I fell a little in love today…

… with images of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera.

I am filled with a lust that cannot be ignored and shan’t settle until I’ve been there. And I want to go by train.

Apparently it’s possible to do the journey, via that mode of transport, within a day. So, coffee in Shrewsbury, breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, afternoon tea in Turin, and dinner in Monterosso al Mare. Perfetto! 

I idle away a fair bit of online time perusing three things: travel, food and poetry. Recently, I asked online friends where would you go with an unlimited budget?

There were some interesting replies – places seen, places craved. But a curious answer came from the wonderful Liz/Sheena who said we travel because it makes us feel a certain way, so should focus on inducing this same feeling in our ordinary lives, in ordinary places.

To some extent I get what she’s saying, but a large part of what appeals to me with travel couldn’t be reproduced in my native land.

I love being the foreigner. The detachment that comes with not speaking the language – tuning out, relaxing, knowing nothing is my concern – the sheer selfishness of just being. I love the quiet watching and pondering a person is free to do when in the role of visiting ghost.

I asked my dad – who’s travelled the world the hard way – where is his favourite place? He said he couldn’t answer. Did I mean most pleasurable or memorable or intense…? He gave a few examples of each – all exotic, dangerous ventures – before settling, briefly, on:

“…the time, having canoed 3000km down the Danube, to stand alone with my feet in the Black Sea, eyes closed, knowing had done it and it could never be taken away from me.” 

Ah. And that’s the difference between armchair travel and the real kind… now where’s that train schedule?