Brussels 2016. Thanks Rick Steves. As he did in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Mr Steves nails it.
This post is from his Facebook page and was written in response to a travel alert issued by the U.S State Department…
Following this week's attacks on Brussels, the US State Department issued a travel alert for Americans regarding "potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe." Does this mean we should stay home?
In a word: No. This is a travel "alert," not a "warning." The State Department reserves "warnings" for serious business: It means, essentially, "Don't go there." But an "alert" just means "Be careful." According to the State Department, "We issue a Travel Alert for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country."
Isolated terrorist events — 2004 in Madrid, 2005 in London, 2012 in Boston, 2015 in Paris — are as tragic as they are impossible to predict. With this alert, the State Department is simply confirming something we already knew: Going forward, it's possible that there will be more terrorist events in Europe (just as it's possible here in the United States).
Also, at frightening moments like this one, keep in mind that there’s an important difference between fear and risk. As the State Department recommends, while you're traveling, be vigilant. Be aware. Exercise caution. But at the same time, don't be terrorized. That’s exactly the response the terrorists are hoping for.
Brussels — and the rest of Europe — are, if anything, safer today than before yesterday's attacks. Security everywhere will be on high alert. But, unfortunately, many Americans will cancel their trips to Europe. As a result, ironically, they’ll be staying home in a country that loses dozens of people each day to gun violence.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Brussels, the victims, and their loved ones. As for me, I'm flying to Lisbon in ten days. And later this summer, I'm booked to fly out of the same Brussels airport that today is a shrine of grief and tragic bloodshed. Am I allowing myself to be terrorized by the terrorists? Hell no. It all comes back to my firmly held belief that the best way for Americans to fight terrorism is to keep on traveling.
Rick Steves' Facebook page is HERE.
DC Editor Adam adds… The pics on this post were taken on my recent family trip to Belgium and we'll be heading back to that great country at the first opportunity. I'm looking forward to welcoming my friend Olivier Verhelst to London next week with his group of students from Bruges. They'll be joining me on their annual London Walks tour.
I'll be blogging about Brussels next Friday in my regular Rock'n'Roll London slot. Brussels is one of the best cities in Europe for record stores (the pic above is from the wonderful Collector Gallery, my fave) and I'll be giving tips and directions. As Mr Steves so says: Keep on travelling.
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.