2010 Condor Contest: The Enticement of Europe

The red beech trees swayed in a mysterious way shielding my view from the Kings Throne.

Ah, the chalk cliffs of Rügen, songs should be written about them. These sheer, almost tooth-like cliffs face the Baltic Sea, which can be emerald green, but wasn’t when we stood there.

Stormy, wild; this spot on the island of Rügen is awe inspiring.

Later, away from the cliffs, I stirred the contents of an ancient bucket and found a truly lovely amber, with possibly even some secret of the past embedded in it.

Rügen is a paradise, but definitely not the only one in Europe. Did you know that you could strap on your hiking boots in Portugal and walk – criss-crossing Europe — and end up at the Black Sea?

Some walks are thematic, such as the Route of Peace that passes sites of the Spanish Civil war.

London is known for urban walks. Once my mother and I walked Shakespeare’s London, even to the Old Globe Theatre.

We ended our walk with afternoon tea and steaming meat pie in a cozy pub.

Another summer, the sound of bleating prompted my husband and I to hike beyond Stechelberg and a Swiss alpine meadow, up narrow stony trails, to a goat firmly planted on an almost non-existent ledge.

Goats like heights more than mere mortals. He wouldn’t come up and we daren’t go down.

And the goat? He’s been there before.

We revelled in the rich tapestry of Europe. Museums and music enchanted us. Castles, like Neuschwanstein, were a feast for the eyes. Everywhere there were singular things to do or see.

Listening to music, laughing, chatting and tasting sausage and wine at the Mainz wine festival was unforgettable. So was a delectable roadside picnic in Belgium, of smoked eels.

Another hungry day, after trailing around a museum, Ken and I wandered into a small café. Our limited language skills didn’t stop him. He chuckled and peered into bubbling pots. Soon a spread of pasta, chicken and more materialized.

We never, ever forgot the winding roads or cobblestone paths, the waterways of Venice or Amsterdam, or walled towns like Rothenburg, and friendly, smiling, helpful people everywhere.

Travel in Europe is a momentary glimpse of another way of being in the world. Unlike our forested Yukon, Europe’s close distances are filled with a world ancient and modern –towers, trains, subways, tiny red-roofed villages or tumbling ruins.

There’s a message we left under a loose stone. I wonder if anyone ever found it.

We felt the allure wherever we went. The Jungfrau almost froze us! From Brindisi to Igumenitsa, we sipped Greek coffee for the first time on a Panamanian freighter, as it steamed through the Adriatic Sea.

Seeing Hadrian’s Wall, motorcycle races in Monza or the Parthenon were spectacular, too.

You ask: What would I do first? Naturally, buy some pickled herring and a fine loaf of bread, go sit on a sunny park bench and pull out our map.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top