Maybe it was a twist of fate, or maybe things were going just a little too well…whatever the reason, life in the van came to an abrupt end shortly after my last blog post. It was something that we had feared might happen, but didn’t quite believe it would!
Luckily for us it was a beautiful day, so we could bask in the sun while we waited for the tow truck. And we were stuck in the most beautiful place: Aurland, right next to the fjord.
‘Let’s get a van,’ we said. ‘Let’s drive it all over the continent,’ we said. ‘We’ll do it up, build a bed in there, chuck in some soft furnishings and live in it.’ That’s pretty much how easily the plan came together. What’s not quite as easy is the work to do it up! Fortunately, we’ve made a good start and the dream is getting a little closer to reality.
Sitting quietly in El Museo del Chocolate, sipping a hot chocolate and contemplating how to spend the rest of the day, I notice a hubbub from outside. Waiting staff in black outfits swish out of the door to see what’s happening as crowds begin to gather outside the windows. The German couple on the next table move towards the window speaking hurriedly together.
Speaking neither a lot of Spanish, nor German, I was feeling rather nonplussed. I quickly paid for my drink, much to the annoyance of the waitress, whose morning’s entertainment I had clearly interrupted. Heading outside I looked up, following the gaze of the crowd. Flames, dark orange, red and foreboding, licked and twirled out of the top middle window of a building a few doors down.
The rooftops, the ground, the treetops glimmer and sparkle in the pale yellow streetlight. The world glows, even though the sun won’t be up for another hour; like an expectant mother, radiance comes from within. All is pristine, a clean new slate. Waking up on a chilly morning, peeping through the curtains at the outside world and seeing the everyday transformed into a landscape that’s totally different to when you went to bed a few hours ago is special.
Wandering amongst brilliantly colourful houses, smelling the salty air while sunlight bursts through the leafy canopies of the many trees, my breathing slows, and my heart rate drops a little to keep rhythm with island time. The haven of tranquility that is Prince Edward Island is home to an enclave so sedate, you might wonder if time is standing still. Now that is relaxation.
Today the world awoke to the news that Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution has died. Heralded by some as a hero, a mastermind who freed Cuba from the clutches of Capitalism. Condemned by others as a villain with little regard for human rights, ‘Fidel’ was in his lifetime certainly a divisive figure, and surely will continue to be so after death.
Ask any traveller and they’ll tell you that visiting new countries, new cities, seeing new sights and soaking up different cultures are some of the most enjoyable pleasures of travel. Yet sometimes, home can be just as enjoyable – if you know where to look!
A new destination brings with it all sorts of promise. The anticipation of what you’ll discover, the characters you’ll meet and the experiences you’ll have – half the pleasure of a trip is in the planning!
In just under 5 weeks, I’ll be heading off to Cuba and I’m ridiculously excited! I’ve spent some time planning and I’m really looking forward to exploring the country – it sounds beautiful and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
The Blogging 101 assignment today got me thinking…who exactly is it that I write for? Who is my ‘dream reader’? I’d always thought it was myself! As a travel blog it was a place I could record my experiences for posterity, and muse on what I’d seen and done.
Thinking about it, this isn’t true. Well, not entirely. Traveling, much like blogging, is a communal experience. Traveling can take you to a new place in your own state, region, country, or to the other side of the planet. It’s always the people that stick with you though. The characters that you meet along the way. Those that you share stories of past travels with, and exchange wish lists for future destinations.
In answer to my own question then, I write to connect with those of a similar mindset. My dream reader is someone who loves to plan the adventure, imagine the feel of the sand between their toes, who weirdly enjoys the windchill that goes with riding the ski lift. Someone who gets butterflies when they book the flight, and who is already dreaming about the next adventure before this one is completed.
In the meantime, I’m going to keep on saving up my pennies, keep reading all about your fabulous adventures, and let the inspiration for 2015 take hold! Where will 2015 be taking you dreamers and readers!?
I was pleased to see The Daily Post’s theme centred around the idea of ‘unsung heroes’, as it’s a category that is a great conversation piece. I guess it’s the kind of thing that would usually prompt thoughts of criminally underrated albums, works of art or literature. For me, I think there are also a great many ‘unsung heroes’ when it comes to travel destinations. Perhaps the most spectacularly underrated destination I’ve ever visited is Newfoundland, Canada’s (nay, North America’s) Eastern most province.