As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I recently spent three weeks on the road with my family. I got home safe and sound last Tuesday evening, had one full day to relax, and then jumped in the car again to spend a long weekend with the long-distance boyfriend. After having a really wonderful time with him, I’m finally home for a significant period of time. Since I now have some time on my hands, I thought I’d do a post with a few highlights of my trip! I’m putting a few photos in the body of the post, but there’s also a larger gallery at the bottom – I can’t resist sharing a few photos!
On Tues, May 21, my parents, younger sister, and I hitched up the pop-up camper and hit the roads for parts unknown. Also known as the Four Corners region of the U.S. This was my second road trip out West (my sister and I drove to California and back two years ago), and although a few sights were familiar, most of the trip was spent taking in stunning new vistas.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
“A journey, after all, neither begins in the instant we set out, nor ends when we have reached our door step once again. It starts much earlier and is really never over, because the film of memory continues running on inside of us long after we have come to a physical standstill. Indeed, there exists something like a contagion of travel, and the disease is essentially incurable.”
– Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
– On the Road by Jack Kerouac
“I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every states I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move.”
– Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
One of my favorite things about books is their ability to transport me to places that I have never been in real life. Through reading, I’ve trekked across Tibet, spent a year in Paris, wandered the streets of Tokyo, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, and made a mad dash across the US with my buddy Jack Kerouac. Of course, reading about interesting places doesn’t come close to the amazingness of actual travel, and I am a long-time sufferer of wanderlust. In the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to spend four months in London, travel to five European countries, and drive from New York to California and back. These are some of the greatest experiences of my life, and I am always eager for my next adventure… which is starting tomorrow! Continue reading
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE: TRAVELS IN EUROPE
by Bill Bryson
Non-Fiction: Travel Memoir
Harper Perennial, 1992
Paperback, 245 pages
Twenty years after backpacking across Europe as a young man with his (rather unlikable) friend Katz, Bryson retraces his journey across the continent. Now middle-aged and somewhat less wild and spontaneous, he travels from the northernmost town in Europe through Scandinavia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Continue reading
PARIS, I LOVE YOU BUT YOU’RE BRINGING ME DOWN
by Rosecrans Baldwin
Non-Fiction: Travel memoir
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, April 2012
Hardcover, 286 pages
Rosecrans Baldwin has been a lifelong Francophile; ever since visiting Paris with his family at the age of 10, he has been in love with the city and everything it represents. When he is offered an opportunity to move to Paris and work for an advertising firm seeking a copywriter who can write in English, Baldwin is thrilled to pack his Brooklyn belongings into storage and move with his wife to the City of Light — even though he speaks little French and has never worked in advertising.
However, life in Paris is not the romantic ideal he had envisioned. The coffee is bad, the first charming bistro they visit turns out to be an Australian bar that serves ostrich fillets, bureaucracy thwarts many of their plans, and their tiny apartment is surrounded by noisy construction on every side. Instead of the Paris of Hemingway, Baldwin finds himself in the Paris where, “Luke Skywalker had happened. Supermarkets happened. Hip-hop happened and Joan Didion happened. Email happened.” It is the Paris of Sarkozy, frozen food from Picard, and the Tecktonik dance craze. Continue reading
“Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Main, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it. Those whistles sing bewitchment: railways are irresistible bazaars, snaking along perfectly level no matter what the landscape, improving your mood with speed, and never upsetting your drink. The train can reassure you in awful places — a far cry from the anxious sweats of doom airplanes inspire, or the nauseating gas-sickness of the long-distance bus, or the paralysis that afflicts the car passenger. If a train is large and comfortable you don’t even need a destination; a corner seat is enough, and you can be one of those travelers who stay in motion, straddling the tracks, and never arrive or feel they ought to.”
– The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the abandoned Wal-Mart building that was turned into a library. I thought it was a really cool use of the building, and I loved that what was once a soulless commercial building was repurposed to become a community space where people could read and learn. Additionally, the new library was beautifully designed. The whole thing got me thinking about libraries, in general; there are some really stunning public libraries around the world! Some are centuries old and housed in exquisite gothic or colonial buildings, and others are monuments to modernity. Some take you back in time to a cozy antiquity with their frescoed walls and dark wood shelves reaching to the heavens, and others whisk you into the glorious future with their gleaming glass surfaces and innovative architecture. After scouring the internet and indulging in large quantities of international library porn, I bring you ten of the most beautiful libraries in the world!
We’ll start out this tour with some of the gorgeous old libraries of Europe, Canada, and South America, and finish up with some stunning American and European libraries!
As I mentioned in my last post, my boyfriend and I took a little trip to Boston earlier this week! It’s one of my favorite cities, and it was really fun to relive some childhood memories walking by Paul Revere’s house and visiting the Make Way For Ducklings statues in the Common — as well as to create new memories cheering on the Red Sox at Fenway and taking a tour of the Sam Adams Brewery.
Although we were only in Beantown for two days, we still managed to fit in some book tourism! (Tom is wonderfully accommodating of my nerdiness.) The first day, we visited the Boston Public Library. According to Wikipedia, it was established in 1848 and is the first publicly supported municipal library in the U.S., the first large library open to the public in the U.S., and the first public library to allow people to take borrowed materials home to read. It contains 8.9 million books and AV materials and is the second largest public library in the country (following the Library of Congress)! Continue reading