Europe 2002:

Where Is Global Warming When You Need It?

The original concept was just about irresistible. April 28, 2002, would be my sixtieth birthday. May 7, a little over a week later, would be my granddaughter's first. Why not go to London and celebrate our birthdays together?

(The prospect of turning sixty was in itself so horrible that I wanted my family around me when it happened. I was already having enough trouble with this "Grandpa" thing.)

And rather than spend the interval between birthdays hanging around London and getting on the children's nerves, why not whip over to the Continent for a brief look-around? It should be a good time of year for it; I'd been there a couple of years ago, after all, and the weather had been nice and warm - sometimes a bit on the rainy side, but they'd been having an unusually wet spring that year, everyone had told me so.

France would have been our first choice, but that was definitely out; the French presidential election runoff was coming up, and the whole country was in an uproar over the Le Pen candidacy. So I thought: why not go back to Brussels and Luxembourg, where I had some pretty good memories, and let Phyllis see the sights? And maybe a little swing through western Germany, too; Phyllis always liked Roman stuff and Trier was full of that sort of thing. I'd always regretted that I hadn't been able to spend more time there, back in Y2K....

Well, as they say, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Not that the trip turned out badly; in many ways, particularly the part about the birthdays, it was a rousing success. And getting to see Granddaughter again was worth the whole effort and then some.

But the travel part got pretty badly mucked up, because the weather went to hell, and in consequence so did my health; and so this particular account isn't going to amount to much. Sorry about that.

A word about the photos: there aren't many of them and they're not very good. This time I left the good camera at home and took instead a little digital Olympus: very light and handy, and with the great virtue of requiring no supplies of film (with the consequent need for that heavy lead pouch to ward off airport X-rays), but not in a class with the 35mm. in terms of picture quality. I didn't like it very much. It came with a wide-angle lens, which I loathe except in certain special situations, and the clumsy two-stage shutter was hopeless with any sort of moving subject.

In the end it didn't make that much difference, because I didn't take very many pictures; we spent quite a bit of the time indoors, sheltering from the rain and cold, and even when we did get out the light was terrible.

Still, a couple of them turned out reasonably well. You might want to have a look. As always, be prepared to wait while the pages load.

LONDON: Back In Blighty, Getting Old

BRUSSELS: Windy And Wet

LUXEMBOURG: Where? Revisited

TRIER: Germany In The Rain (Again)

MORE OF TRIER: Antiquities And Romantic Scenes

KÖLN: AKA Cologne


BACK TO LONDON: Lauren's Birthday