my wife and i are planning a trip to germany and switzerland, with side trips into france and austria, for the last week of november and the first week of december. at first, we thought we'd take a cruise on the rhine river, but as i looked at all the places we could see by opting for day trips on the train from munich and basel, we decided we'd rather spend a week in each of those cities. are we crazy for making a trip to bavaria and switzerland at that time of year? the idea of experiencing late fall and the beginnings of winter in places where there is a pronounced change of seasons seems exciting to us. watching snow fall on beautifully lit christmas markets sounds incredibly romantic from the comfort of my armchair in the den right now, and i hope that the reality is as magical as the picture in my mind.
another factor in our decision to travel by train rather than cruise ship is the fact that it may not be too many years before a trip as independent travelers negotiating the train stations and streets of unfamiliar european cities will be impossible for us. when the infirmities of age necessitate seeking convenience rather than finding our way on our own, that will be the time for the river cruise! so, it's time to start brushing up on german, checking out apartments, and making flight reservations. we'd welcome advice from anyone who has any to offer.
what is it that makes travel like this so intriguing? every time we travel we meet people like us, people with the same uncertainties and insecurities, people with a genuine desire to befriend strangers in a foreign environment, and a few (though precious few fortunately) who are eager to take advantage of others who are struggling to figure out how to get around in unfamiliar surroundings. certainly the beautiful sights we try to capture in hundreds of pictures are part of the joy of traveling away from our comfort zone, but it is the ordinary people that make these trips worth taking.
my prayer today is that each of us looks at those most familiar to us with new eyes, as if meeting them for the first time, seeing that each person is a reflection of ourselves, deserving to be treated with kindness. may we look past the petty irritations and see the inner person craving respect, love, and peace. shalom.