Remember Travel?

Who has itchy feet at the moment? No, I don’t mean that you have some weird foot related rash, rather that you want to travel somewhere, even if it’s just within driving distance. One of the things I’ve found myself doing is lots of reminiscing about places we’ve travelled to and remembering all the adventures we’ve had. Do you ever look at your photos and just smile? Pictures really do say a thousand words and I would encourage you to go travelling through your pictures whilst we’re confined to our homes. I thought I’d share a few of ours with you. At first glance the below photo is of a miserable day in Warwick which I took from the castle as we were exploring it. Now, 23 years later this photo just makes me laugh, as it reminds me that when we left the castle it took us an hour and a half to find where the car was parked. Yes, you read that right, one hour and thirty minutes of walking the streets of Warwick where we went round and round in circles as it got darker and darker. Everytime we visited Warwick after this we always parked in the high rise carpark so that we had no risk of losing the car again.
Do you ever look back at your old holiday photos or do they just sit on a memory stick or your computer gathering virtual dust? This picture of Ken drinking out of a bowl in a nondescript room brings back the sights, sounds, and smells of Hong Kong, where we had a two night stopover on the way to Australia. It also reminds me that Ken was proper poorly with man flu to the point that he agreed to try some influenza tea at a local shop – it looked disgusting, and I think it tasted pretty bad as well. What makes this photo more amusing is that my beloved normally won’t touch anything off street stalls and is a little bit fussy, yet here he is drinking what could only be described as dirty drain water.

Some experiences are impossible to forget but a photo could never capture what it was like at the time. Glastonbury Tor rises 158 metres above the surrounding countryside and some believe that it is the legendary isle of Avalon, where King Arthur was taken to heal from his wounds. Monks in the 12th century also claimed to have found King Arthur and Guinevere’s bodies in the grounds of the abbey, but the remains were lost during the reformation of the 1500’s. Because of all the myth and legend surrounding the town it has become a centre for the mystical, new age, and for people on a spiritual pilgrimage. Ken’s not the biggest fan but I love it there. It’s great for people watching as there are some very interesting people around the streets, and there are lots of quirky little shops that I love looking through.

When I look at this photo it reminds me of both our visits to the top of the Tor. The first time it was a really windy day and at the top was a man, holding a flute in the air, trying to get the wind to play the flute. The second time there was a man walking around the ruins of St Michael’s Church repeatedly. Round and round, and not in a meditative way, more in a charging through life way. One of the things we love to do on holiday is find the restaurants or cafes that the locals eat in, not the ones that are full of tourists. The best of these we’ve ever tried was in Turkey – we found a little restaurant with not a single foreigner in. When we walked in everyone looked at us, and then the owner, Fatima, came to us and dragged us through to the kitchen so that we could choose the fish we wanted to eat, and a couple of other things, and then we ended up with enough food to feed more than just us. While we ate, Fatima came and stood at the end of the table, watching and making sure we were enjoying it, and then when we finished she asked if she could sit with us. With our arabic and her english we managed to have a great conversation. Fatima insisted on putting a head scarf on me, and she gave me some Turkish bracelets with the evil eye protective amulet, so I gave her some of the bracelets I was wearing. It was a really lovely evening, with great food and great company whilst learning more about the local culture.

Photos are magical in the amount of emotion they can hold in such a small picture. If we’re lucky, when we look at them the emotion comes back and reminds us of a wonderful holiday or experience.

This is a photo of me, just after I had my first glimpse of Dubrovnik which is in the background. I had just been crying so that’s why my face is a bit scrinchy. I was crying because I couldn’t believe I was there. I’d wanted to visit Dubrovnik since I was a teenager, and I remember crying when the city was under seige in 1991, during the war for Croatian independance. I wonder how this pandemic we’re living through will change the way we travel in the future and how it will impact what we do when we’re exploring the world. One experience that I fear will no longer be the same is the kissing of the Blarney Stone in Ireland. This is a stone at the top of the castle in the town of Blarney that legend says will give you the gift of the gab if you kiss it upside down. This is me about to kiss the Blarney stone in 1997 when I traveled to Ireland with my American friend Russell, who thought kissing the stone was incredibly unhygienic. Maybe they’ll develop mouth guards or something, as it feels really sad to think that this will disappear with the new ways of the world.

Whatever the future looks like for all of us I hope that you are healthy and that you have moments of happiness with the people you love, and if that includes travelling, I really hope it’s memorable. I thought I’d finish with two photos taken in Budapest which show Ken and I doing what we tend to do wherever we are in the world. I’m communing with a local cat and Ken’s enjoying a vintage car – we repeat versions of these photos on every holiday we have.
Stay safe.

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