Friday, January 23, 2015

The Grand tour

Only for the young? Not so. Baby Boomers can embark on their own Grand Tour. We are scared and apprehensive. I am too even though I have traveled so much. It is a little overwhelming, to be in a different part of the world, where the language is different, the food is different and we keep getting lost. The mind and body just refuses to undertake such a daring feat. It takes too much out of us. Why don't we just pick up the TV remote, put our feet up and watch others do it. But little do we know that the fun and thrill is on the other side of the television screen! If we don't put on our walking shoes and pack our belongings into a small tote, head out the door, for the airport, we'd be spared the expense. The money will still be in our bank account and not dispersed among the airlines, the pensions, the restaurants, the train companies and whoever else. Well, that's another way of looking at life. Sure we can live like that. In the end, the decision is ours to make. The Grand tour was a much later invention, late 18th C. The first visitors to Rome were the Barbarians whose main intent was to plunder and pillage. Then the pilgrims came since this was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. Then the English people followed, the earliest guidebooks were written by Murray and by the 19thC, you are not educated unless you've been on the Grand tour of the major capitals of Western Europe. And people became enamored with ruins, the older the ruin, the better. They haven't stopped. Visitors continue to trample all over Rome. It's a wonder to see the numerous groups all over the major sites in Rome, following a leader holding up a flag or an umbrella. These days they have clipped on microphones. Besides the ruins, there are wonderful palaces which are now museums and hold some of the world's most beautiful art whether they be paintings, sculptures or furnishings. Rome is incredible. Rome has older history than Paris or London. Try some 'dolce far niente', the sweet doing of nothing! Drink some coffee and just watch life go by in front of you! Don't forget the famous Tiber river!

No comments: