As a Monty Python fan, London in my minds eye is a city of silly walks: eccentric lopes, tortured tangos and Teutonic goose steps. It is really quite opposite that, in fact. That’s why the Pythons were funny. Last week in London, Pat and I settled into an apartment off Fleet Street and toured old London by foot.
Where are the poets of yesteryear, the bards of epic verse, the drunkards and the rakes whose words spurred torrid love and sent armies off to battle? Their ghosts live on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy.
Note: We first published this story in 2004, just after Thanksgiving and a few weeks after the re-election of George W. Bush. The US dollar wasn’t worth too much then and the French found our politics puzzling, to say the least.
Thanksgiving, of course, is completely off the map of the French. My wife Pat and I spent Turkey Day with expat friends shamelessly gulping red wine, slurping oysters and savoring all manner of fats, cheeses, chocolates and filet of boeuf. All of this is good for you…if you are in France.
Santorini, Greece © Russell Johnson
Where are the surly waiters? Where are the soggy pommes frites? Where is the water blasting out of the shower head like an Arctic squall? Where are all of those travel horror stories that you laugh about later?
Some people I know think travel means travail, that Christ-like suffering is honorable and that cruising is nothing more than high calorie sensory euthanasia. I suggest that they “get a life” (albeit an expensive one) and try, just once, one of the luxury cruise ships. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I would trade half a dozen mediocre experiences on a behemoth party ship for one on a smaller luxury vessel.