We just got back on the ship after a short tour of Bratislava with yet another spectacular guide who knew her stuff and had a fabulous wit.  But, right now, all that I can think of is the truck in Austria that was probably about thirty minutes away from us as we traveled to Vienna yesterday and was probably discovered about the time the I was whining about how slow the service was at lunch.  I didn’t even know it happened until I was going to sleep and then was too tired to check out what happened.

We live such lives of privilege (even back home) and it’s no more “in your face” than when you take a cruise like this where someone takes care of your every whim.  We have scrambled eggs…you want them over easy?  One moment please.  You want your room taken care of early…certainly.   You want to stay in town later…of course we’ll accomodate you.  We’ll wait while you go back for your things.  No problem.  You want some cheese samples for dessert and we’re offering apple strudel and ice cream and bavarian cream cake.  One moment…we’ll find the cheese.

And they work so hard.  And ask us if WE are tired at the end of the day.  The young woman who cleans our room has a PhD in architecture.  Vana can earn more money cleaning our rooms than she could as an architect in Croatia…and since Croatia isn’t part of the EU, it’s difficult for her to get a job in another country.  And still she smiles and is pleased that she can gradually pay off her student loans.

And then the refugees…who would give anything (even their lives) for a job like Vana’s.  What on earth is wrong with us that in 2015 it is so horrible that people have to leave their homeland and risk everything just to live a decent life?  And I whine about slow service in Vienna????

We’re beginning to pack for home. We’ll be cruising all afternoon and will stay up to see the lights of Budapest when we come into the city.  Tomorrow we’ll be in Budapest all day and then (very early) on Sunday we’ll be heading for the airport.  Budapest to Amsterdam (6:00am),then Amsterdam to  Atlanta, then Atlanta to Tampa.  We’re hoping Erika doesn’t mess us up but considering what Erika has done in the Carribbean, a delay in Atlanta wouldn’t be the end of the world!  Coming home with a few trinkets and a lot of dirty laundry and wonderful memories!




7 thoughts on “Refugees

  1. The specter of poverty seems always with us– nagging our conscience when we don’t want it.

  2. Thanks for keeping this social justice perspective that is so part of you, Mary. In the midst of this grand and elegant experience, you keep mindful of the needs of others. Thank you so much, for being you wherever you go…and reminding us all of what you see.

  3. When I heard about the refugees, I thought of you, and wondered how close you were to them. How tragic, and, you are very right, we are so blessed here, stories like this put everything in perspective.

  4. What a wonderful trip you had! Have a safe trip home…the turtles are waiting for you…and so are we!

  5. So hard to enjoy our good fortune while others are suffering. The trick, which you already employ, is to help when you can and savor the joys of your own life when you’re in the midst of them.

    Can’t wait to see you.

  6. I love ALL of the above comments and just want to wish you again, safe travels. We miss you guys.

  7. Henry( Dick ) Gates

    Sounds like your returning from The Viking River Cruise-Grand European Tour. My wife & I will be going on that same tour in October. Any tips?

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