On the Road

European Travel Tips For First-Time Bands

Local favorites the Wild Moccasins embark on a six-week European tour this weekend. Rocks Off knows how daunting international travel can be, especially when you're on a multi-country blitzkrieg that exposes you to numerous languages and many differing cultural mores in a relatively short period of time.

Rocks Off wants to make sure our local boys and girl don't commit a "cock-up" (that's British) or "make a blue" (that's Australian, so forget we mentioned it), so we drew on the vast collective international knowledge on hand to put together some tips for traveling the Continent (that's Europe).

Ed. Note: Someone on this staff freely admits watching EuroTrip all the way through, but we're not saying who.   The first of which would be: don't use the word "blitzkrieg." Trust us on this.

Now, any run-of-the-mill travel guide (Fodor's, Let's Go, Travel Sick.) will remind you not to forget your voltage converter and tell you how to let someone know you're diabetic in French ("Je suis allemand!"), but only Rocks Off can tell you the little known tidbits that will make your experience that much more rewarding.   And in the interest of potentially fatal (and hilarious) gaffes, we've peppered the actual travel tips with outright lies, which should make your trip much more entertaining. Bon voyage!  

  • Rocks Off sees that your tour starts in Brussels, which is too bad because it's recently been crowned the most boring city in Europe. It's the Dallas of the EU, in other words.
  • The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is depressing as hell, but absolutely necessary. Visit it, and then imagine spending 25 months in a 500 square foot apartment...with your bandmates. It'll give you a whole new appreciation for how inhumanly cruel the Nazis were.
  • When in Düsseldorf, be sure to check out Kling Klang Studios, home of electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk. They love visitors.
  • There's a strip club in the lower (rail) level of the Frankfurt Airport. We wish we'd known this back in '93 before we'd blown all our money on duty-free booze.
  • If you make it to Heidelberg, head up to the Thingsstätte, an amphitheater built in 1935 for Nazi rallies just north of the Neckar River. Be there for Hexennacht ("Witches' Night"). It can get... interesting.
  • Underwear isn't just unpopular in France (per the famous schoolyard rhyme), in many places it's illegal to wear at all. Go commando the whole time just to be safe.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar