It’s Day 26 of my 100-day trip to Europe, and I’ve just wrapped up a productive week of guidebook research in France with my co-author, Steve Smith. We’ll be saying “au revoir” soon — but first, we’re driving into Spain together.
When we came upon an abandoned border station — covered in graffiti and smothered in old travel memories — we just had to stop, get out, and reminisce. Peeking into the window, I actually saw an old exchange board that listed pesetas and francs — a time warp from before 2002, when the euro replaced most local currencies in Europe.
I’m so glad borders and walls are out of fashion in Europe. The many proud nations of Europe don’t always get along, but they have learned to respect each other quite impressively — and they recognize that an “after you” attitude (rather than “me first”) makes it possible for diversity and peace to flourish. In fact, in my travels I find that using the phrase “after you” (“nach Inen” in German, “après vous” in French, “dopo di lei” in Italian, and so on) is a big part of happy travels.
(Follow my travels at http://www.ricksteves.com/blog.)