1. Breaking your little toe the day before you leave for a trip where you will be walking 10 hours a day is not a good idea.
2. Icelandic Air gives you NO free food on their flights – even ones over 8 hours. No peanuts, nothing. You must buy everything. Not cool.
3. Iceland is very very expensive – think $30-$40 for a normal meal, per person. Rough.
4. Icelanders REALLY love their licorice. It’s the main candy choice, by far. Mainly we saw the brand Dracula – a little weird to know that little Icelandic kids probably relate Dracula more to candy than they do to blood sucking.
5. Reykjavik has an awesome restaurant/coffee shop called The Laundromat which is also – surprise! – a laundromat! So you can get dinner/drink some coffee while you do your laundry. Brilliant! Los Angeles, get on this.
6. The afore mentioned Laundromat also has book shelves wrapped around the bar that have color coordinated books – as all cool places should!
7. You can get an “Iceland sampler” at some restaurants that include pieces of puffin, whale and cured shark – the national dish – which is so potent it is served to you in a sealed mason jar. Unfortunately, I did not have the $65 necessary to sample said meats.
8. Reykjavik features the worlds only Phallological museum. (Yes, that means a penis museum). I was excited to go, and then quickly horrified by the hundreds of disembodied penises floating in jars. Descriptions were in several languages – including Esperanto. They boast to have a sample from every mammal that lives on Iceland. That includes a full specimen (public scalp, too) from a 95-year-old man. (Shudders). Feminists, you will be pleased to know that there is a vagina museum in Rotterdam. Guess I better hit that up next, just for balance.
9. The word geyser comes from an Icelandic town “Geysir” where there are several geysers. All geysers are named after these!
10. One of the most beautiful places in the entire world is near Reykjavik – a waterfall with a permanent rainbow over it – called Gullfoss. Really amazingly spectacular.
11. Everyone – regardless of age or gender – LOVES a good water slide.
12. The pastries in Paris are just as amazing as they say.
13. When traveling in Paris, everyone will find their little patisserie/boulangier with their favorite snacks and will need to go daily. Mine had the most incredible ham/Gruyère/butter baguette I have ever tasted in my life. I felt like Jerry Horne from Twin Peaks coming back with a suitcase full.
14. The most popular dog in Paris currently is not the poodle, but the jack russell. I saw them everywhere.
15. Shakespeare & Company is one of the very best bookstores in the world. I took a two hour nap there on the bed provided. Heavenly.
16. Accidentally arriving at Notre Dame when evening mass is starting is pretty awesome.
17. The curator at the Orsay really knew what they were doing when they put this painting front and center when you walk into the room.
18. French people really DO all walk around with baguette peeking out of the top of their grocery bags.
19. David Lynch designed a nightclub called Silencio in Paris – it is very exclusive (members only until midnight). And I got to go! More on this later….
20. Absinthe bars sound like a great idea, and you will feel cool dissolving the sugar on the spoon, but it tastes fucking awful and makes you feel like you are dying.
21. My favorite part of the cruise along the Seine wasn’t all the happy French couples kissing, or the friends hanging out on the banks, but the teenager who flipped me off. Right on, kid.
22. Sometimes sitting in a park in Paris watching people can be more fun than looking through museums.
23. The coolest record store ever is in Paris – it is a bookstore, comic book store, movie store and record store all in one. They were playing the Fame soundtrack while I was in there, and no one minded me singing along. I scored some sweet French 60’s pop vinyl for 20 cents a piece. 20 cents!!
24. The public toilets of the future are here – and are on the streets in Paris. They are cylinders that have an automatic door that opens & closes behind you and a friendly woman’s voice welcoming you inside. Automatic soap, water, dryer and towel dispensers. After every user, the cylinder closes and goes through a thorough 30 second cleaning and disinfecting cycle. The best part? They’re FREE!! Los Angeles, get on this.
25. America desperately needs to get curry dipping sauce at their McDonald’s. Its scrumptious.
26. French people really do exclaim things like “Voila!” and “Sacre Bleu!”
27. 2 years of high school French will get you surprisingly far.
28. London really is my favorite city in the world.
29. Vinmag is one of the coolest stores in the world – I got a Battleship Potemkin bag, and a Quadrophenia shirt. I go every time I am in the UK. We need one here, badly. Los Angeles, get on this.
30. Brighton, original home to the mods, still has one of the raddest mod shops ever. I go in every time just to drool and wish I were a skinny British lad in the 60’s.
31. I will get asked for directions in every foreign country I am in. I take this to mean I look like a native and that I look like I know where I am going. I take it as a compliment.
32. They still sell jellied eels in seaside towns in the UK. Please stop the madness, Britain.
33. Taking a break for afternoon tea – complete with scones, jam and clotted cream – is really delightful. Why don’t we do this? Los Angeles, get on this.
34. Camden is, without a doubt, the most incredible shopping district in the world.
35. Cyberdog is an incredible store because it started in the early 90’s – which means it went from being futuristic clothing to retro-futuristic clothing without blinking an eye.
36. I get a donut from the donut man in Camden every time I go, because they look so big and delicious – and I forget every single time how terrible they are. Never again.
37. Scala Beyond is an amazing six week tribute to the now defunct London Scala – look at these films!
38. The Prince Charles Cinema is – next to the New Bev of course – now my favorite movie theater in the entire world.
39. Every cinema should have sweet as well as salty popcorn – Los Angeles, get on this.
40. Spending even just one day in London will ensure that when you blow your nose that night, it will be black.
41. It is impossible to walk through London without slipping back in time in your mind – mostly to Victorian London and how incredibly god awful it must have been.
42. If it is the right consistency, you can punch a bowl of custard as hard as you can and your hand will simply bounce off the top. But, if you slowly push your hand in the top, it will sink all the way in. ASTOUNDING.
43. Primark – while having outstanding clothes at stupidly low prices – is hell on earth.
44. Penguin publishes terrific books.
45. I should never eat at another Wetherspoon’s as long as I live. Repulsive.
46. I want to marry, or possibly BE Paul Vickery – the programmer for the Prince Charles Cinema.
47. I love Mr. Kipling’s “exceedingly good” cakes more than any human should. It is scary. I am going to start a one woman petition to ask them to export to the USA. Cherry Bakewells and Angel Slices could bring me to my knees.
48. While the underground seems to break down & have an awful lot of delays, the conductors always very politely explain the reasons to you, which I find very considerate of them, in the long run.
49. Night of the Comet & Fast Times at Ridgemont High are timeless and cross cultural boundaries very well. EVERYONE loves Spicoli.
50. Having my name ten feet high on a marquee just off Leicester Square in London means I can pretty much die happy now.