While Tibbs is sniping at Bieter and the valley is filled with smoke, the GUARDIAN editor is working the day job in Northwest France, Belgium, and Holland making photos for textbooks and other publications.
Don’t want to lose any of our valuable readers, so here are some random thoughts to be followed by some nice photos.
–BIKES are not only a part of life in Holland (The Netherlands), but pretty much a center point. Lots of paths clearly marked and with their own set of signs and signals. Like variopus models of cars, there are bikes with front seats for kids, cargo haulers, speed, and commute. Even a fat bald guy from Boise can handle Amsterdam traffic with a little practice.
–WWII is long passed, the EU has united Europe financially, but there are scars and reminders everywhere, especially along the Atlantic Coast with German gun emplacements serving as picnic platforms in nature preserves!
–ENGLISH CHANNEL was once the only thing between German invasion and a free England. Today with the Tunnel, hourly ferries from multiple ports, yacht people visiting daily, and loads of right hander steering wheels on French roads, the barrier is vastly diminished. Standing on a hill at Calais and looking at the white cliffs of Dover in England brought home the proximity of the continent to England.
–ENVIRONMENTAL concerns are on the mind of all. Recycle bins abound in France and the small cars prevail–mostly for ease of parking and navigation on narrow roads. Sprawl is nearly non-existant and vast housing developments are not apparent.
–U.S. finance problems with “sub par” loans are hitting banks in this part of the world due to international ownership. Americans are viewed by most as “consumers.”
–CATHOLICS dominated to an extent impossible today. The majestic cathedrals dominating every major city and the village churches attest to a historic past.
–AMERICAN HERITAGE seems to be around every corner. Gouda and Parma are villages in Holland and Italy. Cartier is not a watch, but an explorer who sailed from CHERBOURG where this posting is being written.
–CONSTRUCTION of Nazi fortifications astound the visitor of today. How could they build huge cement bunkers, submarine docks (pens) etc. and not have them bombed?
Just some grist for the mill and all the more reason we need to watch over our governments and officials, lest they become too dominate.
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