things to see in europe if you're me

Chickens furtively crossing the road in the tiny 900 year old town of Ouiwekirk. They peek out from behind shrubs and take off over the brick-paved streets. Once they're safely on the other side they look disappointed.

Windmills. Endless freaking fields of windmills.

Naked (topless) ladies on the beaches of southern France. I didn't stop to investigate, but you know, I saw naked ladies.

A Turkish man in a city in Northern France, shouting insults at me and Greg because he thought we were Dutch. He shook his finger at us as we drove by while his friends pointed at our Netherlands license plate.

Frejus, southern France: Set behind a modern metal bookshelf in a town hall office, an old wooden door inlaid with iron. We open the door and find ourselves in an annex built in the thirteenth century, with a spiral staircase leading to the roof.

A blackberry bush growing by Roman ruins. We pick a few. I learn and instantly forget the French word for blackberry.

The remains of a gigantic concrete dam set in the mountains of Provence. Chunks of pink concrete the size of station wagons are scattered for miles along the dry riverbed. Pieces of iron rebar half an inch thick bend out in spaghetti-like curves from the concrete chunks. A huge rusted bolt sticks out from the ground as if it's got some purpose in being there.

A crowd, a swarm of people massing in front of a pizzeria in Cannes, waiting for the glassy-eyed doorman to snap into life and usher people inside. TV industry execs, lost documentarians, brittle-boned models with eggshell faces, shift their weight back and forth. According to those who know, this is the best pizza to be had in southern France. Amazingly, we get a seat on the patio in ten minutes. Every twenty minutes someone gets hit by a motorcycle, screams obscenities in any one of a dozen languages, then keeps on walking. The pizza's nothing special.

That's all I've seen over the last couple of weeks. The rest of the time I've kept my eyes clamped shut for fear of meeting the eyes of Europeans, whose basilisk gaze will turn your heart to brittle glass. No, really, it's true.