You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Oops. Without access to a computer I haven’t had the opportunity to post much on here.

It’s been 13 days since the trip began and I have seen Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), Ghent, Bruges, Oostende, and Brussels (all Belgium), and now Paris (France).

I should be flying back this afternoon, but those whacky French unions are up to their old tricks and what I thought was to be a strike only on the rail system has, in fact, turned into a massive strike of solidarity among all unions (including those for air-traffic controllers). All this because they think retiring at 62 years old is simply obscene (versus 60 years old currently).

So, American Airlines has canceled my flight and re-booked me on a flight the next day. I know, I know….another day in Paris, how horrible for me. But after two weeks of travel, I must admit I was really looking forward to being in my own bed, in my own home.

I’m not sure what’s on the agenda for today…but it appears the weather will continue to hold out and be sunny once again (I have been quite lucky).

So I will write more about the trip when I get home. But to summarize:

Helsinki – rather boring all around. Limited historic architecture, abundant modern architecture that isn’t as spectacular as they believe it to be, pricey. Has a good modern art museum, though, and is very clean.

Tallinn – gorgeous. An amazingly walkable medieval town with friendly people, beautiful old buildings, tasty food, and good prices. Come here before they start using the euro currency and prices go up! Also has a great modern art museum.

Ghent – another beautiful place, but this time a city, with spectacular stone buildings and wide canals.

Bruges – a smaller/older version of Ghent, but with brick buildings instead of stone. The canals are narrower and the buildings smaller, but that still doesn’t make this a very intimate place. It is over-run with tourists to the point of over-exposure.

Oostende – think Atlantic City, New Jersey, on the North Sea. There’s a casino and some shopping…plus an expansive beach…but that’s about it. On the plus side, it’s 15 minutes to Bruges by train.

Brussels – admittedly, I was only here for a few hours and spent it busily tracking down a SNCF office to collect my train ticket, but from what I could tell it’s a pretty major city with much more diversity than any other city so far on my trip. There seemed to be a hodge-pudge of architectural styles, for better or for worse. From what I’ve heard, it’s more business-oriented than tourism-oriented. Some day, I still want to see the Atomium, but i don’t think I will visit Brussels for anything more than a layover/connection point.

Paris – been there, done that. But seeing as this is my sixth visit in 5 years, obviously I enjoy it here. More, though, I enjoy visiting my friend, Mark.

And now i get to visit him for one extra day. Pull out the playing cards!

No Comments

No comments yet.

Comments RSS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.