Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Goodbye for now

Well, that’s that then. Six weeks in Europe! I leave you with exactly six things I learnt while there.

Google Maps does not show how hilly (or not) an area is, as I learnt while slogging my way up and down 400 steps in Liege (Belgium) and up a mountain to get to the Lausanne cathedral in Switzerland.

In Normandy, dinner-times are rowdy. I thought it might be because of the copious amounts of French wine consumed. But, mostly, the rowdiness was caused by those not drinking, like the teenagers. Also, at the dinner table, the French (I was staying with) do not have a problem speaking about bodily functions and other such topics that the English consider taboo. They eat strange things, like carrot salad with garlic, salt and pepper – quite the taste adventure for a South African who is used to a sweeter salad. They also eat pasta with cream, but don’t believe in cream on meringues, one of my favourite desserts. Fortunately, they humoured me by making me a pavlova on my last night. They agreed that it wasn’t too bad …

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Galler chocolate, made in Chaudfontaine in Belgium, could just be the best chocolate in the world. But don’t tell the Swiss that, or you may receive a letter like the one I received last week: “… I just thought I would tell you that we have officially arranged that in the future you will not be allowed across the Swiss border into Switzerland because (and I must say that this was a crime punishable by death before the death-sentence was removed) you were rude enough to go there having bought Belgian chocolate …” The teenager who sent it added that I could escape the sanction by being force-fed Swiss chocolate, after which I would have to sign a declaration that I would never eat Belgian chocolate again. The force-feeding I am fine with but the declaration? Now that’s taking things too far!

Belgium and its people never seem to change. It’s still home to me, even though I last lived there in the 1980s. And when I walk into the house I stayed in, the smells bring back memories made then and on every trip since.

Everything in Switzerland works like clockwork. But not always. The first train I took was late, causing me to miss my connection. The Swiss are human too, it seems. And they make decent chocolate.

I have too many friends in too many cities around the world. Saying goodbye never gets easier though. This trip involved too many goodbyes, but the time actually spent with all my friends and family more than made up for the sadness at the end. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

And then, I leave you with some photos too – mostly in and of churches, because I spent so much time in them:

 

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4 comments on “Goodbye for now

  1. Tish
    March 21, 2016

    I have loved to see Europe through your camera lens since
    no other way is possible. Thanks.

  2. denisechabot
    March 22, 2016

    C’est toujours un plaisir de te voir…
    Mais je pense que la sentence de mort pourrait s’appliquer rien qu’avec cette petite phrase : ” And they make decent chocolate.”
    Bien entendu, de tous les peuples de la Gaule, les Belges sont les plus forts en chocolat, mais j’ai peur pour toi !
    Les enfants et moi continuerons à t’accompagner au travers de tes articles et de tes photos… à bientôt Robinet !

  3. derekmidgley
    March 22, 2016

    Hey Robin, hope you’ve already left. Not at Brussels airport today I hope!

    • Robin
      March 22, 2016

      Yip, thanks for checking. I am back home…

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