It feels different now than it did on my first journey to discover my parents’ trail through Europe, which they made right after World War Two. That trip of mine was two and one-half years ago, on the heels of my mother’s death.
Today, here in Brussels, I passed again so many of the places where my Mom and Dad once were. I saw them in my mind in their leather coats, wheeling their bikes, hollering over shoulders to each other. The power of their stories from that trip still influence me—and guide the narrative of this book—but something new has happened in the intervening years, and it is that which I intend to chart during this current trip across the Continent, along with a million impressions about Germany and the long arm of Hitler.
I’ll travel from Brussels through the Netherlands, on to France, then into Germany, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and finally Italy—with a lot of criss-crossing back-and-forth going on along the way.
Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing photos here, and my continuing understanding of the power of family stories and how they shape our lives.
Here are some random images gathered today as I wandered through a surprisingly dry and warm Brussels, Belgium. The first three are from the Belgian garden of a dear friend who I have stayed with at the start of this journey. She was once a student of mine, a visiting student from Finland at Augustana College in Illinois, where I ran the Journalism Program. This remarkable young woman went on to become a foreign correspondent for Finnish television, and an expert in EU matters. You see her here at play with Bruno.