Know why I look young in this picture? Because I was.

In the spring of 1986, my college roommate Kim and I boarded a ferry from England, where we were both spending our junior years, and headed for the continent. We had rail passes, a copy of LET’S GO: EUROPE, some travelers checks, a few clothes, and . . . that was pretty much it. We didn’t bother plotting out an itinerary because that would have been, like, unspontaneous. And also, it would have required effort.

Kim enjoying Belgian chocolate. Photo used without permission. But she won't mind.

First stop: Bruges, Belgium. Two thumbs up!!! Next stop: Luxembourg. Two thumbs down. And then came Strasbourg, France. When we came out of the station, it was raining. A hobo accosted us, and we quickened our pace. We found a payphone and inserted the required number of francs. (Yes, this was olden times.) I dialed the number for a pension recommended by LET’S GO, all set to launch into my stilted French, but the number was disconnected.

That did it. Strasbourg was out! We headed back to the train station and jumped on a train just departing for Munich (which, as it turned out, was due to arrive at midnight, so we kept going to Vienna).

Our Strasbourg apartment building.

Fast forward to now. My husband, son, and I have been given the opportunity to spend a year in, yes, Strasbourg. If I’d had Google image search back in the eighties, I would have braved the rain and the hobo and pushed forward to what appears to be a kind of fairytale city.

We fly out in two weeks. It still seems a little unreal. But my son is enrolled in school and we’ve got an apartment waiting for us with our names on the mailbox, so I guess it’s really happening.

Stay tuned for details. I, for one, can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say.