Friday, October 13, 2017

Eurocrats

Looks like Bring Your Kid to Work Day coincides with a week-long tour of duty through the heart of the Eurocracy. Shine your shoes son and get ready to push some serious paper, in five official languages of course.


Wise plan kid, fortify yourself for negotiations with those pesky Brexiteers. A fine bottle of Bordeaux to the first bureaucrat who can find a way to slap a tariff on their dour football exports.



If DC is a swamp then Brussels is an entire Everglades. The committee to pick the working group to name the chair of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cultural heritage task force is now in session. Conveniently translations are available in seven languages should you wish to follow along.



If you're going to be mired in a swamp, might as well pick one with world class beer. 



Dad, these European kids all have beer in their sipee cups. You told me I should immerse myself in the culture.


Frankfurt Main, home of the once-mighty Euro. Probably need to flip that statue upside down folks, how else do you artistically depict negative rates?



Dad this whole road warrior thing is hard work. Yeah kid, just try doing it with a 1.5 year old in tow.


Daddy can I please ride the slide? Yes son, but only because it's Star Alliance. 



No European visit is complete these days without a ridiculously chic Airbnb right in the middle of the old town, in this instance Prague. Because who doesn't want to live in an Ikea catalogue?



Nice, uhm, cones.


Not exactly stroller friendly terrain. Must be why Euro kids are so well behaved and walk politely behind Mommy carrying the day's baguette. 


Here come the Americans, with their crass manners, Grande coffees, and obnoxious accents. Yeah well we also came with our B-29s so suck it up.



Old town Prague was one of the few to survive the war intact. Whether it will survive its own popularity on the tourist circuit is another matter, the place it just about overrun.


Luckily it doesn't take much to find a quiet alley where life goes on just as it did long before Easyjet shrunk the map of Europe down to a train ride to Luton. When we say life goes on as it always has, we of course mean you have to wait 45 minutes for a waiter to actually show up.



Dad, if the people own the factors of production can I just take one of these cute houses? I mean I basically own them, right?


Because the only think more hip than a hanging single-speed is a vertically hanging single-speed... on the wall of an repurposed Communist collective. 


Dad maybe we should come back after Brexit, you know once all these Brits have reclaimed the glory days of their Empire by staying at home and watching Coro over mashed peas.



How come Communism always looks so cool? Walk around any of the buzzing, hip Eastern European cities and you wonder why the wall ever came down.



Daddy, do you think the secret police will report my second ice cream cone to Mommy? 



The picturesque Charles Bridge is basically one big Instagram hashtag these days.




Well this may just be the greatest playground so far. Where else can you ride a seesaw in the shadow of a 15th century bridge?




At least someone in the group has a dash of European style. Meanwhile the boys are too busy making obnoxious comments about the average walking speed of Europeans. Don't blame the cobblestones, we've got those in Soho and it doesn't slow New Yorkers down one bit.




This was surely the first truck through the gap when that wall came down. The taste of capitalism is high fructose corn syrup. 



Once the sun sets and the crowd heads to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner the old town transforms from a Disney-esque caricature of Europe back into something closer to the real thing. It's a small world after all, but sometimes these days it gets a little too small.




Hey kid, fun game, let's see who can stay still for the longest. We're going to play it on the plane home too, that's how awesome it is.



Mommy is this church as ancient as you and Dad?



One thing you've got to give these Europeans credit for is getting their priorities straight. How else do you explain putting a vineyard on the best real estate in the city? 



So you see son, the difference between a Communist and a Capitalist is the latter would put a condo tower here and the former would put a beautiful vineyard whose wine no one can afford.



The latest sign that Peak Hipster is nigh.


Now that is a utilitarian Communist trolley if I ever saw one. That is what you'd get if you electrified the Proletariat and put it on rails with Karl Marx himself in the driver's seat.


The Prague zoo is for whatever reason one of the top ten in the world, combining hyper-modern architecture with rambling enclosures dotted across the bucolic Czech countryside.



Just remember to wash you hands before getting eaten by the tiger.



Super Tramp Coffee checks just about all the hipster boxes and even invents some new ones, like reclaiming the courtyard of a brutalist concrete tower block, a staple of the skyline of any Eastern European city.




Europe is so kid-friendly that even the mostly regional Prague airport has a dedicated kid's lounge.


Well son, you survived your first European road show. Here's to many more where that came from.