Here it is February 1st and I’m just getting around to a New Year’s blog…how pathetic.  But it’s not like I’ve been slacking, except for the last week.  I had good reason; after three weeks of intense traveling through Eastern Europe and two long, long days of missed flights, unscheduled airport layovers, a restless nine hour overseas flight, I needed at least a week to reboot my brain and body.  Travel takes a toll, but it’s a worthwhile toll.

Spending New Year’s eve and day traveling was a dream come true for me, although I didn’t know it until it was actually happening.  Mine is not a depressive personality, I’m normally optimistic and upbeat.  But for years New Year’s Day has made me feel depressed, melancholy.  Is it the prospect of an entire new year unfolding all at once?  Or a let down after a great year?  I really don’t know what it is, but I can attest to the fact that on January 1st I don’t want to be around people….no phony socializing over black eyed peas and greens for me.  Just let me be in my own little world and I’ll muddle through the day.  And after a couple days of muddling I’m ready to get on with the New Year.  But this year was different; we were a world away from home in a new (for us) exciting city and I had not an iota of the usual New Year Day melancholy….I didn’t have time, what with the barrage of new stimuli.  It was great!

In a future post I’ll talk in more detail about our incredible trip, a trip we both place near or at the top of our list of favorites. This adventure offered a history lesson we’ve not experienced when traveling, plus the European culture we both love.  But I will include some notes I jotted down on our long journey home when events of the three week holiday were fresh.

The U.S.A. seems like the entire world, like the center of everything, but it’s not. There’s a big world out there. We’ve met highly intelligent people from around the globe who are not always aware of what goes on in the U.S…..not even on their radar. They’re not ignorant, they have lives that don’t center around ours.  And if you were asked about their country you may not be able to locate it on a map let alone understand their culture, politics, likes and dislikes. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
I’m aware I preach about travel often in my blog and many may get tired of it.  But I do it because of my (our) love of travel; the experience is life affirming, simple as that.  And if I can influence a reader to plan their own adventure I’d be very happy.
I wanted to include just one photo out of the hundreds I snapped on our vacation. I chose the one below because it represents the rich culture we experienced.  It was a cold night in the old town district of Krakow, Poland and we happened upon this beautiful centuries old church that had nightly classical music concerts.  The church wasn’t heated and about twenty music lovers braved the cold.  The lights were dim, the music echoing through the enormous chamber, the audience wrapped in winter coats each lost in their own meditative state of serenity…it was a magical moment, one we won’t forget anytime soon.  Happy New Year to you all…..

One thought on “Happy (Belated) New Year

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