2013 has been a year so far that could have been described as “somewhat challenging ” in a number of areas. I reached the 60 milestone in August and am now about to embark on a celebratory trip with the OH around Europe on trains.
Our trip has some parallels with Bill Bryson’s travelogue Neither Here nor There, A book written by an older man recalling a youthful European trip. In 1973, 40 years since, I spent the summer interrailing around Europe. Back then £33 bought a month’s unlimited rail travel around the whole continent from Spain to Finland, France to Greece. That time our trip could have been subtitled ” Only 4 Nights in a real bed” , so when I suggested a similar trip to the OH, she was, understandably, initially less than enthusiastic. The promise of a hotel each night , rather than an Italian park bench or Greek beach, forged a compromise and we leave Stockport bound for Euston and St Pancras for a first trip on Eurostar tomorrow.
It will be interesting to see how much has changed. There will be no aluminium framed rucksack full of smelly loon pants and dodgy tank tops for a start. Nor will I be sporting shoulder length hair. There will definitely be no litres of Bavarian beer in Munich beer halls, no frantic exits from Athenian clip joints or flirting with female American Jehovah’s witnesses. I doubt I will eat horse steak in a Dijon department store cafe, be entertained by gypsy violinists in Belgrade or witness a 3am knife fight over a piece of cardboard to sleep on in a Roman park.
But there will be new adventures of a more sedate kind to be found in Paris, Switzerland, Milan, Venice, Florence and Bruge. Eurostar and TGV Lyria, Thalys and Frecciabianca!
The freedom train is coming
Can’t you hear that whistle blowing
It’s time to get your ticket y’all
And get on board