Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring and The Yearning for Other Places

by Julia Buckley
Spring is almost here. I have never been much of a traveler, and yet I always find myself dreaming of the perfect spring break. Last year we went to a little lake resort in Michigan, where I took these idyllic photos. It was a healing retreat during which we sat around, ate good food, acted goofy, and enjoyed each other's company.

I don't know if we'll even get away this spring--time and resources are limited--but I'd really like to squeeze in another getaway.

Aside from the practical and close escape (the kind we usually take), there are those imaginary escapes we say we would choose if we suddenly became wealthy. (And if I, let's say, suddenly stopped being deathly afraid of airplanes).


So here are some of those places that I go in my mind when the air smells of fresh earth and the first crocus starts to peek through the snow:

1) England. I'd head to the Yorkshire Dales that James Herriott made me fall in love with when I read his books, and then I'd go to Cornwall, whose wild beauty I came to appreciate through Poldark and the books of Rosamund Pilcher.

2) Hungary. This is the land where my father's parents were born, and which they missed all of their lives. My brother went to Budapest last year and said that it has much of the charm and beauty of Prague and other old, stately cities. He also hiked in the mountains and even, with the aid of relatives, checked out the nightlife (and the amazing food) of this country.

3) Germany. This is the homeland of my mother, and I know from all of the beautiful German traditions she shared with our family that I would feel very much at home in this beautiful place--a land of castles and scenic vistas; a land of bierhauses and friendly people. Here's my favorite German castle: Neuschwanstein, the home of "Mad" Ludwig.

4) Somewhere Caribbean--or is it Mediterranean? Somewhere like that place the people are sitting in the Corona commercial, where all they can hear is the roar of the surf as they sit in lounge chairs and contemplate the sunset. Ahhh.

5) An island between Italy and Africa where I can find the place of Prospero, the magician in The Tempest, who lived on this magical island for twelve years until he summoned a storm to wreak his revenge on his would-be murderers . . .

Okay, enough daydreaming for now. But I have a question: What's your favorite destination, real or imaginary?

15 comments:

Lorna Barrett said...

I remember your blog about the winter getaway, and it was the pictures that made me homesick for our summer cottage. When winter comes the water goes off--and so does the phone and electricity. I'm counting the days until we can start going back. (Mid-April?) *Sigh*

Darlene Ryan said...

We're in the middle of a blizzard right now--close to a foot of snow already down and winds so strong I can't see the house across the street through the blowing snow. I'd go just about anywhere right now, assuming I figure out how to get my door open.

caryn said...

We usually go somewhere warm and sunny in the winter, but fears of job security have us staying close to home this year. If I could go anywhere at all, I'd like to go to the Greek Isles. A return tript to Hawaii would be a close second choice.
Okay, reality check here-I'd be packed in an hour to head anywhere that flipflops can be worn year round-and in fact are the preferred footwear.

Sheila Connolly said...

County Cork, Ireland. The grandfather that I never knew came from there, and I finally made the trip there in 1999. I felt as though I had always known the place--it was like stepping into an old shoe, because it fit so well. When my mother died a year later, I took my daughter back to Cork and we spent a couple of weeks doing not much at all. It was healing. I'd go back in a minute.

Sandra Parshall said...

I would like to go back to Scotland. Must be my Scottish genes calling me home. I love the old buildings, the lakes, the sheep, Holyrood House and the castle in Edinburgh -- the long, dramatic history of the place as well as its beauty. The only good time to go is summer, though. It's too cold and gray in other seasons.

The place I'm "homesick" for but have never been to is east Africa. I reread Isak Dinesen's books and long to be there. That Africa doesn't exist anymore though.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Places I'd go back to in a flash (if my budget permitted) are Hawaii and Amsterdam. The most exotic place I've ever been is Timbuctoo. And the place I've never been that I'd most like to see? Hmmm. The Amalfi coast? Rio? China? Nashville? I may never get to Rio, but I'm signed up for Killer Nashville in August. :)

Kris said...

regarding your #3, the castle is beautiful in the winter -I'm sure it is in summer, but I happened to be there in winter. We never went in the castle though, expensive and we heard it wasn't worth it, and it was a several hour wait, we didn't walk to it though!

My dream would be the Greek Isles. I've been to Europe several different times and loved it. But I really want to go to the Greek Isles - it always looks wonderful in pictures and movies. If I had to go back to a place I've already been - Italy would win hands down. I loved it there.

Julia Buckley said...

Wow--these are amazing places. Just talking about them is a kind of escape, isn't it. Lorna and Darlene, you sound a bit isolated by winter, so I can understand your desire for a change of place.

Caryn--flip flops year round is a great criterion!

Sheila and Sandra--you've picked the colder windier places, but I'd be thrilled to go with you. Sounds so beautiful . . .

Liz, when were you in Hawaii? I heard you can smell the flowers even before you get off the plane.

Kris, how long were you in Bavaria? Sounds lovely--and I suppose Mad Ludwig's castle is quite the tourist trap. I wonder who gets all that money?

Kris said...

We were in Germany for 10 days (I think - it was 2 years ago this month). We were able to see a lot in those 10 days, but of course it could have been longer. We found it faster and cheaper to fly to some cities instead of taking the train or renting a car - just so we could see more. We flew into Frankfurt, then flew to Berlin and then Munich. We drove to the castle and drove from then on out. It's rather easy driving, I was worried about speeds on the autobon but it was nothing to worry about.

The reason we didn't go in the castle is because the month before we went, the husband had to take a work trip and on the flight he sat next to a guy from Germany. They got talking since Chris mentioned we were headed there the following month. That guy said that the castle doesn't have any of the original furniture, it's all just imitations of other castles, so not really worth it. We also looked into it and it was recommended that you reserve tickets in advance, but since that was going to be our first day of driving, we didn't want to chance missing our apt (no refund). Once we got there, the next tour wasn't for several hours (and you were forced to take a tour, couldn't just get access to the castle). We didn't want to wait around, other places to see. So we walked to the top and looked at the outside and the view, but that was it. I've been to soo many castles (I love castles and make sure we see as many as possible!) so I was ok missing it.

How's that for a long comment? haha!

Julia Buckley said...

Well, that sounds like a great trip, and a memorable one. I've heard that flying has now replaced the trains as a cheaper and easier way to get around--but it's not quite as romantic as my image of the Eurail. :)

Judy Alter said...

I'd go to the Scottish Highlands in a heartbeat--maybe a day in Edinburgh but not to Glasgow, more time on the Isle of Skye and the far north country. My father's people were part of Clan Chattan, I keep up my clan membership, and feel Scotland in my blood. But, alas, I too don't like to fly and surely don't want to take that adventure alone. One of my sons wants to go but finances are keeping us both home for now.

Julia Buckley said...

Judy,
I think there are a lot of us out there. Flying may be safe, but when it fails, it's very visible to everyone, and those images tend to stay with one.

But yes, Scotland--what a place to be. These places, I know, really would live up to our imaginings about them.

And, touristy as it may sound, I would love to see Loch Ness.

Sandra Parshall said...

Judy, I'm a Grant. And I've been to Skye and Loch Ness, and I once contracted a terrible mouth infection after drinking tea from a cracked cup in a little roadside place where chickens roamed around in the kitchen. Some memories are better than others. :-)

Julia Buckley said...

Sandra, we must discuss Loch Ness sometime. Did you go out in a boat?

Kris said...

Julia - you're right..it's not as romantic, but the only way we were able to take those types of trips was to save money somewhere. I wanted to take the train from London to Paris - a night trip so we could sleep and arrive in Paris in the morning. Well, the tickets were about $150 each. We flew from England to Paris for less than $150 total. So while it wasn't as much fun or romantic at all...it was worth it for us to save the extra money.