More on My Trip to Europe

Prepare to be bugged to death about this trip to Europe now, people. 🙂

So the trip itinerary is:

May 6 – St. Louis to London

May 9 – London to Berlin

May 15 – Berlin to St. Louis.

Now, a question: am I insane to think that I can squeeze a trip to Barcelona in there (between May 9 and May 15)?

I just researched it and I could get an entire two-day trip to Barcelona for €200. The thing is that I’ve never been to Barcelona. Every writer I have ever researched (OK, not every one, but still) is from Barcelona. I always wanted to see that city but something always prevents me from doing it.

Of course, now it depends on whether my sister will be OK with me leaving for Barcelona in the middle of the trip to Berlin.

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Money for Travel in Europe

Dear readers, as you know, I will be traveling in Europe the week after next. Could anybody offer any suggestions on what to do about money? My sister suggests I carry the entire sum I plan to spend in cash but that bothers me a lot. I know I’ll just lose it somewhere.

Do people still use traveler’s cheques? Or do they just use their American ATM card to withdraw money in Europe? Is that ruinously expensive? Can you pay for purchases with an American debit-credit card? Is that better than paying in cash? Or worse? Are these cards accepted everywhere?

P.S. I just reread the post’s title, and it sounds like I’m asking for money which, of course, is not the case. I only want advice.

Crosses and Condoms at WKU

One of my favorite bloggers graduated from Western Kentucky University. She is such a brilliant writer that I couldn’t help feeling a profound respect for an institution that graduates such talented people. Then I read an article she sent me about it and I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. There is weirdness going on at that place which is nothing short of scary:

During the final night of the “Cemetery of the Innocent” display put on by Hilltoppers for Life, Bowling Green senior and art student Elaina Smith decided to make a statement, one involving placing several hundred condoms on the Popsicle stick crosses. . . Around 2:30 a.m. on April 20, Smith and a non-WKU friend placed several hundred condoms on the Popsicle stick crosses set up on the Colonnade that housed the display. The crosses symbolized the graves of the more than 4,000 fetuses aborted every day.

In case it takes you as long as me to figure this out, let me help you. On a college campus (once again, a college campus, which is a crucial detail), a group of very unhealthy people who for some reason are not in a mental institution and are allowed to roam around free created a cemetery of fetuses out of Popsicle stick crosses. Then, a student placed condoms on the crosses to signal that abortions happen because people do not use condoms:

“For me, each condom represents an unwanted pregnancy that could have been prevented. The subject of abortion is an important issue, one that stirs strong and sometimes conflicting emotions. Nonetheless, the question was raised: How do we feel about abortion?”

This bunch of weirdos then engaged in an endless discussion of which one of them apologized to whom and for what action. Just read the article and you’ll see the drama unfold. The organizer of the fetus cemetery seems to have been upset by the suggestion that he touch the condoms in order to remove them, so everybody spent forever reassuring him that he won’t need to touch condoms. Or whatever. And now the entire country is busily discussing this loser’s hissy fit about the non-existent threat of touching condoms.

However, the following groups of people who were insulted by these weird events never got as much as an acknowledgement, let alone an apology:

– Christians. I’m not inviting anybody to share Christian beliefs but, surely, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to imagine how a Christian might feel seeing the cross, which symbolizes the martyrdom and death of Jesus Christ, being used to create a Popsicle fetus cemetery. I respect the freedom of speech but I have to wonder how different this is from public burnings of the Koran or public defacement of a menorah and how interested the administration of the university would be in promoting that kind of free expression on campus.

– Women. The suggestion that every unwanted pregnancy is a result of carelessness is deeply offensive. Condoms are only about 85% effective and we all know that it normally takes quite some practice to use them in a way that prevents slipping, breaking, overflowing, etc. Also, the idea that people need to “feel” something about abortions practiced by complete strangers is very bizarre. I find the whole discussion to be completely offensive and deeply intrusive into the lives and bodies of complete strangers who did not solicit this sort of a freak show on their behalf. How this cemetery is different from the actions of those fanatics who baptize Jewish people after their death in order to save them is a mystery to me.

– Students. Students pay money to come to college and learn to think. They don’t come there to be endangered by the presence of mentally ill persons who are not getting adequate care and, instead, are conducting fetus funerals.

– Professors. These are people who went to school for a huge number of years, who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, and who now have their place of work profanated by creepy installations dedicated to “innocent fetuses” (not those guilty fetuses, mind you, just the innocent ones) created by weirdos. After all of the stories about people who shot up campuses because they had not received adequate medical care on time, I’d be terrified to come to work each day. This creates an intolerable environment for people who come to campus to earn their living and not to engage in fits of hysteria.

Mind you, I’m in no way suggesting that any of the people involved in this scandal should be censored in any way. Freedom of speech is more important than pretty much anything else at stake here. However, it would be nice if the discussion of this situation mentioned how it affects others. For now, all that is getting discussed is whether a group of idiots who insulted huge groups of people should receive an apology for being insulted for that insult. Let’s now exercise our freedom of speech and tell them that they all suck. And the administration of a university whose students are so egregiously stupid that they bury “innocent fetuses” sucks the most.