Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goodbye England, Hello Europe!

So much for thinking I’d get the rest of my Crete, Paris and Chartres photos posted before I set off again! The past few weeks in England have been full of activities: seeing old friends, visiting art galleries, getting some minor laptop problems sorted with the help of an excellent young Polish computer whiz at the Apple Store on Regent Street (a temple devoted to all things Apple!), visits to Norwich and a return to Yorkshire.

However good it is to be among familiar surroundings in North Yorkshire, the weather is a strong reminder of why I could never again live up here. It is cold and wet, damp and chilly, grey and dark even in July! Of course the days when the sun does shine and the rich green of all the tall trees and fields glows, and garden flowers are all lit up, and the countryside is full of sheep, cows, bunnies, pheasants, deer and foxes, on these days it is perfectly English and very beautiful.

In the morning I’ll be flying to Prague and after a few days in the city I’ll head to the south of the country – new territory for me – to visit an old Czech friend whom I know from my Cornell days. Then it’s on to Graz and Klagenfurt in Austria, and from there I’ll head north again into Germany and go to Weimar, traveling via Munich. Anyone who has studied Goethe and Schiller will understand why I’m heading to Weimar, which in the old days was closed off to us behind the Iron Curtain, but can now easily be visited.

From Weimar I’ll go to Berlin for a couple of weeks. I was last there in the mid-70’s, so I’m curious to see all the changes and to get a better look at the eastern side of the city. I did visit before – a complicated and anxiety-inducing process of passing through checkpoints and changing required amounts of money with little to spend it on. After Berlin there will be a few brief days in Belgium seeing friends, then a few brief days back in Notting Hill to sort out my gear before packing it up and flying south to Malta for the month of September.

I’ve decided not to carry my laptop with me for the European mainland part of this trip, which means no new photos for some time. Yes, I’m way, way behind with posting photos – but I always was! In fact, I’ve got a huge stack of photos from Rwanda and Congo that I always think about posting if I ever get the chance….

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