One thing I love about travel is how I start to notice everything around me once I’m in an unfamiliar place. From the stones under my feet and smells in the air to the waste bins and man-hole covers. It’s all new and worthy of at least a glance.
A few weeks ago I was standing in a lush-green park looking up at an ancient city wall in old-town Krakow. I stood to the side watching the morning bustle of students with oversized portfolios, market vendors pushing carts as they yelled greetings to each other, and senior citizens walking their dogs. They pass through this massive gate made of stone every day.
I wonder how many things in my hometown I pass by without noticing? After 10 years, I’m sure almost everything in my daily routine is invisible. I looked sideways and a trash can caught my eye: bright blue and spray painted with a delicate, neon-green dragonfly; A charming bit of vandalism.
It’s the little things I love about travel. Sure, the gold-laden cathedrals and exotic dishes are nothing to sneeze at, but the reawakening of my ability to notice and respond, to feel, to forget to or to be too overwhelmed to turn off my senses. That’s better than any stamp in my passport.
A few more photos after the jump. Expect more travel images from other places along my path, soon!
Traveling is one of my favorite ways to find new perspective so I was pretty dang happy when the SigO and I managed to hit the road for a bit of travel-by-the-seat-of-our-pants a week ago. It was nice to have the wind in my hair and new views out the window. We drove through Virginia and a bit of West Virginia and made it home inspired and ready to dig in. Here are a few pictures from our adventure. Continue reading “Road trip inspiration”
This time last year I was immersed in planning a trip to Europe to visit Spain and Eastern Europe with a stop-off in Venice. Part of my nerd-girl research included late-night cramming sessions with movies set it the places we planned to visit. That’s how I found Bread & Tulips / Pane e tulipani, an Italian movie set in Venice who’s characters are “strange and wonderful, romantic and quirky, and above all, lovable (to steal a line from Ebert’s perfect summary of the movie).” I watched it three times in two days, though I could hardly afford to spend my time so recklessly, what with “the big trip” to plan and all. When we finally made it to Venice that spring, I was emotional drained and not sure what to expect but I fell in love. The city was everything promised and more. Wandering the maze of cobblestone streets and canals in the moonlight was dreamy and wonderful.
Cut to 2011. I’ve been feeling a bit restless and wistful. This time last year I was plotting our attack on the Spanish hill town of Ronda and trying to make educated guesses about the best way to get from Zagreb to Dubrovnik with public transportation. This year I’m sitting at the computer trying hard to illustrate the concepts of moisture management and odor control in a unique way. I find myself staring off into middle space contemplating grocery budgets and lawn care. Not the same thing.
Time to retreat into the world of make-believe. When I realized Netflix is currently streaming Bread and Tulips online, I was ecstatic. I’ve already watched it twice in the past week and as I write this I’m plotting ways to squeeze another viewing into my busy schedule. I’m enjoying every minute of it. Memories of visiting Venice and strolling through the skinny, damp streets at twilight add delightful richness to the already perfect movie. Watching now, I remember last year’s anticipation – eagerly soaking up the big-screen version of the city before I’d been there in real-life. I see Rosalba playing her red accordion and can’t help but smile. Sure, it’s nothing like the real thing, but it’s a wonderful story set in a beautiful place and that alone makes me very, very happy.