My Trip to Europe

Susan and I had the opportunity to go on a river cruise down the Rhine River, touching The Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland.

I thought you might be interested in the Covid situation and the mood of Europe.

First, our river cruise line company required that ALL passengers and crew be vaccinated. We had to send proof almost a month before embarking. Also, on board, there was a daily saliva test. Before flying into the Netherlands, we had to submit to the airlines a covid questionnaire, but we were not required to show test results or vaccination proof to enter the country. However, we were required to show a negative test before re-entering the U.S.

I have to give lots of kudos to the airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and other businesses that constantly bent over backwards to comply with changing COVID rules, often different from week to week and country to country. And all the while their presenting a pleasant smile in the face of many impatient travelers.

Once in Europe, we saw several similarities to what we are experiencing here. People were eager to get out and live again, but they knew care was required, especially with Delta. Most were vaccinated but many still did not trust the vaccine. One cab driver, still unvaccinated, told us that he had seen on the internet that getting the vaccine was more dangerous than the risk of Covid. I had the impression that many there still believed this.

Ours was the first cruise this river boat and its crew had done in 18 months. They and the local city guides were so excited to see tourists again that many became emotional in their conveyance of relief and happiness. One female local guide at the Dutch windmills swelled up in tears as we started the tour.

In general, Europe has a more laid-back frame of mind than our often-kinetic state here in the U.S., lending to perhaps a more relaxed environment but probably less stimulating for business growth. One is impressed by the people in Europe, but I often wonder what we have here that they don’t, which allowed us to invent things like Amazon, Google, Uber, the Iphone, and Tesla—and they didn’t. Interestingly, I saw a remarkable number of Teslas in Amsterdam. In Germany, my observational informal survey found 90% of the cars on the road there were—you guessed it—German.

By the way, we are also going on a very short ocean cruise out of Florida in September on Royal Caribbean to celebrate a dear friend’s milestone birthday. The cruise line has already politely asked if we are vaccinated, but have not indicated that we are required to be, but, oh—by the way—have also politely indicated that the Bahamas, our only stop, does require vaccinations. And, in addition to not enjoying the Bahamas, the unvaccinated may not be permitted to enjoy certain restaurants and lounges on the ship. We get the message.

FYI, the medical reporting agency Healthline reported last week: “The rate of hospitalization among fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 was effectively zero in recent weeks in California, Delaware, DC, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and Virginia. Over 95 percent of those hospitalized in Alaska and 99.93% in New Jersey were not yet fully vaccinated either.” I’m still waiting for the report on Florida. Oh boy.

John D