The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sneaking Out for a Quick One

Despite the paradigm-shifting implications of the adoption of the euro currency throughout Western Europe, the increase in open-skies agreements and the proliferation of low-cost airlines in Europe is doing as much to transform Europeans in social terms. When you can fly between cities throughout Europe for as little as 20 euros each way, that makes a weekend trip to another country a perfectly reasonable and affordable thing to do. If I were a single guy with time on my hands living here in Lyon, I'd be exploring a new city pretty much every other weekend. And lots of people do--which explains how I happened to run into, completely at random at London Stansted, the woman whose office is next to mine in Lyon.

[Photo: Lyon St. Exupéry airport, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava]

Of course, when you multiply that price by four to take the whole family, then factor in transportation to the airport (it costs €20 to take the shuttle to the airport, or €60 by cab), then double everything for the round trip, and when you take into account the hassles of air travel these days (especially if, heaven forfend, you end up in Heathrow) and the general difficulty of traveling with small children, then you'll see why we don't take often take such advantage.

But we did sneak off for a week in England's Peak District, arriving back last night. (More on that trip coming soon.) And as much as I like the ease and speed of traveling by TGV train within France, that trip got me thinking again... Dublin? Bucharest? Rome? Copenhagen? Lisbon? Marrakech? All reachable by direct flights on low-cost carriers from Lyon.

[photo: St. Exupéry interior. Is it odd to name an airport after a guy who died in a plane crash?]

If there was ever any doubt as to whether or why Europeans are more well-traveled and internationally aware than Americans, the ever-increasing ease of intra-European travel should put that to rest. As for me, I'll be brushing up on my Italian. And Spanish. And Portuguese...

[photos not mine, shamelessly stolen off web]


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