Travel


~On Traveling~

I started out this post wanting to prove to the world that traveling isn’t as good as everyone lets on.

Image

After looking through all these pictures, I’ve completely changed my mind.  It’s worth it.  It’s totally, unequivocally  irrevocably worth it.

dover castle

Now, you might think you can get away without traveling.  Take food, for instance.  One of the troubles with Europe nowadays is that the food is almost universal, at least from my experience.  Sure, the French food in France is better than the French food in London, but I can still get French food in London at far less cost, and they speak English, or at least I don’t feel quite as dumb when they don’t.  Same thing with Italian, German, Spanish, Russian (which I’ve never actually sampled.  Anyone know what russian cuisine is like?), it’s all there.  So that’s one less reason to leave.

churhc

All of this true, but when you eat a croque madame in a cafe in Paris, looking out the clear glass window into the bustling, twisting streets, and everyone is speaking Frech, and your completely happy to munch on your meal and play at guessing what they’re actually saying, you begin to understand a little bit more about France than you otherwise would have in your neighborhood pub with a croque monsier.

Travelling can seem daunting at times, though, and it can sometimes seem a bit boring, though it is, in fact, anything but.  Things just lose their glamour after a while.

Paris

Versailles, for instance, is great.  It’s a bloody huge palace that removes any pity you may have had for Marie Antoinette or the French aristocracy, because it is nothing if not absurdly opulent.  I Mean, look at this:

versailles chapel

My God!  Or try this one on for size:

Hall of mirrors

Now you can’t tell me that if you were a french peasant who had recently lost his favorite mound of dirt to a royal tax collector, you wouldn’t be more than a little upset when you saw this place.  Makes sense, right?

But that’s not really my point.  It’s actually the opposite of my point, for as I walked through Versailles, through room after disgustingly opulent room, I began to marvel less and less at the richness of the place.  Indeed, by the end of the tour I was quite blasé about it.

“Oh, look.” I’d mutter in a monotone to Jared, “Another jewel encrusted doorway…”

“Gee,” he’d say, “Havent seen that before.”

versailles ceiling

Just imagine how boring the world must have seemed back then if you were a king.  You’d be bored with Versailles, which was probably one of the most beautiful places in the world at the time.  What else is there?

Especially when you have statues of yourself looking like apollo enshrined all over the place.

Especially when you have statues of yourself looking like apollo enshrined all over the place.

And it kind of goes that way everywhere you travel. Another beautiful lagoon (BVI’s), another ungodly huge graveyard (Ypres), another monstrous church (Rome).  You get used to it, and pretty quickly I might add.  It’s not that the things are suddenly less good because you’ve seen a bunch of them, it’s that they just begin to become part of the scenery, to the point that you never notice them, and that if a tourist were to ask you where St. Paul’s was, you’ respond with “Well, i think it’s over there.  Not really sure why you want to go to that place.  It’s just a beautiful cathedral.”

st. pauls

But if you only go to these big places, you miss some of the other things.  The things that really make the trip special.  Like this.

amelie

It’s the cafe where they filmed Amelie.  Cities like paris are full of little treasures like this, hidden away from you as you run by, sprinting from Notre Dame to the Eifel Tower, a tattered map in one hand, fifty euro clutched in the other.

thames

So what’s my point?  I don’t really know.  Sometimes, you just write about something you love simply to write about it.

horse on hill

I guess my point is this: I’d encourage anyone planning a trip to take a step back and think, really think, about what it is you want to do.  Nine times out of ten I would bet it’s not run yourself ragged seeing every single big, famous thing in the city, because when you rush through, you miss the little things, the tasty things that make traveling worth it, and make life worth living.  You miss wandering down the alleys that only locals use, and watching street performers, and rushing off before the end because you don’t have the money to pay them, or leaning against a brick wall and sipping on mulled wine in Covent Garden Market as you people watch, or simply sitting on a bench and watching the river flow on by..

I'll leave you with a caption from the best worst movie ever, "The Room"

I’ll leave you with a caption from the best worst movie ever, “The Room”

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: