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”

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36 Comments

  1. I do get it. People come here once in a lifetime, and are constatnly in awe. I live here so it’s my daily routine. In U.S. people travel less than in Europe…too big to move about on public transport, and an ocean away from anything. And, how long can one stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite, or muck about the Everglades?
    On my Wayy…

    Reply
  2. I think the average mucking time in the everglades is < 30 minutes. It often seems like a good idea, but never lasts long.

    Reply
  3. These pictures are totally awesome..and I loved this post. I don’t think you met your goal in discouraging travel through Europe..not with these pics! I just wonder who has to dust all those chandeliers?

    Reply
  4. I’d love to spend more time traveling Europe – much harder from without (I’m in the U.S.) than from within, where all those neat little bargain inter-europe flights exist! Lovely pictures.

    Also, The Room, oh god. So deliciously awful.

    Reply
  5. It’s odd but I seldom see the big touristy things when I go somewhere. I love spending time with the locals to see what their lives are really like and where they like to go and what they like to do. It must come from growing up in a tourist town. Although, I have never tired of spending time in front of our main attractions. Niagara Falls. It never ceases to amaze me.
    Hmmm, I guess I have mixed signals as well.

    Reply
    • Yeah. There’s some things that will always be good, like sitting by the Thames in view of Parliment, though not when it’s cold of course

      Reply
  6. lisabrock

     /  March 7, 2013

    Very, very good. And too true!

    Reply
  7. wildhorse33

     /  March 7, 2013

    Beautiful imagery and it is true – whirlwind through to see the things most talked about and miss those things that are mentioned less or missed. Good post!

    Reply
  8. I may be going to Barcelona this summer and this post goes straight to my desire to see some of the big stuff but not to miss out on some of the “small” stuff. However, for me, seeing La Pieta, the Coliseum, the Pompidou, the Sydney Opera in person FAR outweighs looking at them in pictures. The same could be said for seeing art and hearing music in person…there’s something magical that happens. So TRAVEL if you can…

    Reply
  9. I haven’t done much traveling at all, but I do know that if I did I would absolutely love it! The pictures are great, and I’m glad you’ve changed your mind.
    Thanks for coming by and following my blog, hope to see more of you! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Fantastic pictures! Reminds me that I need to get out there soon.

    Reply
  11. msmontijo

     /  March 9, 2013

    Awesome pictures and I love to travel, even bad traaveling is good traveling and quite worth the experiences, especially if one loves to write.

    Reply
    • It’s true. It’s amazing the feelings that com up when you look through your photos, even if you just took them a month ago.

      Reply
  12. Hi! It’s a nice blog you have here.
    As a Finn, I am quite familiar with the cuisine of our beloved neighbour. Apparently Russians can’t get enough of beets, sour cream and pickles. They adore soups and like to turn sweet food into savoury. It’s definitely not for everyone, but do try it.
    Oh, right, came here to thank you for the like. Almost forgot..

    Cabbage. Russians love cabbage. I am sure you got the point already. I’ll try to stop.

    Reply
  13. Thanks so much! I’ve always wondered. Thanks for stoppin by.

    Reply
  14. rhd12

     /  March 9, 2013

    Great article. For me, you really nailed the point of travelling. Anyway, must dash, places to see…

    Reply
  15. Great photos. Away traveling this summer, anywhere you’d recommend?

    Reply
  16. unclerave

     /  March 9, 2013

    Awesome, my brotha! — YUR

    Reply
  17. swamifred

     /  March 11, 2013

    Great pictures and great descriptions of the places you went! I agree that many of the big, ridiculously decadent places you visit can make you numb to the decadence. But all the same, it gives such important context to the history of the world. Like you were mentioning, when you study the French Revolution in a book, it might not click with you why people got so upset. I’ve never been to Versailles, but one look at your pictures and I get the reasoning behind it now.

    I was born and raised in the U.S. midwest (South Dakota), but my family instilled in me a lust for travel. I have traveled, and there are so many wonderful people and places in the world. Travel shrinks the world. The news on TV becomes personal. It’s not a vague ‘other place’ out there. It’s someone’s home. Someone else lives there, and travel lets you make those connections.

    Great post. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • These are all great points. I was actually born in Oklahoma, but grew up in south florida, so i guess I’m half a fellow mid westerner. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  18. Great post. I’d rather spend the morning sitting on the steps of a cathedral breathing in the magnificent architecture and watching the people to-ing and fro-ing than rush about the city seeing a dozen sites I’m not going to remember

    Reply
  19. As an army brat, I’ve moved around a lot, and my parents and brothers and sisters were pretty much ‘every city is like the other’. Even when we visited Mexico, they weren’t that excited, and as someone who really wants to go to Japan, they don’t think it’ll be all that. I was the one at field trips to want to say longer at museums and such. I think traveling is in someone’s blood (though, evidently, not genetic). In any case, visiting and talking in a new place is something that always gets me excited. How lovely it would be to travel the unknown!

    Reply
  20. I just nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award, because I enjoy your posts. For details, click on this link:

    http://annkoplow.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/day-70-questions-and-answers-and-the-liebster-blog-award/

    I hope that’s okay! No matter what, I’m grateful for your posts.

    Reply
  21. This. This is pretty much how I feel about travel, that thing which I cannot afford to do very often.
    Landmarks and famous buildings are nice and all, but I’d rather go where the residents go, and meet the real soul of the location.

    Reply
  22. I know what you mean. I spent two months as a student in Florence and later in Dresden. The great part is where you go to the supermarket, the hairdresser’s, the warehouse… when it’s fine to just sit around. Because you’re no longer a tourist. You live there, albeit temporarily.

    Reply
  23. Reblogged this on Versatile Blogger Award and commented:
    Let’s travel!

    Reply
  24. I couldn’t agree more with your point to go “wandering down the alleys that only locals use”. You do get to see a city from a different perspective – although a few of the times I have done that I’ve ended up in a ‘red light’ area…

    Reply
  25. Thank you for liking “New WordPress Dashboard Design.” I enjoyed reading your post about travel. I did some traveling as a child, but now I am an armchair tourist. Keep up the good work on your blog! 🙂

    Reply

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