It has been far too many years since Hub and I were globe trotting around Europe. The fun of travelling with a travelin' man was how he'd scope out really interesting places then when I was along he'd show them to me.
One thing that always fascinated me was how many of the cities we visited seemed to wear their seamier sides as a badge of honor. For instance, Zurich's needle park. It has long since been cleaned up, but it was a tourist attraction back then!
We have good friends that lived in the Whitechaple area of London, the home of Jack the Ripper and his exploits. Of the several pubs one could visit on the Jack the Ripper Tour, our favorite was the Alma, a wonderfully seedy place with garish murals depicting the dastardly deeds. It was a place we always had to stop for a pint and to see if they had a police patch from where ever we were currently living. Now the area has been gentrified.
And now! Imagine my dismay when I read the city of Amsterdam plans to clean up it's "red light" district! Ah, I remember it well. Especially the fact that the brothel windows opened to a huge cathedral.
Hub thought it great fun to watch me trying to take it all in while not making eye contact with the "ladies". I finally gave up and gawked with the best of them. Wow, I still remember the pasty makeup on girls still in their teens, the hip high boots and the occasional whip. Standing by a doorway smoking a joint or peering out the window in front of the bed. And there was that church! Somehow, I can't imagine upscale boutiques taking their place!
Places change, times change. But maybe there will always be an Idaho. Our mining towns seem to have a seamy side of their own they like to promote. I'm thinking I've got to get over to Wallace and visit the Oasis; you know, the Bordello Museum? Molly B'Damm! Maybe all is not lost!