Saturday, February 06, 2016

My Euro '85 travel writing reboot is meandering toward a conclusion.

Weenies in Copenhagen.
It used to be a stock comedic gag that returning vacationers would force friends to view photos of their holiday, prattling for hours while the unfortunate victims plotted their escape routes.

This joke probably hasn't survived the advent of social media and ubiquity in communications, seeing as all our photos are available, all the time, for immediate viewing. Now we look to the exclusion of reading.

Upon returning stateside from my first European jaunt in 1985, I couldn't view my visual souvenirs right away. I'd taken slides, and had to get back to work first to amass the money necessary to develop them. Having done so, I staged numerous viewings with projector and screen. Beer was necessary in order to keep the audience fixed in their seats.

In a few months it will have been 31 years, and these reminders remain trapped; I've never gotten around to digitally transferring them, and the 40-year-old projection apparatus doesn't function properly. Your suggestions to inexpensively rectify my sloth are welcome.

In April of 2015 it occurred to me to pick up a ball I'd dropped in 2005, and to reboot the 1985 travel narrative. It had flared up briefly in 2009 during my tenure as newspaper guest columnist, then fizzled again.

Through all the weird changes of past months, I've kept chipping away at the travelogue. To date, 28 installments have been written (I guessed it would require 25), and three or four probably remain. Having written about the trip in other places and contexts over the years, this effort has represented the opportunity to weave it all together in one place.

The purpose isn't high art. It's really about me, and remembering a summer that permanently changed my life. Yes, it was only a three-month pleasure trip to Europe, and fairly inconsequential in the larger scheme of life. However, from ouzo to train travel and from urbanism to pickled herring, I've never been quite the same. My post-traumatic stress derives from where I continue to choose to live, not where I visited.

The chapters are being posted on or around Mondays at my Potable Curmudgeon blog. Part 29 might be ready the day after tomorrow, though I doubt it.

Here are the links to date.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 28 … A Finnish detour to Tampere for beer and sausages.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 27 … Stockholm's blonde ambition, with or without mead-balls.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 26 … The Hansa brewery tour, and a farewell to Norway.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 25 … Frantic pickled Norway.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 24 … An aspiring “beer hunter” amid Carlsberg’s considerable charms.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 23 … A fleeting first glimpse of Copenhagen.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 22 … It's how the tulips were relegated.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 21 … A long day in Normandy, though not "The Longest Day."

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 20 … War stories, from neutral Ireland to Omaha Beach.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 19 … Sligo, Knocknarea, Guinness and Freddie.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 18 … Irish history with a musical chaser.

The PC: Euro '85, Part 17 ... A first glimpse of Ireland.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 16 … Lizard King in the City of Light.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 15 … The traveler at 55, and a strange interlude.

The PC: We pause Euro '85 to remember the Mathäser Bierstadt in Munich.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 14 … Beers and breakfast in Munich.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 13 … Tears of overdue joy at Salzburg's Augustiner.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 12 … Stefan Zweig and his world of yesterday.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 11: My Franz Ferdinand obsession takes root.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 10: Habsburgs, history and sausages in Vienna.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 9 … Milan, Venice and a farewell to Northern Italy.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 8 … Pecetto idyll, with a Parisian chaser.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 7 … An eventful detour to Pecetto.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 6 … When in Rome, critical mass.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 5 … From Istanbul to Rome, with Greece in between.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 4 … With Hassan in Pithion.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 3 … Growing up in Greece.

The PC: Euro '85, Part 2 ... Hitting the ground crawling in Luxembourg.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 1 … Where it all began.

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