Traveling is pretty nifty. You get to visit exciting places, meet interesting people, eat exotic foods, do unique things, and play hella video games. What? Is that last one not on your ideal list of things to do while sitting next to the Louvre? Well then screw you for thinking you're better than me.
Hi, I'm Cole and I make snap judgments of people by what I perceive them to be thinking while they read my articles. I don't get invited to a lot of parties.
About two years ago I traveled around Europe and bits of northern Africa for about six months. Yes. I am very interesting. And while I was there I did lots of things.
It was nice.
But I'm here to drunkenly ramble at you about one of those things in particular. Story time, if you will. And if you won't, then, well, too bad. I tell stories.
One of the sweetest girls I've ever met, and pretty as all get out. And yes, she was a colossal Zelda fan. I was in love. This story started off like all good stories. By getting day drunk and stumbling around Athens until walking became a task worthy of the gods. So I went back to my hostel. Normally I didn't go to too many hostels on my travels, as I was very near being broke most of the time. I'm not just bitching…well, I am, but it's also vaguely relevant to the story. You'll see later.
I spent the evening in my hostel with the brothers who ran the place, making bow and arrows out of sticks and clothes people had left behind, and then shooting each other. It was pimping.
After dark I returned to my room to do some great quantities of nothing (I succeeded admirably), but after a time, a new girl came in my room. The room had been fairly empty, so I was actually a little upset at the sight of another human sharing my space, because I'm all awkward and spiteful like that. But I actually came to a silent peace with this girl when I saw her playing on her tablet, because of her background.
Okay, confession time.
I really love The Legend of Zelda video game series. Like, you don't even know how much. Well, you actually will in a minute, or you already do if you're somewhat literate and read the title of this article. I once tried to propose to a girl using nothing but quotes from Link (screaming nonsensically while breaking her pottery). It didn't work. But I digress.
If you don't know The Legend of Zelda, then it's not really completely necessary to enjoy the article, but you are a lesser person because of that fact. Don't take my word for it. It's just science. (Don't look at science like that.)
The only thing you need to know about this game series, other than its world-imploding awesomeness, is that the main character's name is Link. Yes, it makes sense if you play the games (if you want to go do that real quick, I'll wait. Go ahead. It's cool. I'll still be here). And this character, Link, was the background of this girl's tablet. So naturally, I engaged her in conversation. Fortunately she spoke fluent English. Also fortunately, I'm quite the smooth operator.
"Hey, um, so, so you umm, like, um—"
"Oh, nothing. Nothing. Erm, you think, uh, Legend of Zelda is cool?"
Women can't resist my mighty charms.
Now fortunately she was as patient as a saint, and we actually wound up having a lovely conversation. One of the sweetest girls I've ever met, and pretty as all get out. And yes, she was a colossal Zelda fan. I was in love. Still am, a little bit.
Now normally I change people's names in my stories so they won't be associated with all of my groin-centric humor, but this time I think I'll leave her name unchanged in the name of artistic integrity.
So me and Stormpunch Armageddonslayer where chatting, and it turns out she was taking a holiday there in Greece, just for fun, but was actually itching to get back home, because she's the coolest person in the world, and had pre-ordered the newest Zelda game before she had left, and it was waiting for her back home (this was right when Skyward Sword had come out), so she was pretty much done with Greece.
I jokingly said she should let me come back to her place and play.
She said yes.
I had to change my pants.
She was half joking, I'm pretty sure, because she didn't know me that well and didn't think I'd have a near psychopathic obsession with this game, but there you go.
So where did she live?
Stuttgart, Germany. Check Google Maps real quick and make a comparison between there and Athens.
I said yes anyway.
She flew back a couple of days later, so she had that covered, but remember how poor I told you I am, earlier? Yeah, told you it would be important.
Now, I was used to hitchhiking at this point (I had been most of the time I was over there), but this was a long way to go (mostly backtracking actually, as I had already been through Italy, and it would actually be my third time in Germany) but scientists need special instruments to measure the absolute lack of shits I gave. I was gonna play that game, dammit.
So I packed up, left Athens, stuck my thumb out, and hitched a ride to the coast to catch a ship to Italy.
Silly Cole, you can't hitchhike on ships! What do you think you're going to do on the coast? you say, because you don't understand how pre-written articles work.
And I'll have you know, Voice That Only Exists Because I Typed You Into Existence, that I had actually hitchhiked my way onto a ship earlier in my trip. I hitchhike so hard.
But, yeah, it didn't work this time and I had to buy a ticket to Italy. It was cheap. I didn't get a room. I just hung around the first class room as much as I could because I was filthy and smelled bad. So I'd walk around the fairly empty area and sit as close as I could to very well-to-do looking people and smile at them a bunch. They hated it.
Italy was still unfairly beautiful compared to the rest of Europe and the food still tasted like an angel dipped in happiness, but I had to hitchhike my way out of there regardless. Which was pretty difficult, because while most of the European Union has taken quite well to English (and it's pretty easy to get around in most countries over there these days), Italy is still clinging quite heavily to their own tongue. Which makes getting around a touch difficult. I'm not blaming them or anything; it's their country, of course they can speak their own language. Besides, everything they say, no matter what about, sounds like a delicious pasta recipe. (Because I'm apparently very racist.)
But regardless of this revealing fact, I still managed to get a ride to some town in France. Nice town. Probably. I only stuck around long enough to put on three pants sizes by gorging myself on wonderful pastries before going on my way again.
This stretch took a bit longer. And God. Damn. Was it boring.
I've hitchhiked with nuns, exotic bird dealers, a group of stone cold badass Algerians, even the German Army one time, but never before in my hobo career had I run into such a long stretch of absolutely disinteresting people.
Most of the people who picked me up spoke at least passable English, but just had no interest in maintaining any sort of conversation.
"Oh where are you from? That's nice. We're never going to speak again from here on out and it's going to make you feel tremendously awkward. Have fun."
I wound up in Lyon and decided Screw it, trains are way faster than hitchhiking. Note: I had no train money.
Meh, I'll just hop the train. What's the worst that'll happen? I'll get caught and arrested or something? Yeah, right.
And fortunately for me that day, the concept of irony was on one hell of a meth bender, because I actually didn't get caught. Dreams do come true.
So I touched down in Stuttgart and met up with Stormpunch Armageddonslayer and she let me crash on the extra couch in the apartment she shared with four other roommates. All very nice people but I don't think I actually talked with any of them for the first five days because I was holed up in Stormpunch Armageddonslayer's room, absolutely crushing Zelda with her. It was beautiful.
Anyway, I was there for a month and that's where I spent Christmas 2011. It was the best Christmas ever.