Valarie and I are in the throes of planning a trip to Europe: London, Paris, Bruge, and Amsterdam. Actually most of the airline and hotel arrangements are already made, since we’re going in just under three weeks. But now is the time when we’re really starting to study the city maps and get seriously thinking about where we want to go while we’re there.
There’s a little nervousness that comes with anticipating all the subway systems, foreign languages and other issues, but excitement too. I’ve already been to London and Paris, but that was nine years ago. Despite those cities being great, though, I’m most looking forward to the new places. In a foreign city for the first time you have an enhanced sensitivity and a heightened awareness. That’s an essential so you don’t get lost, robbed or look silly. But it also means you’re all the more aware of the small details that cumulatively comprise a sense of place, from the taste of beer to the amount of trash on the street to the friendliness of the people.
Surely we’ll make mistakes and suffer misfortunes along the way, but we’ll also come back richer for the experience. At least, that’s what happened for me in Tokyo and (to a lesser extent) Nassau this year. Otherwise, I want my two thousand bucks back.