Most workers in America do not travel. Heck, so many of the lucky workers who actually have paid leave, do not even use it all. Instead they stockpile it for a ‘rainy day,” or so I presume, since I am not one of these workers. But what for? It’s something I simply do not understand. Actually, I find it rather sad. For many, who do take leave – a week at home, relaxing or, at best, a cruise is all they need to recharge. In our family, we recharge a totally different way. Our family call them “Reynolds’ rallies!”
Anyone who knows me at work, will attest to the fact that I am the most unadventurous person, and this is true. I am a cataloguer – need I say more? But what only a few know, is that I am terrified of planes. Well yes, I am terrified of most things, freeways included, but planes, they have a special place. Being married to a “would be nomad,” I’ve had to find ways to conquer this fear – namely pills. I do not wish to be accused of advertising a particular brand of drug, so I shall just call them “my little green, magic pills.” For they truly are magic. But figuring out how many to take, and when, has been an adventure. One involving a complete loss of 24 hours of memory on one vacation to South Africa. Just when I think I have perfected it, travel throws me a curveball.
This time, it was the two hour flight from Istanbul to Vienna. Used to the long-haul flights of 10 plus hours, this was a challenge. I needed enough medicine to work but not enough to put me out. I did however forget to take into account the trip from the airport, by metro, then train, then walking to the hotel, all with two suitcases and an over-the-shoulder bag. All I can say is thank goodness I will never see those people again – the ones who picked me up from the floor or helped me off the escalator. And for those of you who may have been worried, no, I did not get hurt, I was way too relaxed! My family are used to me, so they nonchalantly keep walking, steadfastly refusing to resist the urge to turn around, just to see what “Mom” is up to now! But our daughter, Mbali, at 10 years old, has not quite perfected this art that my other two children have. So this time, I did get some help from hubby!
Of course the pills were an added benefit for the trip by shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport. Turkey is a very hospitable country. Our hotel clerk and assistant carried our luggage out to the shuttle for us, loaded it, helped us in the bus and then stood in the middle of the narrow road waving goodbye. “Lovely people!” I thought. A short five minutes later, I realized it was probably more a case of them knowing this taxi driver and were out there to wave us goodbye and send up a prayer to Allah for our safety. Well, as I say, lovely people!
The purpose of a Reynolds vacation… oops rally, is to arrive at one’s destination, drop all luggage onto the hotel/hostel/dive/fleabag motel/whatever floor as fast as possible and head out onto the streets, on foot, to experience the sights and culture. Then to proceed, to pack in as much sightseeing in a day as is humanly possible. That way, when you finally hit the sack – it really doesn’t matter what your surroundings are like.
I am convinced that the best part of a vacation, for my husband, is the planning and research phase. He will devote weeks to finding as many things to do and see and, quite honestly, I believe he is better than Fodor’s or any other guide we may have in our Library system, for they just focus on the best places to eat and shop. And we know there is more to travel than that. So really the two and a half days we had in Istanbul, two and a half in Vienna, one in Warsaw and three and a half in Moscow, made this trip a breeze.
This view of the street in Vienna, Austria shows pedestrian lanes, tram lanes and car lanes all in one.
One hundred and ten walking miles later (and I believe this to be a gross underestimate since my Fitbit failed me), we are the proud owners of 1124 of photos. Thank God for digital, we can take way more! Plus a ton of the most wonderful memories.
For anyone who is interested in travel guides, check them out at the Library before deciding to buy one! They start in the non-fiction section, under 914.
While travel guides can get you started, it can be fun to just wing it once you’re there!
This is Part 1 of a three-part travel series. Stay tuned for the next two Wednesdays to read the next installments!