Winter in Europe is something I have never really experienced. I am not big on the European Christmas markets throughout northern Europe. But I am not crazy about cold, wet, rainy, snowy, icy weather. So, even though I start and end this trip in Munich, I am already thinking of warmer climes.
This does present a problem with what to pack, whether colder and warmer weather. But I can always ditch the cold weather clothes, meaning donating to either the homeless or to a charity. Or, as my brother often did in our youth, just bring a pair of scissors, and make some instant Bermuda shorts.
Given a choice, I would always choose Greece. After all, I have my “adopted” Greek brothers there, Stavros, Giorgos, and Vasilis. And there are many parts of Greece I have not seen yet. But I love Athens, so I would either start or end there. November is hardly beach weather. And maybe not even decent cycling weather.
So, what might be some alternatives along the warmer Mediterranean area? Albania sounds and looks interesting, as do both Armenia, and Slovakia. But flights and rail are not very convenient for a shorter trip like this one.
I see nothing wrong with returning to a few of my favorite places, like Belgrade, Budapest, or Amsterdam. I have also been contacted by the Medical Relief Corps and Doctors without Borders to assist or observe during the war, with refugees in border countries. I am allowed to visit a refugee camp east of Warsaw, but cannnot take any photos, or talk to any refugees.
I now realize I will miss most of the World Series. Occasionally, I can get NFL scores in Europe, but baseball? Never! The NBA? Yes, as basketball is quite popular in Europe. Golf and tennis updates are fairly good too. I see that my niners won yesterday (Sunday). And I was able to watch the NFL game in Munich here on TV. The announcers were German, of course, but the referees spoke English. Many of the words, like outside linebacker, personal foul, and roughing the passer were not translated into German.
But the highlight was watching the crazy beer fed Germans sing all manner of song during the game. It sounded like Country Roads by John Denver, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, and many other popular US songs. At the end of the game, even the German announcers sang Country Roads!!!
I also feel quite fortunate to miss the election. I voted by absentee already. But I will be spared the last few days of intense and mostly negative ads. Never have I seen an election where they candidates do not say which party they are affiliated with, and never mention their qualifications!! Sad. But also, on TV for Nov. 8 is the Jeopardy segment with the three new champs, Amy, Matt, and Mattea. I think I will have to record it!!!
TV here stinks, because anything in English in either CNN, Aljazeera, or BBC. I decided to read or sleep instead.
I noticed that almost all of the pharmacists here are women! I wonder why.
Speaking of Europe, do you ever feel like hoping for a Wheel of Fortune moment? What I mean is, “Hey Pat, can I buy a vowel??” Too many names, places, and words here seem to be missing a vowel or three!!!!
I am concerned about the recent bombing in Istanbul, since I change planes there Wednesday and Thursday. My hotel assures me that Istiklal is quite removed and should not interfere with my visit to the Grand Bazaar. After watching the floods in southern Pakistan, I have no reason to complain about any of my minor travel impediments.
Some observations here in Poland. My trip to see the Ukrainian refugee camps was a rather sterile and staged visit. It actually looks better than I thought, much like some of our Red Cross shelters back in the US. And they made me stash my phone
There seems to be a huge disparity in wealth here. The upper end really like to show off, the lower end barely hangs on. But there are very few at the top of the food chain, and way too many at the bottom!!!
I seemed to have lost my appetite since leaving Lisboa. I have really enjoyed the tiny Asian restaurants in the area, having dined on pho several times, as well as some ramen, and a few kababs. I had my fill of Polish food on my last trip here.
My trip summary looks like this: Munich, Lisboa, Porto, Warsaw, Munich, Istanbul.
The way I feel right now, I think it is time to turn my travel attention elsewhere. Stay tuned for more details. Plus I miss my family even more so, since we added little Cooper.