Monday, May 5, 2014

About the alchemy of traveling

Nowadays my trips are more guided by certain impulses which make me interested in that one certain place. The latest trip to Gdansk was a random trip, but Florence for example was something where I wanted to go since a long time.

When I am traveling I am a mixture of a well-organized control freak and a very spontaneous adventurous explorer, and funnily these attributes become stronger, or fade away during different phases of the trip. When I am booking the flight tickets I am still well-organized (mostly haha), and it also lasts while I am starting to write my what to see lists. But as the journey starts the random factor grows and grows, and mostly by the time I arrive, I already encountered several funny little obstacles which spice up my intended plan.
For example in Florence you could pay only with coins -and the exact price- for the airport bus, and everyone was running back and forth between the bus and the airport cafĂ© until we somehow put the euro coins together that way that everyone could get on the bus. The best was that we did not know each other with the others, we just shared the same collective struggle.

An other word what comes to my mind when I think about traveling is collective amazement.  From Ghiberti`s Gates of Paradise, the Duomo, and the Babtistero I always remember not only the actual place, or piece of art, but also the strangers around me who we looked at each other with the amazement for what we saw in our eyes.

Traveling is also imagination. You step to a room in Galileo Museum, and see the tools what Galileo himself was using. Isn`t it amazing to think about that the pen on the other side of the glass belonged to a genious and by looking at it you are connected to him from many hundred centuries ago through your imagination?

A journey also reflects who you are now. How interesting a trip will be does not depend on the amount of money we spend on a trip, may be not even on the location itself. Even a trip to the next street can be adventurous if you have the attitude, because traveling, at least for me now, is this exciting puzzle of the known and the unknown, the expected and the unexpected which is a bit like magic. You add and add new things to a trip as you accumulate memories during your stay, and when you return everything gets together in you in form a of a certain feeling what the memories recall whenever you think of that place again.

Before I went to Florence I met a man on the metro who helped to carry my luggage. He was already retired, but he used to work also in Italy. When I told him that I will go to Florence in two days he was looking at me with a smile and told me the following "Good, you should travel as much as you can. Because at the end you will realize also how I do now, that it is only the memories of these trips what stay with us. All the rest, the money, and the material things are just something essential, but not something you will remember."

Well, my next trip will be to Oslo where my Nr1 goal is to visit the Viking Ship Museum and see the Viking ship which is more than 800 years old, and was found on the bottom of a fjord in a completely well-preserved condition. Thanks to my brother I became a big fan of BBC History`s The Vikings. I have studied already about their civilization, and the raids to Europe and America, but this series just made me very interested in this civilization again, and so it is time to explore our beautiful neighbouring country Norway a bit which is one of the places where you can find historical evidence, and simply see the landscape where those people used to live.

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