THIS IS a trip down memory lane. It was 25 years ago when I went on my first European adventure. It was in 1992 when I was asked by my mom and dad about joining them to Europe for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona
I then sported a "clean look," a shaved head. Mom shaved it. Today I had a free one from a Pinoy in Sicily. I was thought to have been part of the PH Boxing Team for the Olympics. Part of that sporting look was a pair of Jordan collectible from that time, the "space jam."
Quite an exciting time then. The "Dream Team" debuted for the first time in this summer games. I remember seeing them with tighter security than the King of Spain. They stayed along the coast, billeted in a cruise ship. Today, it was the G7 Summit in Italy. Tight security too. The base I am guest to was where 2 Air Force 1 were parked.
Time was when I had to go with mom to all 11 countries for separate visas then. Currency was also an issue. Unlike today. One Visa, one Currency. Except of the Brexit. It took three months to complete this. Today, one month. At just one embassy, the Italian. In Fatima, we begged for money as it was a Sunday and no banks were open. We only had Traveller's Cheques.
Adding on to this silver lining is being with Joy, and an upgrade to Business Class. While it was Mom and Dad who then "aided" me, it is I for them this time. They accompanied me then, it is I who accompanies them today. I tagged along then, they now go where I will go for this. I still help out with all the baggage, siempre.
For the EuRail it is also easier. I dreaded the Immigration checks in the middle of the night. No sleep. Once we were asked to transfer trains in the border as the tracks and trains were different with that of the other European countries "allegedly" because they didn't want to be invaded by Germany during the war. All are the same today.
With me on hand was my trusty Canon camera. I took shot per shot. It was still in film. Today it is replaced by my iPhone7. It conveniently edits and has an automatic locator and sends immediately with wifi. From 20 rolls of film to 20,000 shots, video, panorama and now, selfies. I lost most of my film as it was stolen, still for those that were kept, I had to wait to come back home for it to be printed.
I used to do the groceries then, today I still do for our hosts. I will prepare meals every night. Just like 25 years ago, we still have friends who take us in their homes. Joy and Dad do the dishes. Laundry too.
Time was when train travel was it, cheaper. Now it is by air. There are just too many competing for passengers. It is now cheaper and faster. I now would be brave enough to drive too. I will get on the wheel anytime if asked. Rentals are now the way to see the sights. It was just the trains then.
Mom and dad spent 600 dollars for me in 92 for that round trip. It is still the same today. Although the peso was just at 28 then, now it is at 50. There was no Euro then. Everyone now uses credit and debit cards for everything even in McDonalds, groceries and taxis.
We did a lot of walking then I will always remember, worse was in the battle of Waterloo where Napoleon lost. We walked the whole place to just see fields. Today we still do a lot of walking but for tours along the streets. There are free walking tours in English as well.
It was always a trip somewhere for something historical. Worse was the the Death Camps. The grand Palaces of crazy Kings is of course always astounding. Today it is where movies were shot and filmed or who's who, who went there. Some actor or the President of USA.
I now have some silver hair, at least some little hair. Utensils of silver instead of plastic I keep. Now with more lines in our faces, we keep our graces. We still line up every time for museums and even churches but it is just fine. It's been 25 years so Cheers!