Trains, planes and automobiles … all in a day, plus bumping carry-ons over cobblestone streets. A privilege to be reading pages from the book of Four Great Cities of Eastern Europe: Dubrovnik, Budapest, Prague and Vienna. The destination is only a part of the journey. Four weeks of travel and what have I learned:
Communication, communication, communication.
The barrier of language,
The connection of smiles,
but precise words can direct you to the correct train platform.
A face tells a story. (Be in charge of its cover.)
Titles are deceiving, and customer service does not guarantee anything,
Information desks may or may not dispense accurate information.
Be prepared, travel light.
(Prepared for what?)
Be prepared to be flexible, and always have tissue in your bag.
Judgements over differences can arise quickly,
Open travellers practice seeing the world with the eyes of the heart,
Culture bleeds into opinions, even when we feel we are open-minded.
There are countless ways of living life, the wise traveller practices
Giving up the need to be right.
Smiling faces at arrival gates dissipate travel weariness. (Especially if they are grandchildren)
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” (And I want to pass through as much of it as I can.)
The 3 minute egg versus the 5 minute egg: “Would you like a 3 minute egg or a 5 minute?” The blank look on my face gave evidence that I did not understand my Austrian host’s question, so she repeated it. I opted for the 5 minute, egg … we are called to breakfast 6 min later, with a boiled egg in a white egg cup, a white plate for bread, a white bowl for fruit. Cheese, meat and jam set on the table alongside fresh squeezed orange juice. We began, and as I approached my 5 minute egg my host corrected my angle of attack with an expression of horror. (There is in an egg cup for a purpose.) When I confess that we usually shell our 8 minute eggs in Canada, I am informed that 8 minute eggs are eaten only at Easter. I like to think that I carry the hope of Easter all year round, perhaps that explains my egg eating habits? With an outer smile and an inner grimace I recognize there are numerous ways of getting egg on one’s face.
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends. **
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