Nashville to Norway

(Part Three of Five in my Carmen Sandiego series is packed tight, with a better record than Part Two)

She go from Nashville to Norway, Bonaire to Zimbabwe,

Chicago to Czechoslovakia and back!

Nashville = no

Just through the airport. And that never counts. And I might even be confusing it with Memphis, as I did when I originally started writing this post.

Norway = yes

Location background: One of the most interesting things about Norway is that it isn’t in the European Union. They’re simply too rich from oil to bother with such shenanigans.

Personal background: For months and months, I felt tormented by the fact that the host and creator of Don’t Worry About The Government, the political podcast that I’m on, had been to Norway and I hadn’t. He barely travels; I do it constantly. And yet there was something on his list that wasn’t on mine. It became an obsession.


  1. This picture I took of a caterpillar in Bergen.
  2. When the conductor on the train led me to another car to plug my laptop in on the train.
  3. Getting a fancy meal cooked by my smiley, warm host.

Lowlights: Every time I had to spend money in this exorbitantly expensive country.

Bonaire = no

It’s a Dutch-owned island in the Caribbean that no one has heard of outside of this song. Why the hell would I have been there?

Zimbabwe = no

The hope is to hit it on my tentative Fall 2011 Africa trip, with some help from Manu, the Zimbabwean that we had on DWATG a few episodes back.

Chicago = yes

Chicago was an odd place to me, feeling like it was trapped in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Prices seemed unnaturally low.


  1. It’s my favorite downtown in the world.
  2. Meeting Ethan Cheng, who got me onto a hit political podcast.

Lowlights: Having to deal with the indignity of being told that Chicago-style deep dish should be referred to as ‘pizza’.

Czechoslovakia = no, but Czech Republic and Slovakia = yes

Having dissolved in 1993, I wasn’t given the chance to visit it as a united country, but I was in Prague in 2004 and Bratislava in 2010.

Prague Highlights: Along with Berlin, the only place I stayed a week in, due to having a hang-out group from the hostel. The biggest event was when we went to a bar, I met a girl, we danced (read: grinded), all of us left the bar and the girl lost all of the English she had been speaking to me earlier, then we lost everyone else, and I was contending with her drunken confusion as she moaned “Miláčku, Miláááááááčku!” (a Czech term of endearment), ignoring my pleas for her to remember my native language as I tried to find our respective friends within the snow and ice.

Prague Lowlights: Having people literally walk across the sidewalk, just to bump into me.

Bratislava Highlights: Getting a successful hitch from Vienna Airport directly to my host’s place in Bratislava, by Slovak Jews that told me their personal story from the end of Communism.

Bratislava Lowlights: Realizing why everyone said not to stay in Bratislava for more than a day, as there just is nothing in the city other than the nice people that I met.

All pictures can be found at


5 Responses to Nashville to Norway

  1. Sharon says:

    I didn’t know that Chicago was your favorite downtown. I’m completely biased as to its amazingness, having spent so much time there growing up, but it’s interesting to hear you say that. I’m curious about why you felt like it’s trapped in the past. Was that vibe unique to Chicago or did you get that sense in regard to other midwestern cites you’ve visited well?

    Your highlights should also include seeing Rene Magritte’s “Time Transfixed” at the Art Institute of Chicago. And the lowlight of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” not being there when you were.

    Also, Chicago-style deep dish pizza *is* pizza. :-p

  2. roniweiss says:

    I just recall old cars amongst old buildings with old signs. Many parts of town it didn’t feel renovated, but it also didn’t feel rundown. That was the key. It just felt like it was stuck in time.

    And if I were to point out an Art Institute thing, it’d be “American Gothic”, as that’s a snazz picture. I think that’s also where I have my first yawning pic with an impressionist painting, no?

    And no, Chicago-style thick pastry dough with toppings is mislabeled.

  3. Sharon says:

    Chicago architecture reflects a variety of styles from different eras. I guess I see what you mean, but then certain areas could feel older still, depending on the architecture.

    I don’t know how I forgot about “American Gothic.” I just remembered that you like Magritte and that painting is just one of my favorites. And yes, I think you told me how you took a bunch of pictures to get the yawn just right…

    Lastly… New York-style pizza is served in wide, thin, foldable slices. California-style pizza is a single serving pizza with innovative ingredients. And Chicago-style deep dish pizza has a thick crust, cheese, toppings, and has to be eaten with a knife and fork. You can claim it isn’t pizza, but all of Chicagoland would disagree with you.

    That being said, I know I’m not going to change your mind, so I’d rather just agree to disagree.

  4. roniweiss says:

    Not exactly downtown, though.

    Eating with knives and forks is what separates a pizza from something else. This is a matter of opinion and one that cannot be reconciled.

  5. roniweiss says:

    Hence the atrocious ridiculousness to me when French people and the like eat a thin slice with a knife and fork.

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