Home! Cats. Husband. Whoops. Change that. Husband. Cats. My own bed. My own kitchen. My own job. Well, not til Tuesday. It’s a bank holiday weekend.
After almost one full month traveling around Europe—France, Germany, France again, Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, the UK again—by train, car and ship, how ya doin’ Europe?
Seems to be okay. People are going out, eating in restaurants, drinking wine. No one is being bombed.
But some are really ‘pissed off.’ They’re not happy with what their elected politicians are doing. Germans aren’t happy that they are going to have to bail out the other countries in the Eurozone. And the other countries in the Eurozone aren’t happy about the Germans being the ones to save them. And because the UK isn’t in the Eurozone they’re not happy about everything else they have to do to be in the European Union. So they may leave.
One of my fellow Americans, Tim Dowling, who writes for my favourite British newspaper, The Guardian, said that, living in the UK, you read the papers and think that all hell is breaking loose outside. Then you look out the window and a dog is walking down the street. And basically everything is okay.
Just before we docked in Dover, the incredibly efficient Institute for Shipboard Education machine went into disembark mode. We put our suitcases outside the cabin door the night before and by morning they had miraculously disappeared. BFF Marie and I made our way through to the terminal and I easily picked Buddy out of the crowd of waiting luggage. An incredibly efficient hunky young Brit put Buddy on a trolley and followed me to the taxi rank [no tipping!]. Marie was in a British black cab before I had a chance to say goodbye, so I banged on the window and we had a BFF hug.
On my way to the train station, the taxi driver warned me that it would be crawling with Germans. The European Champions League [Don’t ask—I don’t know either] football final was being held at Wembley stadium that night, and, for the first time in forever, TWO German teams were playing [So Germany won]. The ferry was bringing thousands of fans over to take the train through London and on to Wembley, if they had tickets. Or even if they didn’t.
As I gave the taxi driver an American tip, and got a Semester at Sea receipt, I said ‘Don’t mention the war!’ reprising a British favourite line from John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers TV show.
Sure enough, throughout the small train station, and on the train, and into London Waterloo station—thousands of Germans. A lot of beer cans for 9 am, but basically well behaved.
Another German invasion. But a big improvement over the Nazi blitz of England in the 1940s.
So. Maybe Europe is working after all.
Keep reading. I’ll be back.