I always get a terrific rush of blog hits between 11 pm and 2 am my time; I presume this is because my European audience is waking up, getting their breakfast, seeing what's been written lately. I have a number of followers who are German, Spanish, Czech, French and even Croatian . . . so I know you're out there.
It feels pretty good to be appreciated by others who don't natively speak the same language, who have a completely different perspective on history, tradition, the craziness of the colonies and all that. I've never actually been to Europe - but through my whole life I have invariably found myself relating better to people for whom culture did not begin last week. Perhaps I just have a long view or a habit of forever seeing the big picture.
I often say to people here that were I dropped at random in Europe it would not take long for me to figure out where I was. It wouldn't be long after that before I found myself in some church, palace, museum or castle, correcting the tour guide on what the symbolism meant and general purpose of some obscure feature was.
But I know the trains would drive me crazy, as would virtually every other modern adaptation. In my silly romanticism, I imagine myself walking in Europe, with just enough money to pay for food and lodging that would suit me without having to rub shoulders in hostels and such. I've been in hostels here; I've heard hundreds of tales of back-packing through Europe and they all make me squirm. I don't want to be a bum. I just want to see everything. Slowly. One small, provocative riverside town at a time.
It is all nonsense. If there's anything I've learned about travel, it's that fundamentally it always sucks. There are always impediments, the rudeness of people, the impracticality of luggage, endless misunderstandings about which side of a gate or a track that one is standing, irreconcilable difficulties associated with electrical power, drinking water, passports, language, duties and general bureaucratic whatever.
I also learned long ago that there are two other impediments to my travelling. I only enjoy myself when I travel first class. And I hate, truly hate, ever having to leave a place because the number of days I have to stay there are done.
So I don't travel, not much. Give me money, give me the lack of a day-job that I have to commit to and by San Sebastian and Diocletian's Palace I will see everything.
In the meantime, I wait and hope for things to work out.