It’s February 20th and I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions yet. Partly because I’ve spent the last two months in the timeless space of travel and exploration. For the majority of that time I existed among a different culture high in a pine chalet in the Haute Savoie, France.
I consumed way too much cheese and this lovely stuff called, Ruinart, which really is the ruination of any impulsive champagne-sluzzer like me. I’ve skied like only I can. I’ve talked endless bad franglais and thanked heavens for google navigator and The H, who doesn’t mind driving on the wrong side of the road through Paris and narrow mountain passes.
I’ve caught up with old friends and made new ones.
On touchdown in Godzone last week I flatlined. We all did really, this family of five. 26.75hours of travel, four time zones, five movies, several rectangular meals and boomfa. I felt DEPRESSED. Crabby. Going to bed at 7pm has its merits, but wakeful at 3am doesn’t. We arrived back to summer but was raining.
The H’s birthday past like Spongebob impatient for a crabby patty. I shan’t go on. Actually, if you’re still here you’re made of sturdy stuff and should pat yourself on the back. Whinge over.
It was my 50th World Tour. And I’m not even 50 yet. Bonus.
My visual receptors are on sensory overload. They’ve literally popped right out of my head. I look like Marty Feldman on a good day. Or possibly bad. My skull is positively crammed with sounds, smells, snippets and sights of cities visited. Art porned over. Tastes savoured. Language grappled with. To write it all down would be to unleash an unstoppable torrent of WOW. Travel is SO cool. It opened even my middle-aged view of things to new possibilities. I love staring. Especially when in a foreign land. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to bump into these fascinating foreigners at school pick up. Is it?
So where to start on my tell ALL?
The architecture of Barcelona in all its Gaudi’d magnificence literally blew my mind. I haven’t been as opened mouthed about something so old and so fresh since my stepmother introduced me to Salvador Dali, aged 18 at the Pompidou Centre, Paris. Dali’s crazy melting clocks on sky blue backgrounds were absurd. Edgy. Timeless. Just like Gaudi’s mushroom shaped recessed alcove with its loveseat a deux and the chaperone seat opposite in Cassa Batllo. I have a thing for Spanish men now. Spanish artists to be precise.
I ate tapas in Spain. Not Auckland. In a small cobbled square near Santa Maria, I ate the most delicious fried fresh sardines with lemon I could have ever imagined. I sucked those headless bodies dry while fine pale bones tickled my lips. I’ll never look at a tinned sardine again. Catfood.
In a lofty apartment in the Barreo Gottico, Barcelona, I ate silvers of hard sheep cheese with fresh dates and sipped pink cava with good friends. I hate sheep, but it tasted so good.
I took over 7000 photographs. I probably saw too much through a digital screen, such is the hindrance of wanting to preserve everything; to bore friends back home with lengthy unedited slide shows (and hopefully write a saleable travel piece). She cried.
I trained and planed with my teenage daughters across Europe and did not lose them. While The H and son, turning 11, skied freestyle parks in Gstadd, Switzerland.
My eldest daughter experienced international travel. Alone. And for the first time middle daughter and I did too. In London we shopped and dropped and visited: St Pauls, The Tate, The Barbican Centre (,Oy luv, vat rain exhibition finished larst year’), The Museum of London, Matilda the Musical. Rave rave. The National Portrait Gallery. We Boris-biked through Hyde park to The Victoria & Albert on a dry but windy day, then on to Buckingham Palace just to say we’d been there.
I ate more pastries in two months in Europe than I would Arrowntown pies in a year. Spanish pain au chocolat, with hazelnut cream in one tube and hard chocolate in the second were the best.
If you can imagine being of on a hoverboard for two months, well I’ve been on one.
Thanks to gravity I’m now back down to earth. Thud. Clatter. Crash.
Thank heavens for friends and family to smooth out the landing.
Enjoy your weekend folks. Oh, and if anyone wants a how-to re the above; like how to spend up to 4 hours looking at hotels in London online then not booking one, so you can spend another four hours doing it then book, get in touch. I'm thinking of retraining as a travel-blogger. I mean agent. They do still exist.