Friday, June 20, 2008

Whew!

Well, I made it. Three countries in three weeks, with a return home between each. (That's the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Portugal, for those of you keeping score at home.) Two work meetings, one vacation. One suitcase (with different contents, of course) and one backpack. Multiple pairs of shoes, including my walking shoes and flip flops, all of which have given me one blister or another. I've learned a lot, waited in a lot of queues, and gained approximately 1.8 million pounds.

I'm not the world's best traveller, so I'm rather impressed with my present state -- a bit tired and glad to be home, but already looking forward to the next trip (Barcelona, mmmm). Trip reports will come soon, but meanwhile, in the spirit of John's list, here's what *I* know:

One day is enough to get a taste of a city.

One week is not enough to explore half a country. (Well, if that country is Portugal. It's plenty if the country is, say, Monaco.)

I underprepared. You can't just print the articles and buy the guidebooks. You also have to read them.

Random children are enamoured with John in foreign countries, too.

I need to find a hobby that I can do while standing on a jetway surrounded by screaming children and impatient people. That would turn wasted time into found time.

I've carried the same poor paperback on all trips, and still haven't finished. Not only that, it's the book club book from two months ago.

Don't hold a conference in Europe during any kind of European sports event. Attendees will disappear at game time.

There are approximately 35 roundabouts between Luton airport and Cambridge. (Hat tip: John Kelly)

The weirdest foods I ate this month were beef tongue and tripe. Also on the list: squid and herring.

Language is a barrier less often than you might think.

And finally: I'm happy to be home in Cambridge.

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