I think the idea of wanting a holiday after a holiday was invented for me. I can never switch off the way some others can.
I am sitting here in Place Luxembourg in Brussels outside a restaurant facing the European Parliament as I make the slow winding journey home from the Far East.
Instead of continuing on the last leg of my journey home from Tokyo, I jumped off in Frankfurt – with no plan.
Modern technology allows you to literally run a business and your life from your smartphone
It is quite exciting to do something like that. I had the time and it has been so long since I have set foot on the continent that impulse kicked in and bleary eyed after a 12-hour flight through the night, I walked out the airport doors and told the taxi driver to take me to the city centre. The train drivers were on strike.
Modern technology allows you to literally run a business and your life from your smartphone. You could realistically never leave your house and still survive. I scrolled a few hotels and checked in early and got a few hours’ sleep. Frankfurt would not be on many people’s summer holiday destination list but I have an odd fascination with European cities like Frankfurt and I had never been beyond its airport boundary.
It was good to go into the city centre, find a nice outdoor restaurant and chill with a book. I am only getting around to reading Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian. Tiger has been working since he was 11 months old according to the first few chapters.
What struck me about both Frankfurt and Cologne was the amount of people eating outdoors
But with the smartphone beside me, I am easily distracted and decided to answer a few emails from the previous three weeks.
And then I used it to book the next leg of the journey – a train ride to Cologne. What struck me about both Frankfurt and Cologne was the amount of people eating outdoors. Maybe it has always been that way in these parts but there was nobody eating or drinking inside even though you could with the COVID-19 cert which I was asked for. However, eating and drinking outdoors on the street, you’d never want to go back indoors again. But only in good weather.
From Cologne, the next stop was Brussels. I love Brussels. Again people look at me funny when I say that but there is a buzz about it, a bohemian atmosphere. As a journalist, I have probably been exposed to its workings more than most over the years as so much of what happens in farming has its genesis here. There were late-night farm council meetings and angry farmer protests which I enjoyed covering back in the day. They don’t seem to happen anymore, even pre-COVID-19.
I am sure they switch off their phones wherever they are and do what you are meant to do on your holidays unlike yours truly
It’s the middle of August which means it all but shuts down here. It’s like a ghost town in the Schuman area. This is when all the diplomats and politicians and EU institution staff leave en masse. And I am sure they switch off their phones wherever they are and do what you are meant to do on your holidays unlike yours truly.
I’m here on holiday in the shadow of the EU parliament
I could have changed my connection in Frankfurt to a sunny climb to do just that. But instead I decided to visit Cologne and Brussels, dragging a big bag after me with a broken handle such was its weight. And instead of trying to get away from any reminder of Common Agricultural Policy and politics, I’m here on holiday in the shadow of the EU parliament. Surely there must be a cure for this?
I am no fashion expert but there should be heavy fines handed out by the fashion police to men who go around wearing black woolly socks when wearing shorts. No, just no.