Thursday 25 August 2022

Not high about being dry

With classic timing, I've just filed a commissioned story about river cruising in Europe, describing what I've called the Favourite Four - Rhine, Rhône, Danube and Seine - which (such a coincidence!) are the only ones I've experienced. And what is in the news now? Europe's dried-up rivers, exposing all sorts of treasures, and horrors.

Not just Europe, of course - China's drought means even the Yangtze is shrivelling up, and there are similar problems everywhere up top, including North America (while we down here are getting record-breaking rain) - but it's the Rhine and Danube especially that are making news. Mostly, of course, because of the unexploded WW2 bombs being found, and wrecks of German warships. How startling must that be, if you find you've been living right next to stuff like that? Well, startling to consider from here, that is - I guess it's a fact of life for Europeans, and will be too for Ukrainians now, for generations into the future.

But there have been interesting discoveries too - buildings, shrines, ancient stone structures. Perhaps we could take a shred of comfort - because it's clearly happened before - from these carvings on a 'hunger stone' exposed in the Elbe, in the Czech Republic. They read "If you see me, cry."

For sure. They'll certainly be doing that at the HQ of Avalon, Uniworld, Viking et al, as they frantically book coaches to provide outings for their stranded passengers guests.

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