birthday, one of my cousins’ friends started a snowball fight. We ended up warring in the snow for almost an hour. At one point I picked up a huge block of snow the size of my abdomen. Vittorio’s fiancé ran at me with her own snow ball, so in self defense I threw it at her. She got destroyed. I apologized, but I have no regrets. 

15. Diving off rocks in Capri

The rest of our group stayed on the beach, but Alex Yaney and I swam out to the giant craggy rocks in the middle of the harbor. We spent hours first diving off the rocks, then swimming out to the cliffs and climbing on those.

16. Seeing the tomb of St. Peter

Enough said. 

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