More than a week after returning from Europe I still feel as if I’ve lost something, but I’m not sure what.
Perhaps it’s the stimulation of doing something new and interesting every day. Perhaps it’s the company 24/7 of someone who shares my new interests in art history and architecture, who enables me to explore places that I’d otherwise be excluded from, and who is happy to match my pace, fast or slow.
It’s one thing to be aware of fabulous art and colourful history, but another to be immersed in it. To walk into a church not knowing what marvelous artwork I’ll find is to be filled with a sense of anticipation. To walk into a museum knowing I’ll see a famous work of art is to be filled with a sense of excitement. To see an eleventh century frieze i’ve been told i’ll find in a museum i’ve never heard of is to be filled with amazement at its unexpected beauty. To experience a Michaelangelo statue is to fill my senses … To see a Titian or Veronaze or Tintoretto in situ, and know that THIS is the only place I’ll ever see it is to be filled with awe. To have the audacity to rotate a Rodin statue on its plinth is to be filled with joy. To share these breathtaking moments with someone who is equally blown away is priceless.
I’ve combined the mundane with the famed … Had a picnic on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower as the sun sets and watched the light show begin … People watched beside the Trevi Fountain … Had lunch on the steps of Sacre Coeur looking out across Paris … Bought a scarf from a street hawker in anticipation of a cool evening when we ‘ve decided to watch the magic fountain … Amused taxi drivers with our broken phrases in German, Italian, French, Spanish …
It’s been an experience, not only filled with wonder and awe and fun, but so much learning. Sometimes my head hurt with the amount of history and information I was desperate to process.
So what now?
I can plan weekends away with Peter so we can have more good times together; I can plan how to afford the time and costs of getting back to Europe, hungry for more art and history; I can learn to speak French because that’s somewhere we definitely want to explore more of; I can read more about what we have seen – my daughter has lent me book “Michaelangelo” and its opening pages take me straight to sixteenth century Florence.
We live in a world that has been shaped by the people and events that have gone before us. Learning something of these is almost an overwhelming task. I have touched on just a tiny portion of just one culture.
It’s like nibbling at a giant chocolate cake. Eat too much and I’ll be gorged, have too little and I’ll be unsatisfied, hungry for more. Right now, that’s where I am, unsatisfied. I can’t have it all, but I can have a little more!