Nightmare Over Bats, Bees, And Stairs:

We are not turning life into a nightmare over bats and bees. You are by not taking simple precautions. It is ordinary and typical here to put up screens. It is NOT normal NOT to have screens. Europe is behind the times putting up with pests that have been banished here. Obviously you don’t want bats, bees, hornets, or flies in your house if you can easily prevent it. Besides, you are starting to get mosquitoes back in Britain again. Did you know that? You drained the fens in Elizabethan times, but they are starting to come back. This is especially true in the south of England. You don’t want to get bitten by mosquitoes, do you? Screens also by the way help to keep thieves out, human thieves.

And some of those European stairs, by the way, are dangerous. Rick Steves, the travel guide and travel writers, takes tours to Europe every year. He warns the American tourists to watch out for the stairs which are not at all typical of stairs in the US. Last year a lady on one of his tours was injured by falling down the stairs in Europe.

I should send you photos of stairs in the US. You would immediately perceive the difference. Of course Tucson is such that most houses are ranches on a single level and so are most shopping centers. You rarely use stairs at all here. Besides, a second story would be bad for air-conditioning because warm air rises and cold air falls.

But traveling to Europe was a study in stairs starting with the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. We walked up three flights of 12 stairs each or 36 stairs to access the ship’s boarding ramp. Most people were waiting in line for the escalator so we took the short cut and had the stairs to ourselves. We boarded the ship on deck 3. Our cabin was on deck 4. We had to go to deck 7 almost right away for lunch. Then later in the afternoon we had to return to deck 7 for lifeboat drill. Dinner was back on deck 3, and so it went for the rest of the voyage to Europe.

But as soon as we got to Germany the “stair trial” began at once. The first hotel we looked at we rejected solely on the basis of the stairs. They looked horrendous. We instead checked into the Best Western in Oldenburg which had stairs that were OK. In fact, we were to return to this hotel again on the return trip to the cruise terminal in Hamburg. The best turned out to be the Hotel du Lac in Genval which had rooms believe it or not on the ground level. That was certainly much safer.

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