Freedom to travel in testing times

I was on an enjoyable trip to Spain lately and passed through Pamplona where the San Fermín festival was in full swing.  I didn’t experience the bull run nor did I particularly want to but I experienced a few hours of Pamplona in full festive mode.   It wasn’t as rowdy or packed as I thought it would be although it felt like the whole of Spain was pouring into the city to enjoy it (it was also coming up to the weekend when people had time to travel up to it) but I kept my eye on my bag all the same and kept my wits about me.  The place is meant to be full of pickpockets during this festival.

By the way I believe a young Japanese guy got badly injured during this bull run.   I wonder how he is.    Not everyone should be doing that.    I think I feel more sorry for the bulls really.

I mention my travels in light of the events in Nice last night where people were enjoying Bastille day in Nice – people from Nice who regularly congregate on the Promenade d’Anglais, a beautiful spot overlooking the Mediterranean, and people living in or visiting Nice from other parts of France or indeed the world.

We cannot let these people inhibit our freedom to express ourselves and enjoy ourselves whether at home or abroad.   Nor to enjoy travelling.

During my trip which encompassed a few cities in Spain, I was reassured by the presence in a couple of train stations of metal detectors to detect any danger that may be present in anyone’s luggage though I had not actually given it a thought until I saw the first one. I was only travelling with carry-on luggage so anything I had in my bag was harmless anyway (as it should be bar my usual pen-knife haha).  I think they should have them in bus stations there too if they don’t already.   As we know, Spain was hit horrifically by terrorists with train bombings in Madrid back in 2004 (I can’t believe it was that long ago).   Of course these detectors are not foolproof but they are reassuring.  A minute or two to check your bags is nothing is it?   It should be brought in everywhere and should not be seen as a nuisance.  If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’re ok aren’t you?

I don’t think anyone should fear visiting France.  Again, that is what these nuts want.   France is a vast country after all with a safe, reliable and punctual transport network (if it’s running and the staff are not on strike!! haha) and something could happen to you just as easily at home.   Of course France is on high alert (the state of emergency has been extended now for another 3 months) and has been since last November but the fact that Euro 2016 and the climate change conference, to name two biggies, went off without a hitch means it can handle itself perfectly.  France’s guard was lowered slightly yesterday because of Bastille day and partly because of confidence due to the success of Euro 2016, which only wound up last Sunday.   That’s natural.  The events in Paris passed off well yesterday and others no doubt, but unfortunately not this one.  You cannot over-police places. Over-policing gives out a warning sure, but warnings can be treated with disdain and contempt as happened in Nice.

If you’re travelling keep your wits about you as you would on any holiday.   But enjoy yourself as that is what freedom should allow you to do.  And in hot countries travel with as little luggage as you can.  Who wants to be carrying around heavy backpacks or lugging suitcases around?   Especially in hot countries. I often admire travellers from Japan with their very compact set of belongings.  They have the right idea.

Oh and thank you Spain for a wonderful week!

お大事に旅行さん、お大事にニース Take care travellers, take care Nice



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