My railpass record says it all: A trip to the airport. A trip back to the Brussels central station. A trip to the other airport. A trip back to the Brussels main station. A trip via the (super-expensive) high-speed train to London. Ugh.

I got up at 5 a.m. to get to the Brussels airport super, incredibly early – I arrived nearly 3 hours before my flight was scheduled to depart. I’m not scared of flying, but I’m always horribly afraid of missing my flights. With reason, apparently. I won’t dwell on the details, mostly because I don’t want to recall them, but it was an awful, expensive morning, and I almost didn’t get through the UK’s border security. (The agent made fun of Arkansas, too! Who does that?)

I haven’t seen enough of London to make any judgments yet, except that it is indeed as expensive as I had feared. It costs four pounds (aka $8) to take the tube, no matter how short a trip! I spent four pounds calling my mom last night, for a total of about 60 seconds of airtime. The super-cheap Chinese restaurant next to my hostel is a blessed exception to this madness.

In this grey city, I feel like I’m in mourning for the loss of my trip. After a full five weeks of country hopping, it seemed like a death sentence to get stuck on an island, no matter how worldly and impressive an island. It’s equally oppressive to see the school year approach, and to know winter is coming. Winter on a grey island! How will I manage? Where did my summer in Spain go? My misery is compounded by the fact I managed to pick up a nice little cold somewhere. (I think it was from a cute Australian, so that makes it almost worthwhile.)

To make myself feel better, I’ve been perusing my albums of old photos. Some of them are there because they’re great photos. Others are there because they were great experiences. (E.g. the photo with our sexy professor. I got to touch him!!) Rather than posting them all here, I’ve provided a link to an album.  Here it is: The Best of the Best of Europe!  Hope you enjoy!


I would also like to take this time to reflect on the female traveler’s favorite week of the month. For a list of funny euphemisms for this natural but bothersome cycle, click here.

About a week ago, aware that my time was fast approaching and in need of supplies, I entered a supermarket in Germany. I found this, and only this:


I looked to the left, to the right. There was nothing else. No Tampax© Pearl, no Tampax at all! There were no applicators to be found, not even cardboard. “There – there must be some mistake!” I screamed in horror.

I checked in another supermarket, which offered even less variety. The normal absorbency had all been sold out, leaving only Super and Light. That just wouldn’t do. A fancy-schmancy pharmacy was my last hope, but there, too, there was only O.B. I gave in, paid my four euros and left. Leave it to the Germans, who sort their trash into four different types of recyclables, to be equally environmentally aware with their tampons. And they saved paper by only printing the instructions in German. Eek!

As it turned out, it wasn’t so bad. They’re way smaller and lighter than any tampon with an applicator, even the Tampax© Compak. And even with German instructions, it’s just not too hard to figure out what you have to do with it. O.B. has won a respectful fan, if not a convert. It also helped that I spent the following three days in Belgium, home of the world’s best chocolate (and beer). How lucky is that?