Molarity Classic: 256-260

Author: Michael Molinelli '82

Backpacking does not come without challenges. It does come without showers.

Molarity Classic, strip 256

256. This extended cartoon series chronicles back-packing-rail-hopping travels throughout Europe. For Jim and Chuck it is spring break, but the series is based on my travels during the Christmas break. Without a doubt, the freedom to travel on such a low budget made this trip one of the greatest adventures of my life.

Molarity Classic, strip 257

257. As previously noted, we were traveling around Europe just after the Iranian students seized the American Embassy. This emboldened anti-American sentiment wherever we went. Some of us sewed a Canadian flag onto our backpacks to avoid such troubles. Margaret Trudeau? Bing her.

Molarity Classic, strip 258

258. I worked the first couple of summers during college in a local McDonalds and earned about 20 percent of my tuition, room and board. I recall reading a corporate newsletter proudly talking about the restaurant in Cologne. I decided it would be one of my destinations when I got to Europe. Aside from the McBeer on the menu, it was very much like any McDonalds in the USA. When my traveling companion, Bob Helle, and I got to the front of the line, the guy behind the counter said, “Pretty neat, huh?” He was a German whose family had spent a lot of time in Atlanta when he was younger.

Molarity Classic, strip 259

259. This was the third beautiful European girl Jim encountered who knew Dion. This was done before anything like Google translator existed. I think I asked our Professor Otto Seeler for the German translation. He was not fond of me, so he probably didn’t trust me that it was for a cartoon. This lack of trust might have had something to do with me using the shower in his hotel room in Modena.

Molarity Classic, strip 260

260. Bob and I would frequently ride trains at night to save on hotel charges. If we wanted to see a city two days in a row, we would take the train out of town for 4 hours and take another back for 4 hours. Or we might alternate between two cities for a couple of days. And while they looked clean, we never really trusted the public showers they had in the major train stations. So our hygiene standard was approaching your average week-long camping trip.

See the first five classic strips. Check back monthly for more classic Molarity strips. Molarity Redux, the updated, continuing adventures of Jim Mole and friends, also is posted monthly. For those new strips, check out the cartoon archives.