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A grand tour of Europe’s worst bits

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

The summer is getting closer, so where are we going on holiday this year? How about Dublin? One enterprising soul in the Irish capital listed a “private room” with “one bed” for just €59 a night on Airbnb. Sounds like a bargain, right? People were less happy when they discovered it was actually a small tent seemingly pitched in a concrete backyard.

The listing was “not a joke,” the Airbnb host said while offering people the chance to sleep on several couches in their living room.

So Ireland’s out. How about Greece? There have been numerous reports of late about extortionate prices being charged by restaurateurs on the swanky island of Mykonos. One pair of British tourists said they were charged €520 plus a €78 tip for two cocktails and a portion of crab legs (anyone reading this in Brussels is doubtless now thinking “sounds like a bargain, I pay that for a sandwich in the EU quarter”). The same restaurant also reportedly charged an American woman and her friends €1,539 for one plate of calamari, one order of lobster pasta, a salad and some bread. Maybe the bread was filled with diamonds or the salad is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Someone needs to do something about all these ripoffs, so our grand European tour takes us to Italy — Florence, to be exact — where a man called the police after being charged €2 for a coffee (and it wasn’t even that super fancy coffee that’s passed through the digestive system of a small mammal). The customer complained that the price was not displayed on a menu behind the counter. Spokespeople for every coffee shop in Brussels, London and Paris were unavailable for comment.

And the final stop in our European holiday search is good old Belgium and a shocking report revealing that the country’s drivers are rubbish. Belgian drivers were found to go too fast in roadworks and regularly “forget” to use their indicators. According to the study, more than half of Belgian drivers also use their horn (stop making up your own jokes!) aggressively in traffic, putting them equal with Italians and behind only the Spanish and the Greeks when it comes to, er, honking.

So that’s crap accommodation, food, drink and transport covered. Can’t wait for the summer to begin.


“Are you one of mine?”

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

Last week we gave you this photo:

Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

“Thanks again Charles, for briefing me for my next job in 2027,” by Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.

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