My life has been a little surreal lately, if I stop to think about it. In the past six months, I’ve been in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Duomo in Milan, Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame and more than a few other cathedrals and churches. I’ve been to the Louvre, the British Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the National Museums in both Athens and Cairo and the Vatican Museums, not to mention the van Abbe Museum of modern art here in Eindhoven, the Rodin Museum, the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, the Lace Museum in Bruge, and I don’t know how many others. I’ve taken an elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Euromast in Rotterdam, and climbed steps up to the belfry in Bruges, the Dom tower in Utrecht, the bell tower of St. Peter’s in Rome, and the incredible roof of the Duomo. I’ve been to historic sites ranging from the Anne Frank Huis to Pompeii to the Colusseum to the Pyramids to the Tower of London. I’ve seen the Sphinx and the zero meridian line at Greenwich and the crown jewels of two modern countries and of a host of ancient rulers.

Along the way, I’ve traveled on airplane, bus, train, tram, every size boat from a single rowing shell to a cruise ship, and bicycle. I’ve hosted visitors for a cumulative time of nearly six weeks. I’ve rowed in two new countries and competed and won a medal in one of them. I’ve completed three pair of socks, a hat, a scarf, most of a sweater, some of a shawl, and a third of a baby blanket. I’ve stood in line for hours, all together. I’ve spoken or attempted to speak four different languages, only two of which (English and Dutch) I’ve ever actually studied.

On the downside of all that, I hink I’m catching Rudder’s cold, which would make the third time in a year I’ve been ill (two very minor, though). And no wonder I’m just a little tired.