River Ride

July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Over the last 2 weeks, my wife, daughter, and I were on a river cruise on the Danube River. The Danube flows along 10 countries from Germany to the Black Sea. We flew into Prague, Czech Republic – a gorgeous old city. Next morning, we were transferred to Nuremberg, Germany where our river ride began. We would cruise and stop in a number of ancient cities, including Passau in Germany, Melk and Vienna in Austria, and ending in Budapest, Hungary.

The boat had about 150 passengers, including 24 that were the Backroads biking group, including us. We bicycled along beautiful (mostly flat) bike paths along the river. One day, we rode 30 miles, two other days – 20 miles, and three other days – 10 or 15 miles. We saw a lot, ate a lot, rode a lot, and drank quite a lot of famous European wine. Favorite cities were Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Budapest gets first prize. It’s so beautiful at night.

Here are some of my observations.

We biked past fields of corn in Germany that had been destroyed by hail – all the leaves stripped off. Some fields had been blown down by strong winds. There were signs of drought in other places with the corn leaves all curled up. Even when we flew home and spent one night in France, the drought was obviously hurting their crops. Not to leave the impression that all fields were suffering, our bike paths took us through some outstanding fields of wheat, corn, sunflowers, apple trees, and grapes.

We had a chance to meet and talk to many individuals from countries all over Europe – Bulgaria, Netherlands, of course -- Germany, Austria, Hungary, and many more.

One hot issue while we were there was the question about whether the EU countries should step up and bail out Greece. There was no sympathy for Greece – “Why should we give our money to Greece? You made your bed. Now go lie in it.” In the end, the EU did agree to help Greece, but it’s tough love.

Another big issue was being debated in Vienna when we were docked there. That was the nuclear agreement with Iran. Europeans that I talked to wanted that agreement passed and done. No more embargoes. Their logic was this. If we can keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon for 15 years, we’ll see what happens. What other alternative do we have? We’re not going to bomb them.

The U.N. Security Council came to the same conclusion. I’m inclined to agree. Maybe in time, Iran can become a more responsible member of the world family of nations.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on- line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.