Why would someone want to travel, if they could just learn everything they need to know about travel electronically? Author Kevin Dolgin was told that this is how some people think.. He thought, ‘Are we to believe that everyplace resembles every other place and that everyone is participating in the same trends, eating at the same places, and driving the same cars? And all that remains to be seen through travel are ruins of differences past?
This book offers a different type of perspective on traveling to different locations all over the world. It’s a compilation of travel essays that celebrates the distinctive qualities of locales all over the world. Each of his essays focuses on a specific place, with words and imagery that capture the true essence of that particular region. Humor and sarcasm are found throughout the book, which makes it a great leisure read. Through observation, participation and exceptional experiences, Dolgin is able to create riveting travel essays rooted from his travel throughout the world.
The Corsican SwallowTail: Corsica, France
Pilgram had always struck me as one of the more pathetic of Nabakov’s many pathetic characters. A frustrated little man cooped into a small shop in Berlin, he dreamt of the far north and its Arctic bogs, of Italian gardens in the twilight of summer evenings, of the white heathered hills of Madrid. Among these unrealized dreams were the pine woods and the railroad tracks of Vizzavona, in the center of the most beautiful island in the Mediterranean; an island he would never see.
As off-the-beaten-path as Stockholm is, Sodertalje is even more so. This is understandable, since there is almost no reason whatsoever to go to Sodertalje. In fact, just about the only reason one could possibly have to go to Sodertalje can be summarized in the words “Tom Tit’s experiment.”
Tom Tit’s Experiment is a kind of museum, of the type that were popular in the ‘80s, in which one could get one’s hands on the exhibits and experiment, particularly well suited for little hands. There are many of these kinds of museums around the world, and I suppose that if push came to shove one wouldn’t really have to go to Sweden to find a good one, but there is something about Tom Tit’s Experiment that is different.
This will make bubbles big enough to encapsulate a typical Swede.
A to Zagreb: Croatia
There are a number of different ways to organize a systematic exploration of European capitals. You could do it geographically: west to east, for instance, in which case I suppose you’d start in Lisbon (Have I never written about Lisbon? Forgive me if I haven’t it’s a great city.) and end in Istanbul (OK, Moscow is further east, but it doesn’t touch Asia.) Or you could do it chronologically, starting in Athens and ending in Minsk, perhaps (founded only in the eleventh century.) Or, you could do it alphabetically, starting in Amsterdam and ending in Zagreb.
If you choose the latter course then it might occur to you, as you walk around the little streets near the cathedral in Zagreb, that the game’s up…you’re in Zagreb..end of the line, at least from an alphabetical perspective,
In Zagreb, things tend to be scaled down with respect to other cities: the cathedral is nice, but small; the streets are charming, but small; the parks are wonderful and small. It’s true that the parks boast some impressively massive trees, but everything else is kind of, well, dinky.
Dinky can be refreshing sometimes. I mean, you don’t necessarily want to feel overwhelmed everyplace you go. Zagreb is a manageable city, with all the basic city things you’d expect: streets and buildings and the like. It also has the requisite train station with taxis in front and bus stops in front of them. It even has a king-on-the-horse statue. Most Eastern European cities have a king-on-a-horse statue, consisting of a bronze medieval king looking very stern in his armor, sitting on a stern-looking horse while he stares down a McDonald’s or something.
Croatia was usually part of someone else’s kingdom, but they have a king-on-a-horse statue anyway. Their version consists of King Tomislav holding a scepter and looking appropriately mustachioed. When I was there he wasn’t overlooking a McDonald’s, but it did seem like he was checking out a poster for an upcoming Pearl Jam concert. Judging from his expression, he is not enthusiastic about Pearl Jam.
Up from Tomislav Square runs a series of parks, which is in fact part of the “Zagreb Horseshoe,” a broad U of parkland that makes its way across the city. That’s nice. What’s also charming is that these parks are full of couples making out.
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