ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Memories Of Youthful Travels Part 3

Updated on April 30, 2010

Devout Catholics, they are curious about religion in North America: isn't it mostly made up of Protestants? Not in our hometowns of Toronto or Philadelphia. Both of the women share the profession of being students. College in France is paid for by the state. Arithmetic is scribbled on the white paper tablecloth, hasty conversion between francs and dollars, this times that, carry the one. The final figure of Julie's tuition in pre - Euro francs stuns them.

Together we suckle red wine from baby bottles and are burned by the popping grease of the fondue pots. And then we say our goodbyes at the door and each couple leaves hand - in - hand.

Twice in France - once in Bordeaux, another time in Paris - people stopped us unprovoked on the metro platforms and asked if we needed any help getting to our destination.

On a train in Bavaria. A frazzled native sits across from me, Julie to his left. He gestures to my giant bag taking up the whole of the seat on my right, and then to his own shopping sack. He shakes his cane at me in a friendly way and smiles at me. He is speaking German, but I know what he is saying: You have all that, but I need just this to survive! Soon, with just a smile and some affirmative grunts in the right places, I find myself enmeshed in a full - blown dialogue. He pats his knee, then rattles his cane. A painting takes shape, a canvas of a man in the hospital because of his leg but now he is out and happy to be free and happy to be going home. He doesn't realize that I do not speak a word.

A couple of teenagers across the aisle are giving me sly, sidelong glances. I wish I could tell them that I mean no disrespect to their elders. Julie is looking away and trying not to giggle.

Eventually I use up my allowance of nods and shrugs. He becomes suspicious and turns away to look out the window. When our stop comes, we get up and say good - bye. His farewell is warm, but not as warm as the greeting. I wish I could apologize.

Other events become snippets whirling through my mind, memory RNA and imagination performing a kaleidoscopic do - si - do: A grouchy German proprietress chasing a beleaguered Julie from sitting in front of her gift shop. Sitting with Amsterdam hipsters in a cafe on a Sunday morning as they bounce in their seats to techno, smelling the sweet stink of coffee, marijuana, and all - night raves. Spinning with muy borrachos Spaniards, white clothes stained purple with Dionysus's blood, in the streets of the Festival at Pamplona. Eating pizza with silverware with natives of Bordeaux dressed in skirts and suits; ordering crepes, served on paper plates from a hole - in - the - wall in Avignon. Listening to three Yanks at the next table scream "Damn!" throughout the course of our dinner in a Darmstadt biergarten. Being surprised to hear passers - by, for all appearances native, open their mouths and spout Californian or the Queen's Own.

Alternate histories, gravestones marking soldiers who fell not at Gettysburgh but in India, mean nothing: men still died. The languages are different, but speech is the same. Their books, like ours, are written on paper, bound in cloth, and speak of the only things worth talking about: Life, death, and love.

Continued In Memories Of Youthful Travels Part 4

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)