I am finally in Europe, and the country side looks a lot like Wisconsin. Rural, green, mostly flat. Even some cows.
We flew overnight March 9-10 from Washington, DC into Brussels, and then took a high speed train to Paris. We all tried sleeping on the plane, but it wasn't quite enough. At one point, some of us got giggly and punch drunk. I and a few others tried playing gin rummy but we were all playing by different rules. Didn't work so well.
Then when we got into the cab, the radio was playing "Final Countdown" by Europe, which is hilarious because a) some one in our group was just singing the song; b) it's by Europe, and we're in Europe; c) we're giggly and punch drunk from fatigue; and d) the song's so cheesy, it makes me laugh everytime I hear it.
During the last 24 hours I have gotten to know my fellow travellers mostly with a drink in my hand. I feel like I'm in college again. Yes, I'm going to seminars and meetings, but the best experiences so far has been just shooting the breeze with the other travellers, having free ranging conversations that can touch on the music on our iPods, how we style our hair, and how women are held to a different standard that men. And some dancing too.
There are 10 men and 6 women on this trip. There are elected officials, attorneys, corporate movers and shakers, and public sector leaders. Everyone has strong opinions and freely share them. I think we are all liberals, but I have already, in the last 48 hours, learned that some are more conservative with others. In a few days, we will break off into traveling groups of 5 or 6 people, and I'll get to know them all much better.
And so far all of us have stayed up far past our bed times. Last night some of us went clubbing and I got into bed at 4 am. Then I got up at 8am for stuff. I haven't stayed up like this since college. We'll see how long I can keep up this pace.
If you want to get a different take on my trip, a couple of the other travellers are keeping blogs too. You can read Natasha's at Mavenonthemove.blogspot.com and Sam's at www.wral.com/news/local/blog/1212251. They have pictures.