Why I’m still taking the family to Berlin next week

Why I’m still taking the family to Berlin next week

After the horrific events in Berlin on Monday evening, a number of people have asked me if we are still travelling to the city next week. Without hesitation the answer is yes.

Naturally it will certainly be a little more subdued than we initially intended. But if we cancelled, it would be a clear message that these cowardly terrorists have won.

I refuse to let that happen.

Mrs L and I are both firm believers in fate. We are just as likely to come to harm at home in Yorkshire as anywhere else in the world.

Would I take the risk if I had been personally affected?

In a way we have been.

  • One of my wife’s school friends was killed in the Boxing Day Tsunami.
  • Our best friends were in Bali when the second bombing took place.
  • We were in Bangkok when the political protests started to get nasty and received constant text messages from the Foreign Office to stay indoors.
  • We’ve been in Bilbao when 100,000 people marched directly passed us demanding that ETA prisoners be moved closer to the Basque Country.
  • We travelled to the Pacific Coast of Mexico on 23rd September 2001, exactly two weeks after the atrocities in New York. Our flight was escorted down the Eastern Seaboard by fighter jets clearly visible from our window.
  • In 1992, I was mugged at knife point outside the Gare de L’Est in Paris and only saved by another rogue who took exception to someone else operating on ‘his patch.’
  • Even last year I was in Bremen when the city was put on high alert and a group of suspects were bundled into police van by heavily armed police right in front of my eyes. We were about to take a tram to the airport when the message came over the news channels to avoid public transport!

At other times, we have been away on a trip and something has happened elsewhere. We took my mother and father-in-law on their first trip abroad, to Venice in March 2004. This coincided with the Atocha Station bombings in Madrid which left almost 200 people dead.

In all of these situations things could have turned out differently and we could have been affected to a greater degree. But for that Parisian scoundrel who helped me, I wouldn’t be writing this now.

Our philosophy

We have brought up our 13 year old son to embrace travel and share our view that the interaction with other peoples and cultures should breed tolerance and respect.

We will always be cautious as we travel and not take any unnecessary risks. However we are not going to stop travelling, exploring this wonderful world and meeting the different people that inhabit it.

In March 2017 Mrs L and a friend will be visiting Nice and I’m sure they will take the opportunity to pay their respects to those whose lives were destroyed last July.

As for next week, we’ll pay our own Txiki tribute in Berlin. We’ll take some time out in remembrance of the atrocious events.

But we will visit the Christmas Markets if they are still open. I’m determined that we’ll have a damn good time.

Wishing everyone a peaceful end to 2016 and more travel in 2017.

Ich bin ein Berliner

German flag

 

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