Old Europe - glorious or just mouldy
Old Europe - glorious or just mouldy
As the Netherlands is strategically located in the heart of Europe, the country deserves a nomination as the perfect home base when travelling to other European cities, villages and islands.
And because of this, I delight.
I delight in the idea that I can explore another country with just a car.
I delight in the idea that the rest of Europe is just one to three hours away by plane.
I delight in the idea that I can experience another culture so easily and so nearby.
I delight in the idea that I can travel back through time and history when visiting these places.
I delight in the idea that I can always have a weekend escape somewhere in Europe without costing me an arm and a leg.
I delight in the idea that the Europeans themselves are very passionate about travelling, hence the wide array of attractive holiday packages available at my fingertips, the cut-throat competition that helps bring down the prices, and the scores of last-minute offerings that is now flooding my computer screen!
Ah, I just delight in travelling.
Itchy mole feet
One of the superstitions we have back home is, if you have a mole under the sole of your feet, that means you will be going places. Well, I have a mole in one of the soles of my feet, but I don’t think it’s this mole that will bring me to places.
Because of my art and design educational background, I am constantly hankering to explore the old Europe. I’ve sat down to endless lectures on the popularity of frescoes during the medieval period, and talks on the differences between a Doric, an Ionian and a Corinthian order...
Simply put, old Europe has punctured through my cranium --- I just have to see the old glory myself!
I had a discussion at home one time about this travel passion. Life is different being partnered. I just can't make travel schedules all by myself. And even though I have my own freedom within the relationship, I must exercise diplomatic relations.
Like me, the Dutchman loves to travel too. However, he raised a request. A radical request in fact, which to me looks more like a warning than a request: not include him in my European cities and villages (excluding islands of course) trips.
He openly admitted that being a European himself, he has had enough of Europe. He believed that at the delicate age of ten, he has already seen every nook and cranny of this continent. He grew up visiting architectural ruins, churches and cemeteries, basking in the diversity of different cultures, and being forced fed with history. That's what you get when you have culture and history enthusiast parents.
The quirk of fate is this --- he is partnered to someone, who shares precisely, the same pursuit of interests as his parents. And the Catch 22 is I haven't been to all the places he has been.
"Please, please, have mercy on me... ", begs the Dutchman. "I have already been culturally wrecked as a child, so don't bring me to these places!"
"Alright, I am going alone!"
Ever since then, I have always been on my own during my European adventures.
There is so much to explore and so much to experience, but, so little time. On the contrary, with the Netherlands centrally situated in Europe, and with all the price war going on in the travel industry, it makes travelling rather easy and quite reasonable.
I am heading off this week to a long and early weekend of pure travel enjoyment: cultural enrichment, searching for some historical finds, watching the splendour of ancient architectures and capturing them into photos, and spending some quality solitude time with nature.
10 August 2006
Reprinted with permission from Pinay's full blog.
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