Travel the world without leaving your couch thanks to Netflix

My husband I just returned from our first extended vacation together since our son was born in 2010. I know…WHY DID WE WAIT SO LONG?

IMG_1031Anyway, I almost ruined the vacation by using the wrong name on my ticket (maiden/married name, tomato/tomAHto), lost my voice and my husband tried to kill himself by eating tainted food. IT WAS A DREAM! Seriously!

If you have the chance to visit Montenegro and/or Bosnia-Herzegovina, I highly suggest you go!

Alas, we are back We were excited to return home and throw open the door to our sticky-handed kid. Well, I was, Mr. Swirley was still trying to kill himself.  But, in proper Annie fashion, I am now afflicted with the terrible disease known as wanderlust.

At 2 AM this morning, I totally wasn’t looking up flight prices for a trip abroad in April 2016. It was 2:30 AM. I also switched on the TV to speed up time and stumbled into some Netflix goodies that will no doubt sate my hunger to travel until just about Spring break next year. Next stop, Ghana or bust!

1. The Idiot Abroad – Ricky Gervais and friends underwrite the costs for their “token idiot friend” Kyle to travel the world. They then revel in the ensuing chaos. It’s a little mean-spirited and a lot of funny; should I admit that I often sympathize with Karl’s pessimism? Watch it for the commentary and scenery – thank me later.

294512. Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover from the Travel Channel is the perfect mix of local culture and food. The show’s quick pace keeps viewers entertained (and salivating) as “he [Bourdain] has only 24-48 hours to unleash an unpredictable story about a place, a people and their food.”

Bourdain, I don’t understand why we can’t just swap lives. The rotisserie chicken we bought this evening was PHENOMENAL…you’d totally love it here.

3. Enjoy checking out local, foreign food without having to sack up and eat it? (poor Mr. Swirley learned the hard way on our trips to Turkey and Bosnia) The Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods has you covered.

Join host Andrew Zimmern as he travels the globe from Uganda to Madagascar and all the way back to Pennsylvania (what? Yes) to introduce viewers to a wide range of regional cuisines and respective cultures.

4. In order to re-live our vacation, I strung together a bazilion shaky, three-second videos and created a rough movie of the trip. Realizing it wasn’t exactly up to par, I sought out movies filmed in Montenegro and BOOM, November Man popped up.

The formal summary goes something like…”An ex-CIA agent (Pierce Brosnan) emerges from retirement to protect an important witness, but he soon discovers that old friends can make the most dangerous enemies.”

I don’t know about all of that, but it certainly made me nostalgic for, um, last week.

5. Along the same vein, check out Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and II. CIA moles, biological weapons, short guys…whatever. What I’m focused on is all that pretty scenery in the background. Take in England, Czech Republic, Spain, Australia and more without having to balance precariously from a ceiling harness unless you are trying to be all stealthy in eating treats before the kids are asleep.

I swear they have sonar.

screens.film.kolya6. Speaking of Czech Republic, Kolya (Eng. subtitles) is a simply wonderful film that also highlights the beauty of Prague and that whole human spirit thing.

Summary for you lazy asses: Franta Louka is a concert cellist in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia. He also loves the ladies…a lot. Alas,  Louka loses his place in the state orchestra and needs to make quick cash repay debts. How? It’s easy, marry a Russian bride in exchange for payment.  Yet she has different plans and quickly emigrates to West Germany where she moves in with her lovah. Oh, and that five-year-old? She ditches him with grams. Obviously the kid’s old babushka’s time is short on this earth and the he moves in with his step-papa, Kolya.

“…that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.’

Even if you hate looking at pretty European cities, you’ll like this movie. Also, what the Hell is wrong with you?

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