When one is Interrailing, one has a substantial amount of time to gaze out of the window at the flying scenery and ponder about life. It was on our final train, destined for Paris, that I relived my Europe adventure and thought about what I had learnt.
Firstly, the point of travelling (for me at least) is to see beautiful things. That’s why you put up with long periods with no sleep, getting lost and rude awakenings in hostels. So that you can go to the top of the clock tower in Prague and take in the beauty of the city, just as the sun is setting. We saw so many things that took my breath away, not always for the right reasons. Even in our first city of Amsterdam, the harrowing emptiness of Anne Frank’s house contrasted hugely with the decadence of the Royal Palace. The world is full of contrasts and it’s up to us to see the good side and cherish the beauty.
Old Town Square, Prague
Next, I now understand that World War Two is still a deep scar that runs through the whole of Europe. In every city we ventured into, a war memorial could be found. It was interesting to see the difference between Berlin and Munich’s stance on the war. Berlin seemed very keen to remember the horror, document lives lost in huge memorials and make sure the struggles are not forgotten. Munich didn’t seem to have the same amount of visuals, or perhaps we were visiting the wrong area. Although I have an interest in WW2, this was the first time I started to understand just how impactful and devastating the Second World War was to so many nations.
Prague’s War Memorial
My third lesson was only truly learnt after I stepped off the coach in London. It may be terribly clichéd, but it can transport a girl back to Kansas, it must be true. There’s no place like home. Travelling is wondrous. All of the exploring and learning and eating is divine, there’s no argument there. But the physical act of moving from place to place, moving to a new bed every couple of days, all becomes very tiring. By Munich, our penultimate destination, we had lost our urge to sight see. Wandering around markets and lounging in Bier Gartens had the most appeal, so that’s what we did. Freedom is the essence of travelling. But after awhile, you begin to yearn for structure.
Well, half of you does. The other half of me would like to continue gallivanting around Europe, enjoying anonymity and little responsibility. But on the coach home, L and I were both excited to be returning to our lives. We have good prospects, comfortable homes and each other. We are both very lucky.
One of the many delicious meals we enjoyed (Berlin)
Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest
The most wonderful thing about travelling in my opinion is that you get to go home. You can stick your amassed postcards on the wall and smile as you recollect each precious memory. You share your photos with loved ones (and lovely blog readers!). You retell your adventures and laugh at the good times. I hope to create many more good times in a similar trip in the future.
PS Normal service will now resume, with a slight change of schedule. I will now be posting on Mondays, Wednesday and of course, Frugal Fridays!
Nicely written … lovely pics
I am so glad you had a wonderful time. We spent nearly a year travelling around Europe last year (in our motorhome) so in a sense, we had our home with us. We have done a fraction of what we wanted to do, but have lots of time in future to go back and do more. We changed our route at least twice due to the bad weather last spring/summer and also spent a few days in Prague, which was fantastic; my husband especially loved it. We went to Berlin which I found fascinating but hubby did not like as much. He had a great interest in WW2, but I never shared his interest, but I had a complete change of heart during our travels. I found it amazing how so many seemingly unrelated incidents or people were inter-twined across different countries. We were also surprised by the different WW2 memorials across the different countries, especially throughout Germany where we did not necessarily expect to see any – we never consider their war dead. One of the most poignant places we ‘found’ was the Wansee Conference House – having seem the film Conspiracy, I could not believe I was actually standing in the same rooms where such historic events took place. We had done Paris at the beginning of our trip, unfortunately it was just after the start of the rainy season, so our trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower was on a very wet, windy day. Oh, sorry I could go on all day …. cannot wait to see your photos and hear your commentary.