Monday, May 9, 2011
Just About to Go
Glad you could make it. I thought we'd almost have to leave without you!
The tickets are booked for a 2:52pm departure on May the 12th. I have spent the last few hours working in preparation for this deadline: photocopying my passport, showing off my bedroom to a potential sub-letter, trying to get my antiquated printer to connect to any computer in the house for a single sheet of an airline receipt. With this done, I can relax. Europe unrolls like the sea monster's spots on ancient maps. I have heard accounts of wonder and of danger, too. In the end, this will be nothing more than one account among many. Another sentimental journey through France and Italy (to borrow the title from a book by Laurence Sterne, which I haven't read). Maybe all such accounts are flawed, unable to grasp what is truly sublime, those things that make a European experience valuable in the first place. Otto Von Bismarck said, "Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong: it is a geographical expression". But at the least, this page will be a little porthole where you, the ones left behind on this continent, can peer across the divide into that antipode on the other side where our travels will begin.
Our flight should land in Paris by midmorning on the 13th. Our days are not planned in detail, we will string them together around the sights we want to see. The Louvre, the Tower, the Catacombs. For this night, and a few to follow, we have secured a spot to sleep with some generous family on the outskirts of town. The rest of the journey will not have such accommodations. We will wind south through France, stopping at castles, green valleys, and perhaps the old residence of the antipopes in Avignon.
From here, we cross the northern part of Italy, ferry down into Greece, then make our way around the Mediterranean into Spain. This all should take the course of two months. The final leg of the tour is a flight from Madrid into Dublin, Ireland, where we will spend another two weeks exploring some distinct countryside there. The attached photograph of a globe - marked in red - traces some possible paths our journey might take.
I do not promise to post on a regular basis. It will depend on time, and internet access, and surely the current phase of the moon. Hopefully, when posts do come, they will be informative. Hopefully they will be accompanied with pretty pictures. Hopefully, they will give you a chance to learn a bit about the human spirit, that uneasy desire in all of us, to see something new.