Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Return of the Bad Traveler--2013i

It sounds so elegant and sophisticated, doesn't it?  'Where did you go?',  'Oh, Paris and London.'  even i feel inpressed with myself when i see that phrase. but once again, perversity wins ut--or at least nibbles at my heels.  i really hadn't wanted to go anywhere.  but since they changed the policy and nw the caslte is closed for the kids' break, i can't stay here.  so i thught it would be nice to see both places, which i have loved, and haven't been to for years.  it would be easy because i know them pretty well--especially london.  but i doundt dig up any excitement for the trip.

at the asme time, i can't dig  up any disappointment.  i was tired all the time, as i am here, or in brookline, or wherever.  so i slept a lot, which felt great.  it's only the usual old demons that bothered me.  one of the reasons i stopped going to london is that i had stopped enjoying it as a tourist. i felt i'd be happy there for 3 or 6 months, on some sort of work project, and live as i do at home--going out when there's something i really want to go out for, and staying home otherwise.  but you can't do that easily when you're paying hotel bills.  or actually, i can't. no, actually i couldn't. now, it turns out, i can.  the little id voice popped in a lot, saying, 'liten, you're in london; go to a museum or a play.'  but there was no theatre in town that appealed to me much--certainly nothing i'd go to if it were playing at home. only 2 museums i felt compelled to see, and those i actually got to.  these were the national gallery and, of course, the portrait gallery. in the national not only did see christine of denmark [who rejected henry 8's courtship, supposedly with the line, 'if i had 2 heads,' i'd gladly give his majesty one.]. and upstairs, the duttch section, with some wonderful vermeers and de hochs.   and later i got to see two very old friends again, which was lovely.

paris too was fun to see, and i got to the louvre with the group.  i have always disliked the louvre as a museum--too many people, too much sensory input from a million paintings. i got a big panic attack, but had te sense to tell the guide i was leaving, and found my way to the only paintings i cared about--holbein's portrait of anne of cleves.  i kept getting lost and panicky, and took a couple of tranquilizers, which worked but knocked me out later. no matter. a peaceful and almost solitary visit with anne, which made it all worth while. she's still hanging out with erasmus, and for the firt time i had noticed at the portrait gallery in london that christine of denmark is also right by erasmus.  i did enjoy this a lot--2 unlikely companions for the great philosopher.  when i left Anne in paris, i got to see also Marguerite of austria, and her english aunt.  between all that and the two city bu tours, i saw all i needed--and slept a lot.  no drama, but a worthy time.

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