by Peggy DePersia, guest blogger
Remember when, perhaps as an intrepid young person, you set out on a travel adventure to learn about and experience the world beyond your previous life experience?
Likely, you learned oodles about the place to which you traveled and chances are, you learned lots about yourself as well.
When the travel experience produces wonderful memories, one might tend to buff and polish them for a long, long while……which is exactly what my husband and I had done with our ‘pup tenting it through Europe’ experience back in the day, as they say.
We recently reprised part of the itinerary of this summertime honeymoon experience though we chose a river cruise along the Rhine in lieu of campgrounds with ‘pay for hot water’ shower accommodations. (By the way, it really does make one concretely aware of utility usage when you have to drop a coin in a metered slot as your ‘hot water’ suddenly stops flowing.)
Well, it is now the twenty-first century, has been for awhile, and our world has really changed. The memories of the trip of a lifetime, up to that point at least, have taken on the patina of a kind of fairy tale.
Traveling in Europe a mere twenty-five years following a great war was, in its way, a magical experience. Europe was still in recovery and despite the hustle, bustle, cultural enthusiasm and energy, vestiges of a darker time remained.
And yet, it was all enchanting; the interminable ‘switch backs’ of the Swiss Alps, the storied castles of medieval Germany, the uniquely specific sights, sounds and aromas of distinct nations and the particular currencies, villages and even automobiles spoke of a sense of place. We had stepped into other worlds.
With our return so many years later it was clear that our earlier memories, though treasured, were like a fairy tale of a sort. After all, it is a different century and it is a more identifiably global environment. The quaint villages and old city centers of an earlier era, though still lovely, have been subsumed by the expansive development of an international climate with an array of world class architectural structures ringing cities along the Rhine from Zurich to Amsterdam.
The river itself, a thoroughfare of commerce and industry is virtually littered with cruise ships laden with folks like ourselves, people interested in both capturing or retrieving the experience, however vicariously, of times and places of historical or personal relevance to their lives.
Times and places change, sometimes unrecognizably while the ongoing experiences of travel continue to inform and enchant.
Dreaming of “Getting out of Town” Peggy retired as a high school art teacher and now devotes her time to teaching at Kendall College of Art and Design and living creatively. Both Peggy and her husband, Jerry, enjoy travel on or near water and time with their darling grand son Oliver.