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Old 12-18-2015, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,047,711 times
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Gee, my memories are making me want to embark again...
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:54 PM
 
6,353 posts, read 5,192,252 times
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Originally Posted by RiverBird View Post
In the 19th and 20th Centuries, way before the digital age, people learned they could break out of their humdrum locale and see the outside world. Many artists, writers, musicians, and cultured people traveled for cultural enlightenment, and others as a sign of their class. Every place in the world, not being modernized or changed by Western societies, was once utterly unique with ethnic traditions and truly untouched landscapes.

After the industrial age and into our post modern world, in many places in Europe you have to ferret out the old-world historic sites where you see the original culture. Being half Italian, I went to Italy in search of that authentic old world Italy, and was I shocked. I had been so naive, not having been out of the country before. Yes we found a lot of the historic and the untouched, but the cities like Rome and Milan totally contemporized, full of traffic and sights of ugly industrialism along the way. The culture in many European places, so I read and am told by other travelers, is a highly mixed bag. Sometimes it feels like you're in the good old USA with all its metro pluses and drawbacks.

My sister wants to go to Positano. We were there briefly and it was overfull of tourists like us. This made the place feel like a commodity. Same with Como and Venice (we went at the wrong time of year). The trip was tiring overall and I was quite ill after coming home on a plane with many very sick children.

This is not to denigrate travel, it's just a reality check regarding expetations. There's plenty to do and see all over the world. But I'd rather have an immersion experience than a quick trip through, and the best hotels and restaurants don't interest me. The finest meal we had was out in the country in the middle of nowhere that we found by accident while being lost. Plain old world meal, no frills, in a family inn that was closed when we got there and the nonna pulled her grandson out of bed to make us the dinner. More of that and I'd want to travel much more often.
Travel does not transport you into fairy magic land. It takes you to a place where people live, work, and play in an environment somewhat different from your own. Go back and try again, with different goals and expectations.

You managed to find the worst aspects of five or six of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. The road from the airport to the city center is shi*ty in every city. There are also factories, freeways, slums, and (in Italy) graffiti all over everything. However, the Roman Forum, the Duomo and Galleria in Milan, and the coast around Positano are about as beautiful as anything this earth has to offer.
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 18,001,077 times
Reputation: 6724
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverBird View Post
In the 19th and 20th Centuries, way before the digital age, people learned they could break out of their humdrum locale and see the outside world. Many artists, writers, musicians, and cultured people traveled for cultural enlightenment, and others as a sign of their class. Every place in the world, not being modernized or changed by Western societies, was once utterly unique with ethnic traditions and truly untouched landscapes.

After the industrial age and into our post modern world, in many places in Europe you have to ferret out the old-world historic sites where you see the original culture. Being half Italian, I went to Italy in search of that authentic old world Italy, and was I shocked. I had been so naive, not having been out of the country before. Yes we found a lot of the historic and the untouched, but the cities like Rome and Milan totally contemporized, full of traffic and sights of ugly industrialism along the way. The culture in many European places, so I read and am told by other travelers, is a highly mixed bag. Sometimes it feels like you're in the good old USA with all its metro pluses and drawbacks.

My sister wants to go to Positano. We were there briefly and it was overfull of tourists like us. This made the place feel like a commodity. Same with Como and Venice (we went at the wrong time of year). The trip was tiring overall and I was quite ill after coming home on a plane with many very sick children.

This is not to denigrate travel, it's just a reality check regarding expetations. There's plenty to do and see all over the world. But I'd rather have an immersion experience than a quick trip through, and the best hotels and restaurants don't interest me. The finest meal we had was out in the country in the middle of nowhere that we found by accident while being lost. Plain old world meal, no frills, in a family inn that was closed when we got there and the nonna pulled her grandson out of bed to make us the dinner. More of that and I'd want to travel much more often.
Your first paragraph reminds me of Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Innocents_Abroad

When we went to Egypt (in 1981 - when it was safe) - it was amazing how our trip resembled the one Twain took decades earlier.

I think the problem you had with Italy is it has been one of the most over-touristed places on the planet for a long time. Recent weakness in the Euro has only contributed to the tourist glut. We returned to London for the first time in a while earlier this year. And found it totally slammed. I'm glad we had seen many of the major attractions in the past - like the British Museum. Because they were simply too crowded to be enjoyable. We explored lesser known (although far from undiscovered) places - and wound up having a good time. Didn't hurt that the food was fabulous .

Note that we went to London in shoulder season (spring). I can only imagine what it was like in high season this summer. Based on what I've seen recently - I would suggest traveling to some places like this (the hyper-crowded places) in off season if possible. If I didn't dislike cold weather so much - that's when I would travel. I would also suggest avoiding places that are hyper-crowded with tourists. We were in Singapore last year. Not too many tourists (plenty of locals though!). We've been to Japan twice in recent years - and it was the same. Ditto with Stockholm. Which was lively in September - but not overrun.

BTW - I think many people have the kind of Italian countryside dining experience you had. We did. Comes with the territory . OTOH - there are plenty of excellent well known places too. Dining is one reason we travel - and I look forward to all kinds of different dining experiences. I am looking forward to dining in this place in Madrid in the spring. Looks like a heck of a show :

DIVERXO

Robyn
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