The most interesting aspect of travel: the people you meet who live at your destination and introduce you to their life on Mars or otherwise known as:
“Here is my home. Feel free to be a family with us.”
My trip to Europe contained bookends of brief solo time in Iceland where it’s less expensive to fly in and out from and I HIGHLY recommend it. A trip to Iceland should be on your bucket list if not on your “at least once every few years that I can travel” list. It is truly like nowhere else I have ever been in the industrialized world. The word “calm” defined everything around me in a slow-motion dream that reached through each lightly populated city into the vast outlands surrounding and separating each. Erling drove the taxi that ushered me from Keflavík airport to the Blue Lagoon. We spoke of lost items (I had left my laptop on a plane at JFK hours earlier), his wife and children, education, the economy of Iceland, politics, and other worldly thoughts. He gave me his card and informed me that he would be happy to drive me into Reykjavik when I completed my time at Blue Lagoon. When he picked me up hours later, he found a revitalized Dana with news of my laptop discovered in Shannon, Ireland and that all was not lost. He took me on a trip “off the taxi meter” to show me the home of the President of Iceland. He was happy to report that one could walk up, knock on the door, and ask for a cup of tea with him. There was no security of any kind. “Shall we?” he asked.
Cut to my arrival in Brussels a couple of days later: the environment was the polar opposite to Iceland, all bustling, brusque, bold, and business. Caught up in the stream of fast movement from plane to the baggage area, I felt completely jolted from my Icelandic mist. After a very long walk following fleet-footed people who looked like they knew exactly where they were going, I heard something warm pull me toward voices, “YooHoo, Dana! Over here!” In the bright white, modish baggage claim of Brussels-Zavantem airport stood my happy hosts in Belgium. “Teresa! Jaime!” I shouted back. My brain began to move more quickly through the dream state tunnel as I felt myself whisked out of the vacation daze into a more rapid pace. In a flurry of activity, my bags were picked up and tossed into a car. Away we drove to their home as the exciting conversation ensued about flights from the U.S. to Iceland, the experience of the Blue Lagoon, and some great sights to visit in Brussels all in English and Spanish. Spanish is spoken in the Andreu-Perello home though people of Brussels speak French and everywhere else in Belgium, Dutch is the official language. Thus began the due diligence of my brain to acclimate to my new surroundings via Vulcan mind meld.
This was one year ago. Both Iceland and Brussels are a bit different today. As the U.S. celebrates her independence from Britain, the Brits awaken from a drunken stupor to their Brave New World without the EU while Brussels requests that they “Hurry up” already since the consequences of their Leave campaign negatively affect everyone. Iceland lost to France in the Euro Quarter-final 5-2, so travel there inexpensively on the aptly named WOW air to console the beautiful people who lose like champions! My Reyka has arrived just in time and here’s a nectarous off-topic tip for you: Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut Spread. Most delicious food ever; you’ll want to eat it like a dessert.
Happy ItDepends Day!