Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summing Up? The Grand European Adventure 2010

Well, folks, I'm back in Texas and enjoying being warm again. All together I was gone 50 days: 4 to Florida; 14 on the cruise; 22 in Malta; 10 in London. What were the highlights of the trip?

1. You will probably all laugh at me, but perhaps the very finest time of all was sitting in the Palm House in Kew Gardens, drawing and listening as Chris Watson manipulated his tapes to create a new mix of his "Whispering in the Leaves" sound installation. It was great.



2. Cadiz, Spain. Cadiz is compactly situated on a peninsula, making it a great city for getting around in on foot. And we had great weather that day: sunny and warm without a roaring wind.


3. Obidos, Portugal. A lovely little walled hilltop village, and another great day for weather. This may also be the only place outside the U.S. where I saw (and bought) Lay's potato chips!


4. Listening to (and drawing) great music. Both in Malta and on the ship, I heard a great deal of classical music live. Often I sat and drew while listening and afterward gave the drawings to one or another of the musicians. That was fun.

5. Revisiting old sights. It was fun to see places (and in a few cases) people I hadn't seen since 2007.

6. Marks & Spencer cafes.

7. Meeting cruise employees from many different countries and sort of getting to know them over 2 weeks on the ship.

8. Visiting bookstores with an English slant (even in Malta).

9. The car museum in Qawra, Malta.


And what about lowlights?

1. Not getting to visit the Azores Islands because of very rough weather. On the one hand, it might have been really unpleasant trying to walk about a lovely 300 year old town in a chilly rain; on the other, it was disappointing to lose our first "land" day after a week at sea. It was raining and windy, yes, but apparently what really decided the captain against trying to dock at Punta Delgada was the size of the swells that kept lifting the ship as they tried to bring it to the dock.

2. The weather in general. It was mostly sunny (except in London), but there was so much wind so much of the time that being outside, which I love, wasn't necessarily pleasant. And the temperatures, while not truly cold, were often chilly enough to require a windbreaker (or two) and/or sweatshirt: not exactly what one wants in May after a long cold winter.

3. Some of the cruise amenities. I was disappointed that this ship focused more on in-room movie-watching than in-theatre movie-watching, which I would have preferred.

4. Listening to a squalling toddler on a multi-hour transatlantic flight.

5. Having a last-minute passport difficulty in Malta (because personnel at Fiumicino Airport in Rome never stamped my passport) and hoping I didn't miss my flight to London.

Overall, despite the fact that I never felt quite as settled and "at home" in Malta as I had hoped, it was a great trip.

42 comments:

羅文浩 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

Sheila Ryan said...

Somewhere our friend India has written about the horrors of being confined with a squaller whilst traveling.

Robert Benchley wrote, "In America there are two classes of travel: first class and with children." That distinction is no longer limited to America, if ever it was.

DrTee said...

I don't know if anyone is still checking in, but I am sad to report that one might encounter babies and misbehaving children in first class. I was on a transatlantic in business class once and there were half a dozen children. They were loud and ate up all the snacks. There are just so many reasons that children in first/business class is a bad idea.

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不要去想沒拿到的東西,多想想自己手裡所擁有的..................................................

蕭v柯凡豐珈火 said...

初次造訪,安安^^..................................................................

徐禎緯 said...

生命的意義,是在於活的充實;而不是在於活得長久。............................................................

劉林育雅嘉韋 said...

Of two evils choose the least.............................................................

文王廷 said...

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文王廷 said...

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凱許倫 said...

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江仁趙雲虹昆 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。......................................................................

于庭吳 said...

時間就是靈魂的生命。................. ................................................

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