Dreams of traveling the world

I was talking to a friend on twitter a few weeks ago about traveling the world. It’s weird how many plans we have us housebound people. If I could, I’d leave tomorrow and see everything I had planned to before the illness took my body.

I have a little list over places I want to go, there are probably a lot more but these are for starters:

  • Angkor – It fascinated me from an early age, we had a book about the hidden wonders of the world. The archaeological work being done there now is truly amazing. The temple and palace complex and the city and surrounding canals and waterways are feats of engineering not surpassed many places.
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Angkor Wat, photo : Andy / Thousandwonders.net 

 

  • Mali – Mali has an fascinating history that we learn next to nothing about in history classes in the west.  That goes for all the African cultures and empires. Did you know that the Mali empire was  two times bigger than France and a hub of mathematics, astronomy and literature? The preservation of ancient manuscripts has followed family lines and is still an unexplored avenue for academics.
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Photo: bbc.com

  • Alps – French, Italian, Swiss side, I don’t care much. Just want some really tall mountains and stunning landscapes. Maybe I could take my mom and go see Le Tour de France going up Alpe d’Huez.
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Photo: wikimedia commons

  • Alhambra – I found the history of muslim ruled Spain interesting taking history at university but what really got me inspired was reading Guy Gavriel Kays The Lions of Al-Rassan.

 

  • Japan – I want to see the countryside. Nature aside, the craftsman side of Japan is fascinating. I think we can argue that Japan has been very good at keeping traditional skills going, much better than we have in the west.
  • The European mini states: San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta, Monaco and the Vatican State.
  • Kilimanjaro – My knees will probably never be up to proper climbing again but I believe the walk up to the crater is relatively easy if long.
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Photo: wikimedia commons

 

  • Machu Picchu – It’s on everyone’s list, but I have a genuine interest in Inca culture and I want to see it.
  • Knossos – I’ve been once before but was in my early teens on the worst trip ever so I don’t remember much. Also, Crete is delightful and well worth a trip anyway.
  • Visiting everyone who wants to see me wherever you are

2002

 

Best part of the summer is starting today

Every year I watch the Tour de France. Pro cycling is the only sport I follow these days, and le Tour is the big event of the year. It’s the only sport I share an interest for with my mom. I’ve tried many times to explain why I find it so fascinating and I’ll try again here.

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The history of the race is long and involved. It only stopped for war, and when war was over it picked tight back up again with limited infrastructure and barley any equipment. That’s not true today of course, the teams have budgets in the hundreds of millions each year and the support system for the 9 riders of each team in a grand tour is pretty large. There are bus drivers for the team busses, there are masseurs, doctors and physiotherapists. There’s a professional team of cooks often with an executive chef that has done his or her time in top restaurants (the riders eat and drink around 8000 kcal a day during the race). There are team managers, equipment managers and mechanics.

My mom and I were in London a few years back following the start of the tour. I didn’t manage to do much more than stay in the fanpark although I was having a good period, but my mom was following the riders down from the start in York and she really had a blast. I got a fabulous sunburn on my face as well this day. Don’t forget sunblock when you spend a whole day outside.

What I find so fascinating about the sport is the mixture of highly trained sportsmen (and women), the long long races, the fantastic vistas of wherever they are (France usually brings it to 11) and the gentlemen’s agreements that still exists in a professional sport that is over a 100 years old. The personalities of the racers, some you like, some you don’t. The team managers and owners making a spectacle. Sitting with your hearth in your throat when the big and the small crashes happens. Hoping no one gets seriously hurt. It’s not exactly relaxing but I love it anyway.

By the way, if you happen to watch TV the final day, the pro women’s team gets to race and finish with a sprint on the Champs Elysee a couple of hours before the men come in. They are savage!