Travel, above all else, is an opportunity to learn, but if you’re lucky, sometimes it’s a chance to just have a laugh. When we travel, there isn’t a day that passes without at least one good chuckle.
Some of these funny incidents are planned, and some are pure happenstance. On our recent trip to Spain, we encountered lots of grin-worthy sights and scenes, like this rosy-cheeked cherub, and all were a welcome comic relief from our usual tourist diet of highbrow museums and somber cathedrals.
Street Performers: Wow! A Vespa goes airborne.
Performance artists have a long history of squeezing coins out of tourists, and there were street performers in just about every city we visited. The most popular gig seems to be the “living statue.” It’s hard to believe this is an easy way to make a buck, but it must be effective.
Barcelona’s Las Ramblas had a few fantastical dragons and golden angels, but a couple of guys in Madrid raised the bar to a new level. Their crashing Vespa is, without question, my favorite living statue of all time. In addition to being imaginative, it raised all sorts of questions about the engineering behind their clever trick. And like good magicians at work, they brought to mind the “How’d they do that?” question.
Menu Translation: How do you like your robot eggs?
I speak enough Spanish to get by, but when it comes to important stuff, like what I’m having for lunch, a bit of English translation is always welcome. And it’s even better when it’s a source of a giggle or two.
The small cafe next door to our apartment on Plaza San Justo in Toledo had a classic, bumbled translation that definitely brought a smile to our faces. The Spanish menu advertised Huevos Rotos con Setas y Champiñón, which literally translated means “Broken Eggs with Mushrooms.” This local favorite is made from fried potatoes and chorizo, which is topped off with a fried egg with a broken yolk; hence “broken eggs.”
I’m not sure what translation app they used, but the English menu offers a less appetizing, but mucho mas hilarious “Robot Eggs with Mushrooms and Champignon.” I didn’t have the heart to tell them.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Ikea meets the Middle Ages
The streets of Segovia’s old Jewish Quarter are lined with centuries-old Medieval houses, and our small apartment balcony overlooked a short row of these homes. As you can imagine, houses were smaller in those days, but what happens when you want to move a tall, Ikea-style bookcase between floors in a tiny flat with a too-small stairway and you have no ladder?
It was no problema for these improvising lads. They just painstakingly maneuvered their mini-van as close to the building as possible, and with three sets of hands, the oversized bookcase came out the door, up to the second level, and in the balcony.
They saw me snapping photos of this humorous process, and the comical end to the affair was smiles all around and the big thumbs-up for mission accomplished.
Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to entertain us, but comic relief is just that, a relief, and it’s the icing on the cake when traveling.
James & Terri