You probably read when I said this is my LAST trip to Europe. Am I allowed to change my mind? I found Dublin to be quite charming, though slightly inebriated. And I now remember why my very first trip to Amsterdam was so much fun, and full of great memories. Just the museums, concert hall, and people are the best.
Some Closing Thoughts (of my last trip)
What is it about Europe that draws Americans to its battered shores? Is it simply that America was originally made up of Europeans, save for our poor Native Americans? Is this a place we feel at home because many of our country’s ancestors came from here? Or is it because travelers feel more comfortable here than in Asia or South America??
For me, wherever I travel, I get the same question? Where are you from? Then I explain the story, about my grandfather coming to California, getting a picture bride, and my parents eloping from relocation camp in Arizona. Does anyone ever ask you where you are from when you travel?
But my travels have led me to some startling conclusions. First, that I am so fortunate to grow up as a third generation American. Thank you, Grandpa, and Mom and Dad. Second, that I was introduced to foreign travel by an old girlfriend back in 1969. And third, that I survived a long career, maintained good health, and still want to see the world.
Yet, the feelings and thoughts are so different here in Europe, compared to Asia. We are Anglicized and Europe-ized from birth, with little regard for other cultures. The history books paint that picture for all of us, no matter your ethnic background. That alone makes this feel like home.
What should or can we do about it? Probably nothing in the big picture of things. But each time I encounter people in a meaningful way, I try to give then the Cliff Notes version of my heritage and personal thoughts.
Changing gears, the number of people who smoke here is daunting and startling. I would call it an epidemic. Many here feel that it began when Europeans gained personal freedoms, centuries ago. The other school of thought is that smokers are usually from less educated classes of people. But I see smokers across all social classes here, including some really nicely dressed people.
I did finally run into a few rude people on this trip. I think they are themselves transplanted citizens. They behave like they have a chip on their shoulder. “Since nobody helped me when I got here, leave me alone!” What a shame, as everyone else seems so nice.
Noticeably, Europeans eat their food much more slowly than Americans. And many START with coffee rather than end it. They tend to order in courses, drink lots of alcohol, and tend to shun water during the meal. They eat in courses, much like I do when I am not certain what and how much to eat.
Yes, it has been a very good, and surprisingly enjoyable visit. Does it portend of events to come? I know I am planning on Japan in May. But after that? Maybe Eastern Europe, Cuba, or ?? With little Lexi, I may not travel as much.
Do you want the hot new color for fall and winter?? It is, drum roll please, mustard!! And it looks good with black.
Sad to leave, maybe a few days short in each city, but so happy to be home. Home is best, loved ones, a healthier routine, friends, Lexi, my bicycle, American football, the World Series. But boo hoo for my Giants, a sad case of not having spend their huge wad of cash for a closer.
Also, it was cold and rainy in Berlin, reminded me of Seattle. Give me California sunshine anytime. In fact, it feels so good to be home. I was severely jet-lagged, and may have caught a touch of a cold. But now that I am back to normal, riding my bicycle, working a little, and mostly enjoying my new little (Labradoodle puppy) Lexi.