Superfluous Matter

On my recent trip to France I used a Eurail pass to get around the country by train for slightly less money than if I had just gone to France and bought train tickets. I'm still not sure if it was worth it given the changes that happened with my trip, but whatever.

Anyway, the Eurail people ask you to fill out a survey and mail back your itinerary when you are done your trip. In exchange they send you a present. I chose to get a set of flag pins, one for each member of the European Union. Well my gift came today and I had completely forgotten that it was coming. So I opened the package and took out the pins and this is what I saw:

My pins of the EU
My pins of the EU

Yes, two pins are missing. And yes, the package is sealed. But it couldn't be a mistake. Perhaps there are only 22 countries in the EU? So I checked Wikipedia. Turns out there are 27 countries in the EU! I'm missing five of them and even if all the spots in the package were filled I'd still be short three pins!

So I figured out the missing countries and they are: Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. Wait a minute, 22 pins + 7 missing countries is a total of 29, not 27. So I must have two pins that are not part of the European Union! I checked again and they are Croatia and Norway. So what the hell is up with this?

Perhaps the pins are only for the countries that are connected by the Eurail system? Wrong again! There are 25 countries in that set, so I would still be missing three. Which three? Well that would be Montenegro, Serbia and Switzerland.

So anyway, nothing about this set of pins really makes sense. But they're still kinda fun.

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