The first trip to Europe alone proves that the journey is worth the risk.

Mike Strange and his daughter Alice drink local beer on a day trip to Haarlem, the Netherlands.  May 2022

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.”

I’m not sure who coined these words, but I believe them.

“I don’t know if I can handle this trip alone at my age without my daughter or someone to accompany me.”

These words definitely came from me in the run-up to a recent European adventure.

Last month I started at McGhee-Tyson for a trek that included a few days alone in Switzerland followed by a week-long Rhine cruise to Amsterdam. There I was joined by my daughter Alice, my frequent and incomparable guide.

My mantra: Just get me on the ship and I’ll be fine.

I landed early Wednesday morning in Zurich, Switzerland, braced for testing and confusion. There was neither one nor the other. In 25 minutes I was already on the train to Interlaken. I even had a bag, unlike my trip to Paris in 2019 when my bag was delivered to Jacksonville.

Castles on the Rhine.  May 2022

Saturday afternoon I boarded a ship in Basel, Switzerland. One more copy.

We will skip the day route. Let’s just say that in 17 days I read several interesting pages in the book of the world.

This was my fourth trip to Europe, the first on my own. And my first cruise of any kind. Ship? Imagine a floating four-deck line, thin and long, too long to fit in the Neyland stadium.

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