The Euro ’85 travel writing reboot.


It used to be a stock comedic gag that returning vacationers would force friends to view photos of their holiday, prattling for hours while the unfortunate victims plotted their escape routes.

This gag probably hasn’t survived the advent of social media and ubiquity in communications, seeing as all our photos are available all the time for immediate viewing. Now we look, and we don’t read.

Upon returning stateside from my first European jaunt in 1985, I couldn’t view my visual souvenirs right away. I’d taken slides, and had to get back to work first to amass the money necessary to develop them. Having done so, I staged numerous viewings with projector and screen. Beer was necessary in order to keep the audience fixed in their seats.

It’s been 30 years, and these reminders remain trapped; I’ve never gotten around to digitally transferring them, and the 40-year-old projection apparatus doesn’t function properly. Your suggestions to inexpensively rectify my sloth are welcome.

Three months ago, I decided to pick up a ball I’d dropped in 2005 by rebooting the 1985 travel narrative. It flared up again in 2009 during my tenure as newspaper guest columnist. If I manage to finish this time, there’ll probably be close to 25 installments. Having written about the trip in other places over the years, this represents the opportunity to weave all of it together in one place.

The purpose isn’t high art. It’s really about me, and remembering something that changed me forever. It was just a three-month trip to Europe, and fairly inconsequential in the larger scheme of life, and yet I’ve never been the same.

The chapters are being posted on or around Mondays at my Potable Curmudgeon blog. Part 12 is due tomorrow.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 11: My Franz Ferdinand obsession takes root.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 10: Habsburgs, history and sausages in Vienna.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 9 … Milan, Venice and a farewell to Northern Italy.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 8 … Pecetto idyll, with a Parisian chaser.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 7 … An eventful detour to Pecetto.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 6 … When in Rome, critical mass.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 5 … From Istanbul to Rome, with Greece in between.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 4 … With Hassan in Pithion.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 3 … Growing up in Greece.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 2 … Hitting the ground crawling in Luxembourg.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 1 … Where it all began.