03 May Travel–The Best Education
I hadn’t traveled for 18 years, and then last November, I turned 53, and it hit—I’m 53! How did this happen? I have a whole world to explore, and I’d better get going!
Since then, I’ve been to Spain, the Yucatan, and Eastern Europe. I just got back from a Danube River Cruise, where I was in awe of the beauty that once lay behind the iron curtain. Touring cities like Prague and Budapest was like being in live history. Signs of World War II and the Communist occupation still abound. As our Hungarian guide said, “The Soviets came in 1945, saved us, and stayed 45 years!” He then told us that the Lenin and Stalin statues which were in Budapest are no longer there. Apparently, the two communist leaders weren’t too welcome!
Each time I go on a trip, I learn something new. This time, it was about the realities of communism and World War II. I went to a fashion exhibit in Bratislava, Slovakia, which showed the fashions (or should I say lack of fashion) during the communist reign. My only comment– “I’m so glad I never lived under communist rule!”
Women were in overalls, and the focus was on practical, utilitarian clothes. While communist rulers said that all was well, all was not well. People were dissatisfied being so restricted in their individual expression. The clothing factories did not meet the people’s needs, and women sewed to get more clothes and shared prized possessions—fashion magazines and patterns! All I had to do was go to the nearest store and buy the latest style or get a Vogue or Glamour. What would it be like to be told what to wear every second? Horrible!
Reminders of World War II were also ever-present. In Bratislava, the monument called “The Empty House” showed the stark reality of death during the war years. The house was empty because the inhabitants were taken to the death camps—never to return.
In contrast to painful reminders of a sad past, Eastern Europe shimmered with beauty. I loved the views from the Charles Bridge in Prague looking across the Danube, and my photo of Budapest’s Parliament Building (pictured in this post) looks like a postcard.
It was a land of fairy tales with pastel blue and yellow homes. I looked to the right and saw a castle, then looked to the left and saw another.
Many people did not speak English, though, which made asking directions difficult. One time, a friend and I climbed a hill in Budapest looking for an art museum only to be told when we reached the top that we were on the wrong hill! We discovered the most inspiring image of the trip, though,—the Garden of Philosophy. Religious figures, like Jesus and Buddha, gathered in a circle; and holy men, like Gandhi, were on their side. It was a hopeful vision of the world gathered in peace and unity.
I’ve now been home a week, and I’m ready to go again. More wonder, learning, and enlightenment await!
Thus, whether you’re 53, or somewhere before or after, hit the road, for travel is the best education—and the most fun!
Jennifer Karin Jordan
For more inspiration, please visit the DADLY Wisdom Blog at http://www.dadlywisdom.com/blog/.
Image reference – Jennifer K. Jordan’s fabulous phone photo!
#Travel, #TravelInspiration, #Prague, #Budapest, #Slovakia