So much to remember from the non stop events over the past 9 weeks.
First thing I do when I return to the USA is obtain a new passport.
For the second time a customs official has questioned if I was the same person on the passport!
This week he broke out laughing!
I reminded him in 30 years he would be old too. But he did not believe me.
Other travel surprises:
I do not like unplanned travel!
There were NO seats on the train I tried to reserve this week to take me from Lyon France to Torino, Italy and on to Florence where I left my luggage.
After 5 weeks of train travel this had never happened before
Reservations: I do not like not knowing where I will sleep the next night. Of course money solves all problems but when an entire town is booked because of a scout competition, I found I had to move on because 'there were no rooms at the inn'.
WIFI: When there was a short term train strike and the hotel had no wifi and there are NO LONGER internet cafes, I had a melt down. Of course it was solved, but this caused my hosts to ask if 'I had ever traveled before'? And this prompted creating a list of what make my travel more difficult.
Now I search for a mobile wifi device that works in all countries.
Because of some commitments to do interviews or participate in events, I found myself traveling every 2 days. That barely gives you time to unpack! Finding a laundry on short notice is also more difficult. Here again the problem was solved in Lyon via the internet. Hotels need to install coin operated laundry facilities.
A writing trip that gives you NO time to write is not productive. Returning from a trip with more than 30 stories to remember and write will keep me chained to the computer for 2 months. All worth it but reports from the road would make far more sense.
Some things I noticed on this trip:
Everything in Germany was a new experience since I had not been there since my 'see Europe in 3 weeks trip' after college.
Traveling in Italy is easier because I know what to expect and how to solve the strike problems or missed trains.
Large train stations are like mini cities and Germany has some wonderful stations. They offer luggage storage, all kind of food (up until 9pm or even 8pm), clean bathrooms for 1 euro, one offered showers. And two had shopping malls within 1 block of the station!
Germany has the BEST reservation staff. Day one I asked for a day ticket to Cologne to 'test' my train skill and made reservations for seats on my next travel leg. When the train was late and I missed the tight connection, the reservation office with BAHN simply found me a seat on the next train without any charge. Wonderful. Not so for the BAHN office in Bolzano................1 hr wait for a reservation.
Changes since last year:
Women here do not wear 4 inch heels. Women are now wearing stylish flat shoes
And they walk and walk. This must contribute to no weight gain.
No one tries to talk with ‘strangers’. Perhaps there are too many of us over the years and they get tired of us
In Italy and Germany most of the sandwiches are one type of pork or another. If you do not prefer port, travel with the word for chicken or turkey A very luck encounter with a young woman in Germany who spoke Italian as well as English. Thanks to her I traveled with the word 'turkey' written on an index card.
The isolation of the 'cell phone' is getting worse. No one looks up from that small screen.
This year fewer tourist were blocking the view by holding ipads in the air.
Far more real cameras were seen. And yes the selfi stick is still out there. Now they offer one with a 3 foot stand so you don't have to tire your arm. Ridiculous.