Friday, March 18, 2011

The Friday 4: Places I Wanna Go

I'm not a good traveler. I like traveling in theory, but I'm not so great at the actual doing of it. (This sounds like my attitude toward a lot of other things, such as running and eating healthy.) Despite my sub-par travel-a-tude though, I do so love the idea of it, and, with proper funding, I firmly believe I could enjoy myself. Luxurious acommodations, lots of dough for food and shopping, seeing the sights regardless of the costs of entrance and travel to said sights, etc. - this sounds like my kind of trip. Not the kind of trip I've been on too often, but the kind I sure would like to go on. 

Oh, and I'd really really like to know enough of the language to find a bathroom and take a bus. 

4.  San Francisco  
Feels like Full House . . . 

Ten (almost eleven) years ago, I went to CA with my parents, and, among other places, we set up temporary shop in the great San Fran. We spent 4 days and 3 nights there, and I fell in love pretty much instantly. The hills (!), the coffee shops, the cultural diversity. So very cool and so very fun. And then there's the bay and the street cars. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. 

What wasn't so fun was sharing a room with my parents whose snoring is a form of domestic terrorism. We stayed at (isn't this cool?) a hotel called the Canterbury Inn (there really were murals from the Canterbury Tales on the walls!), and I spent more than one night in the lobby, curled on a chair by the grand piano, reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and trying to keep my eyelids open, while the two of them slept soundly and loudly five floors up. This lack of sleep, as you might guess, didn't make for the most fun trip. And, then one morning, there was a fire drill - like wtf? That was a completely random and odd experience. 

So, on my return visit (and I shall have a return visit, esp. since Brad's never been there), I will definitely be well-rested. 

3.  Athens and the Peloponnesus 
Did you know that other writers over the ages have referred to Aristotle as "the Philosopher"? Brad taught me that. Well, any nation that could spawn the Philosopher and serve as inspiration for Gerard Butler to be unforgivably sexy whilst leading an array of sexy, sweaty men (300, duh) gets a whole lotta kudos from me. 

The Acropolis 
Along with all the goodies of Athens - the temples, the Acropolis, the Parthenon - I would of course make a trek to Corinth and Sparta on the Peloponnesus. 

2.  Hemingway's Spain 
If Hemingway wrote about a place, chances are I want to go there, and nowhere more than the cities of The Sun Also Rises and the mountains of For Whom the Bell Tolls. (If you have not read these books, you really must. And I don't usually assign reading to anyone but my students.) 

The Pamplona of Sun is passionate, riotous, a fever of life. I'd probably lose my lunch at a bullfight (I don't even eat lunch, usually, unless I'm scarfing down five - yes, five - pieces of pizza at Amanda's), but Hemingway's writing makes me want to see one anyway. And, while I'm not a mountain person, the Guadarrama range of For Whom is so evocatively rendered that you feel like you're breathing mountain air and stepping barefoot over broken branches - so, yeah, I'd like to rock that in person. Toss in Madrid, Barcelona, and all the beautifully depicted small towns from his novels and reporting, and you've got a drool-worthy trip. 

1.  Rome 
If you haven't gathered already, I am obsessed with Roman history, Caesar, Latin, and all that good stuff. Ever since high school Latin - where I was, I must say, a star - with a teacher who knew her ancient Rome like nobody's business, Rome has been under my skin. 

To go to Rome would be, like, so ridiculous for me. There would be gaping. Gasping. Face-hurting smiles. (On my part; hopefully not on the parts of the Italians interacting with me.) My eyes are tearing up a little just thinking about it (I'm being serious here). For me, ancient Rome is such an amazing site of culture, law, politics, romance, letters, architecture, public speaking, and intrigue. So much intrigue! 

A trip to Rome would be - and I say this fully aware of the cheesiness - a dream come true. (We talked about the various connotations of "dream" in my freshman English class yesterday, so it seems timely to characterize a trip to Roma as such.) 

Sigh: the Colosseum 

Definite stops: Colosseum, the Roman Forum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Appian Way (Via Appia for you Latin buffs), Porta Maggiore, Nero's Aqueduct, and the Pantheon. And that's just the beginning. 

Brad and I will make this trip happen someday. It's just too bad Brad got a C+ in Italian in college.


  1. Of the four you’ve mentioned here, I’ve had the privilege of visiting two of them. San Fran is a cool city, although not a place I would want to call home. Rome is an amazing place. Shortly after my wife and I married, we travelled to Rome for a long weekend from Belgrade, Serbia (former Yugoslavia). To be able to stand in the Coliseum is incredible.

    Ever been to Kuwait?

  2. Oh, I'm so jealous! I bet it was yummy fun.

    A friend of mine from a previous university was from Serbia (she was very sweet!). She missed it dearly. In my master's program, I wrote a paper on nationalism in the former Y., and I'd definitely love to visit those countries.

    As for Kuwait, nope, I've never been. The furthest east I've gone thus far is France (which ain't all that far, I realize). Other than all the sweating you'll do in that heat, I bet you guys will have a great time. How long do you think you'll live there?

  3. Up to four years....assignment is for three, but we can stay a little longer if we wish.

  4. What about Versaille?!?! You have to go there sometime in your life!