I admire the travel writer who can discipline themselves to write while they are travelling. Those whose very passion for a destination can enthuse complete strangers to visit it, in the hope of enjoying the same experiences. The likes of Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux come to mind, along with the iconic Geoff Dyer who always entertains. There are also myriads of travel blogs, many of which I read before I booked our current European adventure.
In the days leading up to our journey, I had high hopes of filling this blog with the sights and sounds of the many cities we are stopping at over our six week visit to Europe. All of my hopes have now faded into nonexistence.
The fact is there is too much to write about. Each city or town we visit is filled with sights, sounds, architecture, food and culture foreign to those we see every day in Australia. There is simply too much which is different, or beautiful, or amazing, a complete sensual overload which is difficult to process on the spot. Then, after two or three nights, we have moved on and the experiences overlay each other until I’m no longer certain of where I saw that magnificent building, or tasted the wonderful dish or saw the wonderful murals.
Of course, there are some sights I can never forget. The palace of Versailles, the cathedral at Cologne, Riga’s streets filled with incredible Art Nouveau buildings will stay with me forever. But a few cities down the track and, I’m ashamed to admit, I am loathe to see yet another church or palace. Instead I try to find different experiences. Here in Stockholm, I’m lucky enough to have both friends and cousins. Yesterday was pleasantly spent at lunch with friends in a part of Stockholm I would never have visited on my own. Tonight, we will have dinner with my cousins.
Tomorrow we leave again, this time away from the big cities, to northern Norway where we hope to see the northern lights. It will be cold, much colder than I have experienced for many years, probably wet and no doubt extremely beautiful. As far as I know, there are no churches or palaces to be seen. It promises to be a very different adventure, one which I am both looking forward to and dreading. You ask, why dreading? To put it simply, I am not the outdoors type. My idea of camping is lazing around a glittering pool at a 5-star resort. Therefore, chasing the northern lights in a mini bus through the countryside in the dead of night, without a bathroom in sight, causes me to feel slightly anxious.
On the bright side, it will be very different from any other experience so far and one which I am certain I can write about!