First let me get the disclaimers out of the way.
Trips to India are so filled with the loving grasping arms of friends and family, certain social obligation meetings, sumptuous meals and kilos of shopping amidst heaving crowds and maddening traffic that they don’t really count as holidays. I think of trips to India more as ‘returns’ to a beloved place, to all things familiar, many things new and that blend of memory and reality. In my very personally tailored dictionary, for any holiday to qualify as long, it has to be 7 days or more. These 7 days can include some travel, though if the trip requires more than 18 hours of travel time (including short stopovers) then it needs to be more than 7. If it’s less than 7 it’s merely a break.
Having disclaimed the returns as holidays and proclaimed what constitutes ‘long’ in my book, it appears that our last long holiday was over 2 years ago in February 2005. Last year we made two short trips to Amsterdam and Bruxelles, one at each end of the year, like bookends to a row of wonderful months.
My first job out of college involved a lot of travel to foreign climes. It was a great job and I got to look at quite a few places before it was time to move on to bigger and better things. The highlight of course was the Tiger. Then came the wedding and this life in London, where we have so many opportunities to travel that the mind boggles. Like with every working couple we know we too have only been held back from traveling more by the 3 usual suspects: the painful processes of begging for visa’s, lack of more time off from work and an overflowing bank account. We have managed to convince visa officers of our honourable intentions and used as much holiday time as our company and budgets have allowed but after a yo-yo year of stressful buying/ peaceful moving into our own home what we really need is a holiday.
Short city breaks are characterized with racing around and trying to fit in as much as is humanly possible into a 2.5 days of a long weekend. Museums with lofty art and sculpture, architecture of eras bygone and new, local flee fruit & veggie markets, show/ theatre/ dance performance, copious amounts of local food, excursions to nearby medieval township/ village known for rare crafts, supermarkets and boutiques to see what they have that we don’t, tram/ metro/ bus/ cab rides to feel the length and breadth of the city. It’s enough to make us come back to work in dire need of another break.
Holidays, in my book only, are characterized by a slower pace of life. A longer, more languid time. To explore and rest in equal measure. Eating our time away with top-notch food, under a band of ever-pleasant weather. Lots of wandering, enjoying the newness of the place and its oh-so different culture and ways of traveling. Ooh-ing and Aah-ing at the sights we never imagined we’d ever see and gazing longingly through shop windows. A firm agenda of lounging by a pool/ beach and devouring books and cocktails like we’d never get this chance again. And of course that hunt for a token souvenir purchase, something exotic and sturdy and unique. So special in fact, that every time we look at it on our return, it conjures up smiling eyes and blue azure sky memories of that holding hands time.
This will be our third such holiday since we got married 5pointsome years ago. Already I can feel the sun on my back and the wind ruffle through my hair.
This is my blog break, London life hiccup, mundane-ness speed bump, bone warming machine, mind enlightening list and gourmet adventure. I’m off to find serenity. First stop: NYC. Second stop: a Caribbean beach.
I better go pack. Seeya in a few weeks peoples......