|Fountain in Paris|
These extended trips are milestone events. They're pilgrimages. They have for me as much significance as did marrying, or leaving my hometown for the city.
Travel is life distilled. Every day brings new discoveries, new and diverse challenges, human interactions by the score.
Thirty-nine days on the road. Seems like a year.
So, while the memory is fresh...
Lisbon and Brussells
|Praça do Comércio, Lisboa|
Most people in Brussels speak French in their day-to-day lives. But nearly everyone can also converse in English and often German, Dutch or even Spanish as well. In Lisbon, people speak Portuguese which grants a level of comprehension of Spanish (and vice-versa). English-only speakers will have no trouble in Lisbon, though; there are many English-speakers --especially in service industries.
|St. Gilles region of Brussels at dusk|
|Near Flam, Norway, back in '99|
Another progression in modern-day travel is the smart phone. My iPhone served as camera, map, translator, reservation-maker, and communication device. Keep in mind, I accomplished all these things without telephone service. The ubiquity of wifi service (available at restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, convenience stores, Airbnb rentals, train stations, and on and on) makes telephone service all but unnecessary. (I wonder if that doesn't make phone company executives at all nervous...)
I never got lost on this trip. At times, I had trouble finding what I was looking for, but I never lost track of where I was. Thank you Google Maps! Maty and I kept in touch via video calls every day. Thank you IMO!
Gramercy to my hosts
|Water trough in Nans sous Ste. Anne|
|Utrecht at dusk|
What was it like?
|On the road in France|
What day of the week is it? How many days should I reserve for Barcelona? How long will it take me to get from my room to the train station? How many days until I need to do laundry? Where are my Eurrail Pass and passport? Where is the key to my room? Questions like these plagued me throughout the journey.
I saw many sights. The moments come frequently and fast. The onslaught can be overwhelming.
So why do it? Why go through it?
Obvious, of course. So obvious it's almost cliché. JRR Tolkien wrote a delightful allegory about it called The Hobbit or There and Back Again.
But here's my stab at it: Travel expands the horizon of one's mind. Travel adds texture to life. Travel makes you a better person. It teaches self-reliance. It strengthens skills: communication, organization, the ability to deal with stress.
Travel teaches things that can never be adequately expressed.
Travel is drinking deeply of the heady wine of being human. In this world. At this time.
Thirty-nine days later, October 1, the day Maty and I left Portland is a long time gone.
Close now, with some pics...
|Breakfast with Maty at a Mexican place in Staten Island|
|Mastodon skeleton, American Museum of Natural History, Manhattan|
|Sunset on the Hudson River|
|Feeling gnarly in Lisbon|
|Neighborhood folks in Lisbon|
|Sikhs in Lisbon|
|Turret in Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal|
|Breakfast in Madrid|
|Catedrál Almudena in Madrid|
|Agujas de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona|
|Arco de Triunfo, Barcelona|
|Parque Güell, Barcelona|
|Korean sailors on Las Ramblas, Barcelona|
|Saints outside the Catedrál de Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter|
|Glass-eyed busker in Barcelona|
|Turkish restaurant on Las Ramblas|
|Tim demonstrates the function of a vomitorium at the Roman museum in Lyons|
|Roman mosaic in Lyons|
|Susan and Tim, at home in Nans sous Ste. Anne|
|Stopped for a time in Franche Comté|
|Memorial to the fallen from the two world wars, Nans sous Ste. Anne|
|Fountain in Besaçon|
|Bad guys over the entrance of Notre Dame, Paris|
|Good guys, same|
|David and Goliath in the Louvre, in Paris|
|Macabre artwork in the Paris Catacombs|
|Adam and Eve according to Dalí|
|Medieval stained glass at the Musée Cluny, Paris|
|Cold morning on the Rue de Picpus, Paris|
|Playful turtles at the Paris acquarium|
|Color, in Luxembourg...|
|...and graffiti, in Luxembourg|
|German anti-tank position, diorama from the National Museum of Military History, Diekirch, Luxembourg|
|St. Gilles region, Brussels|
|Goose above the guildhouse door, in La Grande Place, Brussels|
|Stained glass, Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, Brussels|
|Calee in his kitchen|
|Street scene, Utrecht|
|O'Hare International, ready to be home|