Travel: A River, a Wine and a Natural Occurrence

Have you noticed how so many of us are travelling now that the restrictions have been lifted?

To be fair, I haven’t heard one person say that that travel part – the airplane part — is fabulous. Always, the best parts are getting away, taking in new sites and then experiencing the new parts.

Long before I was married

I dated an up-and-coming executive. He decided we needed to go on a four-week holiday in Europe. Fortunately, he was a little older and made much more money than me.  (I say fortunately because those days were when women made 50 cents on the male dollar, and I could never have paid for the whole trip myself.)

It was a magical trip. The airplane part was great, the getting away part was lovely, the taking in new sites part was breathtaking, and the experience of new stuff was exhilarating. On that trip, I realized –

  • All people are basically the same wherever they live, whatever they do, and from wherever they come.
  • Most people the world over are kind and decent humans.
  • Food is pretty much the same all around the world. The differences are in the spices and the cooking techniques.
  • The best wine in the world is a German Reisling.

I make such a claim about German Reisling because we did a boat cruise and travelled the Danube river for a few hours. Gazing up at the miles and miles of vineyards growing on the side of the hills is simply breathtaking. And we sampled many, many different wines in Germany, from his friends in the country to so many styles and types of restaurants in the city. And an authentic German Reisling is a thing of beauty.

A few months ago

While researching some facts for Exploring Compassionate Capitalism, I came across an alarming news item about the Danube river. Four of the major European rivers in Europe — The Danube River, The Rhine River, The Loire River, and The Po River are drying up.

See, the Danube River has been important for trade and European travel for thousands of years. It also provides several of the countries it travels through with electric power through hydropower and drinking water.

Yet over 80 percent of the original floodplain area along the Danube and its main tributaries has been lost since the beginning of the 19th century. Last year, the water levels were so low that the remains of 20 sunken World War II ships were revealed with ammunition still live on board.

The climate has significantly changed in the last 20 years, and the low levels, especially the Rhine and Danube, have seen incidents of passengers being bussed from one destination to another for the past five or six years. But while the cruise companies may have foreseen this, clients like you and me have not.

Strangely river cruising is much more popular today than it was 40 years ago when my boyfriend and I did it. And now, it faces a precarious existence. All because of the unintended consequences of actions so very many of us took 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 75 years ago.

This played in the back of my mind when I chatted with Ethan Brown of the Sweaty Penguin for this week’s episode. Agriculture, Wine and Farts.

Hope you can find some time to listen.

Spinning mirror ball for BPYBN

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