Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My European Trip 1 -- Prelude

I usually enjoy traveling alone. I've loved the often bizarre situations you seem to find yourself in when you're traveling solo. I've loved the complete sense of freedom, the joy of being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and not having anyone around to judge me. You decide what time you get up in the morning, you decide what to have for breakfast, you decide where to continue visiting exhibitions in a museum, you decide which bar/restaurant to go to, you decide who you'd like to meet up and hang out, and you decide when to stop and go home.

Yep, traveling solo is pretty sweet.

But this 35-day European journey somewhat changed my opinion. I wasn't expecting that I will make that decision in Heidelberg. I couldn't forget those laughs and tears in Paris. I would like to relive that tranquil afternoon in Kinderdijk. I missed the idyllic life in the Loire Valley. And I cherished the encounter of my childhood in Belcastel. In the end of the journey I felt like something's missing slightly -- someone to share things with. Such a feeling motivates me to open this blog, to share Jennie's stories.

My journey started from Frankfurt. From there I traveled to Bonn, Cologne, and Dusseldorf in Germany, then went north to Amsterdam, Leiden, Kinderdijk, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, shortly visited Brussels, and arrived in Paris. In France I rounded out weekdays in the Loire valley (Chinon, Villandry, Chenonceau, Azay-Le-Rideau, Foutervraud, Chambord) and in Aveyron's villages (Najac, Sauvette, Villefranche, Belcastel), whereas spent all three weekends in Paris. Finally, I went back to Germany again, from Berlin to Stuggart, to Konstanz and Switzerland, to Munich and ended up the journey in Frankfurt. The whole trip lasted thirty-five days from June 26 to July 28, 2008.

Traveling is a live sociology lesson, and the people you meet is as part of your trip as the local architecture and scenery.

Being a single Asian female, I've found that I easily caught others' attentions in restaurants, on the road, or even when sitting along the river. However, Sex and the City is NOT real-life. In the journey I learned when and how to subdue myself to avoid unnecessary troubles. Also, I learned more often how to accept smiles and goodwills.


(Rose in Fontevraud)

The journey is an enriching pursuit. I try to collect notes to memorize my solo. Like the rose I saw at an ignorable corner in Fontevraud -- no matter whether there is anyone to observe and appreciate its beauty-- the rose silently unfolds its modest elegance.

Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

jingang liudao said...

Hi Jie,

I still used to call you jie. It's really lovely name fit to you.

In my eyes, these two short blogs showing you a really different view as a nowadays Chinese. We are too focus on real life, but you in a poetry one. I certainly enjoy it. I also like solo travel, but sometimes still feel lonly, just as this PhD trip to the big apple. Usually I feel homesick, and no new feeling to NYC. Anyway, I hope to find a new life here. Probabaly like you, probably mix with some reality from China.

By the way, I have settled down nearly all the household things. The bedbathbeyond is just off the Lincoln center, which you have mentioned to me before. Probably you have a nice story over there?

Let's keep going!