The party is over. I shaved two weeks’ beard. My jeans all fit a bit more snuggly. My room is a mess, with clothes, guidebooks, maps and foreign currencies in every corner, much like confetti. My cheeks, like those of the Iowan squirrel, are chubby, and I have enough cushion around my midriff to see me through long Iowan nights in February. All this evidence leads to one inescapable conclusion: I am back from my Europe trip!
This is simply a foreword, a teaser, an appetizer if you will, to preface the articles proper. Here is some set-up of my trip.
Over the summer, I shanghai’d two friends of mine to join me on a trip through Europe. Tyrone, a friend from Grinnell College, and Kyle, a friend from High School who is currently studying in Copenhagen, agreed to accompany me. We had six destinations, selected (partly) to get me the greatest culinary exposure possible in two weeks. We started in Barcelona, the great Catalan food mecca, and then went West, as young men are want to do, to Zaragoza. Continuing on, we visited friends in the Pays Basque region of France, just over the border from San Sebastian. Moving North to wine country, we visited Bordeaux. Finally, we cut across into the cold heart of Germany to Berlin, and then finally north to Copenhagen. I was gone from the 29th of December to the 14th of January. I will present each of the six cities in its own article, picking only the most delectable stories so as to allow all to vicariously live my adventure through Europe.
First, allow me to give some thanks. I would like to thank first, my parents for giving me the support to make this trip a reality. I would like to thank Tyrone and Kyle for putting up with my constant forays into bakeries, as they tried valiantly to sight see. I would like to express my most sincere thanks to Sylvie and Jean-Michelle Lambert, who were inexpressibly gracious hosts to us in Urrgune. Thank you all.