adanubeWe had an hour to kill before the flight back.  It was hot, very hot – about 35°; not the best of weather for lengthy city walks. I went into a toyshop, hoping to get a local momento for the kids, but the toys were exactly the same ones I could have found back in Brussels or in London. That reminded me of another experience back in Lisbon in 1987. It was such a distinctive place then in terms of the shops and the produce and merchandise they sold, or so I thought. One day we took a ferry across the Tagus and sipped white wine on a terrace looking back across the river to the city as the sun set, and it was then that we saw outside a small supermarket the unmistakeable logo of the (Belgian) Delhaize supermarket chain. This, alas, is the inevitable downside of having an internal market. Of course, there is still room for local markets and produce but, nevertheless, simple economies of scale militate in favour of a degree of cultural harmonisation… The flight back was a privilege and a joy. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and I looked down on the spectacular site of the silvery Danube, slithering across Hungary like a massive silver snake. Later, I gazed down on Lake Balaton, looking for all the world like a highly polished tray. It was simply magnificent.