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A Not So Serious Test for a European Trip

May 31, 1987|BOB O'SULLIVAN | O'Sullivan is a Canoga Park free-lance writer .

It has long been known that there is no single type of tourist. Some are better than others and some are just plain terrible.

The point is, if we know what kind of tourists we are, as well as whether we are good or bad at touring, we can anticipate problems, correct them and thereby enhance our travel enjoyment.

The following test was designed to help you prepare for touring situations.

1. A "croissant" is:

a. French for "Your mother's sister is usually angry."

b. A tool used by France's Mr. Bon -wrench.

c. Always mispronounced.

d. A French pismire.

e. A French soft breakfast roll that melts in your mouth and contains no calories except about 300.

2. On the European mainland, a "continental" means most nearly:

a. A car that's too big for the streets.

b. Early American money of doubtful value.

c. A breakfast of tepid coffee, marmalade and two rolls, one of which is named after your mother's sister.

3. "Grootsie" is a familiar greeting in Switzerland, meaning:

a. Your slip is showing.

b. Your fly is unzipped.

c. G'day.

d. Your cuckoo clock is off.

4. Passing a vehicle on the left in England is:

a. Un-British.

b. Unsafe.

c. Unlucky.

d. Unconscionable.

e. All of the above, unless you are on foot and the vehicle is parked.

5. Persons understanding high school German, traveling in Switzerland, soon learn that Swiss-Deutsch is:

a. Impossible to spell phonetically.

b. A kind of chocolate with little pine cones in it.

c. Any chocolate-flavored cigar.

d. A language evolved by a kind people who will probably understand your English better than your German.

6. In Greater London, the taxicab industry claims:

a. To have 18,000 cabs on the streets, compared to New York's 12,000.

b. To have no cabs on the street when it is raining.

c. Its drivers must learn the city by bicycle and pass extensive tests before they are licensed.

7. Carrying one's traveler's checks and important papers in one's sock is frequently looked on as:

a. Wiser than carrying them in hand luggage.

b. Decidedly un-chic for female tourists wearing dresses.

c. A boon to short pickpockets.

d. The chief source of dirty money.

e. Likely to make one walk in circles unless coins are excluded.

8. In Vienna, numerous houses have plaques stating that they are the former residences of Ludwig van Beethoven. The most likely reason for this is:

a. Ludwig van Beethoven is a common name in Austria.

b. Composing on the piano and being very seriously hearing-impaired, he was asked to move a lot and did.

c. The plaques were sold very cheaply at the 1937 Vienna Real Estate and Tourism Convention.

9. Which of the following is the least true? Traveling in Italy when one does not speak Italian is best described as:

a. A linguine problem.

b. A lot more fun than if one does speak the language.

c. Impossible with one's hands tied.

d. Better with red wine but not bad with white.

10. Sucking one's coffee through a sugar cube in the Scandinavian countries is generally considered:

a. Delicious.

b. Surreptitious.

c. Good news to Scandinavian dentists.

d. A government-established custom to discourage the citizenry from dunking their herring.

11. The word "picturesque" means most nearly:

a. Cute, old and quaint.

b. Quaint, vivid and strange.

c. Strange, cold, dark and dreary.

d. Usually heroically uncomfortable but a lot more fun than a hotel.

e. In the eye of the beholder but not necessarily her husband's.

12. The Lake Country of the United Kingdom is famous for being the home of:

a. Adam and Eve.

b. F.W. Woolworth.

c. Sarah Nelson's gingerbread.

d. Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, Beatrix Potter, Sarah Nelson's gingerbread, Peter Rabbit and lakes.

13. Usually great savings can be had on airline tickets by:

a. Paying for them with kited checks.

b. Booking flights yourself on your home computer.

c. Booking charter flights well in advance of your departure date.

d. Pretending you weigh very little, carrying no luggage and promising to lift up on the armrests on takeoffs and landings.

14. An incorrect choice of adapters when using electrical power abroad can result in which of the following:

a. Melting your hair dryer.

b. Melting your hair.

c. Burning up the innkeeper.

d. Burning up the inn.

e. Any or all of the above, but usually just killing your dryer dead.

15. Getting the proper electrical adapter and information about its use can usually be accomplished through calling:

a. Frantically from an upstairs window.

b. The wall plugs in your room vile names.

c. Room service.

d. Hotel housekeeping and remembering to keep a smile in your voice.

SCORING: If you answered all the questions, you have a perfect score because you have displayed a fine sense of adventure. However, if you took them all seriously, deduct 80 points. Now, the answers:

1. e. A croissant is a light breakfast bun. Very good. Incidentally, a pismire is an ant that smells bad (ant, not aunt).

2. c. A continental breakfast is a light first meal. Too light. I usually get hungry again before I've finished eating it.

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