23 March 2016

Why I Would Go to Paris (Beirut, Brussels, Mali...) Right Now

I started this post when the Paris terror attacks happened.  Beirut had just happened.  Then Mali happened. Ankara happened.  And I kept putting this off...I guess waiting for it to end.  I've been to Brussels many times.  I've posted about the city several times.  I've been to Paris and Mali.  I love these places. 

If the Brussels airport is open tomorrow and someone offered me a ticket, I would go.  When I arrived, I would get on the train (which runs all the way into the airport) and take it to central Brussels.  Then I would get on the metro to wherever in the city I needed to go.  I would have done the same after Paris or Beirut (and still would).  I will go if London or Bangkok or San Diego or Toronto or Canberra are attacked.  I will not stay home out of fear of what might happen.  There will be attacks whether I travel or not. 

Gran at the European Union Headquarters (can't remember if this is before or after we got kicked out). The metro beneath this area is where one attack happened.

Dad, Mom and Brother on the Brussels metro after I picked them up at the Brussels airport.

Seeing my sister and brother off at the Brussels airport...in the departures lounge where the bombing occurred today (with a cameo by the purple jacket). [I often take pictures of my feet...not sure why.]

When I moved overseas the dogs and I flew into Brussels airport.  I flew in and out of that airport many times over the next 3 years.  I had family and friends visit me by way of that airport.  I've dropped people off and picked people up. I've parked my car in the parking garage there.  I bruised my shoulder on a column outside the arrivals lounge when I went to pick up Gran.  I had food poisoning and went outside to throw up.  I was so weak that I leaned against the column to keep from falling over.  The throwing up caused me to repeatedly slam my shoulder into the column.  Better than falling over!  I laid on the floor of the train station in the airport while Gran stood in line for tickets.  I didn't have the strength to stand up.  It's difficult to imagine anything so horrific as today's attack happening there. 
I've traveled to places that are supposedly less safe than western Europe.  I've traveled all over western Europe.  I have no plans to stop.  I've been called crazy for traveling to 3rd world countries.  Now people say I'm crazy for traveling to western Europe. Could something happen?  Of course it could.  But honestly, I think I'm less safe driving to work. 
So if anyone wants to give me a ticket to Brussels or Paris or London or Beirut or Mali or pretty much anywhere (there are a few places I wouldn't go but I'll save that for another post) I'll gladly take it! And I'm looking for train tickets from London to Brussels.  Cross your fingers for me because I'd like to find them cheap!
How do you feel about the safety of travel right now?  Would you go to Brussels or Paris or any of the other recent scenes of attacks?

06 March 2016

The Traveling Purple Jacket - Sundays in My City

When I moved to the Netherlands and became a bicycle commuter I quickly found that I needed a rain jacket and rain pants.  I found cheap ones for 5 euro in a bin at Lidl (a store that had an ever-changing very odd assortment of groceries and random other things like truck tires or snow boots or garden equipment).  The pants in my size were black which was fine.  The jackets in my size were not available in black so I ended up with purple...not a color I would normally buy. But I didn't want to spend a lot of time shopping or a lot of money.  Little did I know how much traveling that purple jacked would end up doing.

I don't take a lot of pictures of myself (I generally hate pictures of myself) but here are a few of the places the purple jacket visited. 

Waiting in line at the Louvre in Paris while Gran ran around taking pictures in the rain.

In Amsterdam (see it hanging from my backpack?).
In Queensferry, Scotland.  It was VERY windy!

At Plitvce Lakes National Park in Croatia

In Milan, Italy (see it hanging from my chair under the table?).

At a family reunion in PA
I still wear that purple jacket.  It's had quite the life for a 5 euro jacket from a Lidl bin!

Unknown Mami