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View Diary: Krugman:  Their Own Private Europe (133 comments)

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  •  Drunk men and ferrets. Well, even stranger things (1+ / 0-)
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    often happened in port area bars. Some were downright surreal!

    You might appreciate my "Fawlty Towers" remarks. That show was especially funny for me because it echoed some real experiences traveling in the U.K. which back three decades did indeed have some really "special" little hotels. I arrived suddenly, on near zero travel notice, in London during "high season" and got a room near Marble Arch only after going back to Paddington (believe that was the one from Heathrow) and hitting one of the station's reservations booths. My room contained eight beds--ex RA or RAF I suspect--and cheesecloth towels. It kept me off a bench somewhere but also had no memorable funny incidents like that tub with long black hairs in great quantity covering the entire inside. That was only funny that night in the pub and over the years since.

    I truly pity those that are just tourists and keep themselves isolated. I would not seek out hair filled tubs on my own dime, but neither is there reason to travel in constant fear of such an experience as those are actually exceptional. I've long lost interest in "great sights" and now just enjoy Europe, mainly southern Europe, for the general feel. I've actually been made to feel at home more in an evening walk and lingering in a park or sidewalk cafe than anywhere here. Locals almost always include us and my wife has spent hours chatting with someone in such places while I just kick back and relax.

    I have sat alone in sidewalk places here with nothing but the order and check. I'd say it is 60-40 the other way there and that the times I've not been sort of "included" was more to my own mood at the time. More than once we have become part of small, informal parties in such places. Even with "English reserve" I found most pubs far more welcoming than our bars. Never had "penpals" from those, but more than once a return months or a year later would bring a yell of recognition and invitation to join in again. Been to the same bar back in traveling days here ten times over the space of a year without even a nod from the tender that I tipped well.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Fri Jan 28, 2011 at 10:40:17 AM PST

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    •  My penpals were from the actual pen to paper (0+ / 0-)

      stage of writing. I had to suss out what was safe, generally found chivalry, more often than not. I was conservative about sleeping places, but otherwise fairly inquisitive.

      What is the point of travelling, if not to meet the people?

      I'm glad I spent money travelling before I have "barely enough to live on money. I don't understand people visiting Disneyland every year.

      Eating by myself at Brighton beach, I met a Kiwi that I later treated to Symphony Hall. He is a serious singer, it was a treat just watching him.

      Memories to pluck out. Travel diaries.


      by CuriousBoston on Fri Jan 28, 2011 at 09:37:34 PM PST

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      •  A matter of interest, not always money. (0+ / 0-)

        A few years ago an acquaintance was sort of giving me the "elite" crap about a trip to Europe with an "I can't afford that" line. Then came the "all I can afford is" with the name of a resort in "middle America" that gives me the creeps. I wormed out some of the details on hotel and trip costs. On a per diem level our trip was actually only about $15 more than theirs--including pro-rated air fare.

        There are still good fares across the Atlantic. If you disregard the big name hotels and look for those likely to be used by locals, often very nice family owned with much more personal service, you can often do as well as with U.S. chain motels. I just checked the hotel we last used in Paris and the rate is $89 double at today's exchange rate. Another $11 and there is a big breakfast for two included that is certainly far beyond the "Continental breakfast" U.S. hotels usually provide. I compare that to my off season, discount rate of $94 that with a bunch of add ons and one hidden charge I complained about that brought it to $110+ for that run down hotel on a nearby Atlantic beach last October. If I'd been coming to that hotel by air from the Midwest or West coast my air fare would be higher than a recent one I saw for here to Paris.

        It is a matter of choice, not economics for many people that claim they cannot afford a visit to Europe in particular. If they want Disney or Branson and country music or Vegas they probably could manage a trip once every few years.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sat Jan 29, 2011 at 07:01:38 AM PST

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