Travel can be tough.
Just ask that 80-year old guy going down the ramp at the Montreux train station in Switzerland last week. But, more on that in a moment.
The cliché goes that getting there is half the fun. Yeah, that may be the case, but getting there might also be twice the hardship. I am not sure my math makes sense, but nevertheless, it’s a given.
Take our recent three-week trip to Europe (no, my lack of blog posts for that period was NOT due to me being stuck under my desk in a drunken stupor…this time).
Our destinations included Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland—including the spectacular Lucerne area.
The trip started poorly as soon as we left the house, and I made a slightly wrong turn. And, by slightly, I mean I thought I could drive there.
My first clue should have been when Google Maps said I could drive to Lucerne in 1 hour and 58 minutes.
After the wife-person applied the appropriate dope-slap to her clueless husband, we got on the Delta flight that was closer to 10 hours and 58 minutes.
Hey, I was only off by a zero; give me a break.
And, eventually, we made it to the “correct” Lucerne.
As to a few trip highlights, I stood in a public plaza in Belgium with thousands of World Cup fans and watched the home team beat Korea.
Down the road—or more accurately, down the river, the Rhine River—I got to stand in an outdoor viewing venue in Germany and watched the home team beat France.
As might be expected, there were also dozens of, what one local guide actually called, ABC’s (Another Bloody Church). Yes, many were brilliantly beautiful, but, well, we did see a lot of them.
Also, there is no lack of really old shit over there, including interestingly painted buildings, and…some other stuff.
As to really memorable moments, there were gallons of great local beers, but that will have to flow into another blog post.
So, to conclude today’s sermon, let us remember that our life’s travels often include at least some scintilla of travails, which seems all the more appropriate, as that is the root of the word describing such treks.
Or, more plainer said, travel can be tough.
Extended transits through Europe often encompasses trips by train. In and of itself, that is typically a positive experience, as the rail system “over there” is well planned, well run, and well laid out.
But, it often requires swift transitions between track platforms, which are sometimes on multiple levels. If you are lucky, you might find an escalator or elevator at the bigger stations.
In others, you get to run up and down multiple stairways, while hoisting your roller luggage. In those stations, you are grateful if you happen to find ramps to run while pulling your bag behind you, as it bounces against your ankle and spins around, twisting your wrist.
It was in one of our transfer stations near Lake Geneva where we had but minutes to race down one ramp, then up another to make our connection.
It was there that I decided that “you kids” texting and checking what Facebook posts you missed in the previous 15-seconds while you were getting off the train, and 80-year old guys who insist on strolling smack down the middle of the ramp…well… I am an American and I have already put up with your strange languages and weird currency…I’m coming through!
Sorry, 80-year old guy.
I have got to get to the next really old place, with narrow, bumpy streets and old churches to visit. And, some other stuff.