So here we are, somewhere in Europe. Where, exactly, I would hate to try and guess. Don’t get me wrong — I know where I am, but it is like the old Humphrey Bogart line from Casablanca. “If it’s midnight in Casablanca, Sam, what day is it in New York?”
I know where I am while I am writing — I am on the German “autobahn” between Heidelberg and Rothenburg — and I even know what day and time it is — Thursday about ‘leven o’clock — but as to the time and date in Porterdale and the surrounding North Georgia Piedmont, I don’t have a clue. When you have to keep up with the antics and whereabouts of Bill Bowdoin 24/7, it is hard to be too concerned with what’s happening in Eastern Daylight Time.
That’s part of the beauty of traveling with large groups of people, however. You get to meet so many new and interesting people, like Bill, who flew helicopters in Vietnam, refereed football in the SEC and was an American banker in the 21st century — three of the most dangerous occupations on Earth. And the guy has a huge family. He has introduced me to one of his beautiful daughters in practically every city in Western Europe.
I have a few random thoughts to share with you about my current adventure. London is a lovely city, but the British are a bit stuffy. But what do you expect from the people who fired Sir Winston Churchill at the end of World War II? They think a lot of their Ferris Wheel, but except for the view, Atlanta’s is almost as good. Now keep calm, Brits. I said almost.
Since I’ve already made my English friends mad, I’ll go ahead and say that Piccadilly Circus doesn’t compare with Times Square and the Beatles weren’t nearly as good as Elvis and I wouldn’t trade one of David Henderson’s filets for all the fish and chips in the world. I do prefer Princess Kate to what passes for royalty in America these days, however.
The buildings in Paris were amazing. Visiting the Eiffel Tower at night was invigorating and cruising on the Seine in the moonlight was romantic. I even tried the snails. But all in all, I have to agree with the late great Lewis Grizzard. Once you’ve climbed that tower and been insulted by one of those snooty waiters in tight pants, you’ve about done France.
Actually, that’s not true. I’ll never quit thinking about the sights we saw in Normandy and the countryside in Northern France is as beautiful as any I have ever seen. They have some amazing cathedrals, too, and if the country happens to be populated by the French — well “c’est la vie.”
I haven’t been in Germany long, but I am a lot bigger fan of Germany than I was when I arrived. Bavaria seems to be a carbon copy of the North Georgia village of Helen, and they have great sausages and pretzels. They have more “biergartens” per square foot than downtown Athens and the whole country, or the part I have seen so far is green, clean and orderly. I’m thinking we should try to trade them Detroit, Cleveland and a city to be named later for Frankfurt and Munich.
One of the highlights of this trip, however, has been getting to know our guide, Carlos Colorado, a Spaniard who speaks about a dozen languages, knows more history than God and tracks somewhere to the right of Bill O ‘Reilly. Carlos has put up with me, gotten us everywhere we needed to be on time, kept me from creating any major international incidents and kept us entertained and informed.
He has taught us about all the monkey business that has gone on in Europe over the past 2,000 years, taught us to forecast the weather by looking at cows and, most of all, proved to us that true friendship transcends national and cultural boundaries. If he had studied at the University of Georgia instead of the University of Madrid, he’d be what we call a “DGD.”
A guy can’t get higher praise than that in any language.
Be home soon y’all. Only 85 days until football season.