Journey: an exhilarating strategy to research historical past

The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, finest recognized for his fairy tales, as soon as stated, “To travel is to live.”

Within the 19th century when he was writing, journey was a uncommon alternative reserved for under essentially the most adventurous and well-heeled. Andersen got here from humble beginnings however the recognition of his books made him capable of journey, and journey he did all through Europe, the Close to East and Africa. His experiences helped him to create tales that touched folks of varied cultures in addition to ages.

Journey may be exhausting, irritating and inconvenient. Then there’s the monetary dedication that may put leisure journey out of attain for a lot of. And but, if it may be managed, there’s nothing that can enrich the soul greater than seeing and studying about new locations. There’s an Asian proverb that goes one thing like this, “Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.”

My formal schooling in world historical past was by no means nice, and life experiences again and again have taught me how little I learn about the remainder of the world. Journey has helped immensely to fill within the gaps and equally, it has sparked my curiosity to be taught extra.

So listed below are among the issues I realized on a latest journey to the Mediterranean area of Europe.

The Catalans, those that reside in northeastern Spain the place Barcelona is the most important metropolis, converse a distinct language from the remainder of the nation and lots of need to create their very own impartial nation.

Croatia is a spectacularly lovely place with cities that date to Roman occasions. Cities almost destroyed within the Bosnian conflict of the 1980s are actually rebuilding thanks largely to vacationer {dollars}.

Pompeii is called the city frozen in time when the volcano Vesuvius erupted close to Naples, Italy, within the first century A.D., burying it in ash and molten rock. On the similar time, there was one other lesser-known city, Herculaneum, nearer to the ocean that succumbed to superheated mud, killing the some 4,000 residents in a matter of seconds and preserving elaborate tiled flooring and frescoes. Its existence was found in 1707, a number of years earlier than a surveyor realized of the situation of Pompeii.

In Corfu, Greece, we had been a part of the Oct. 28 celebration that marks the day in 1940 when Greek leaders instructed Mussolini they’d no intention of being overtaken by Italy as World Warfare II started. This resistance, which finally value some 400,000 Greek lives, was yet one more nail in Hitler’s coffin. We had the pleasure of having fun with lunch at a sidewalk cafe as marching bands handed by and households picnicked close to the ocean.

Venice, we realized, was established on swampland by Roman residents who took refuge when Attila the Hun invaded the mainland within the fifth century A.D. These modern folks realized to adapt to their new state of affairs and constructed their metropolis into a significant buying and selling location between Europe and the Far East. The well-known St. Mark’s Sq. is known as for the patron saint whose bones had been smuggled out of Egypt so as to add legitimacy to their model of Roman Catholicism.

Uniformly, what I realized concerning the locations we visited is that the residents are intensely happy with their county and desperate to share it with guests. Virtually in all places, English is known and spoken simply. The accents could also be unfamiliar however it’s good to do not forget that to them, we have now accents, too.

For these schooled in historic historical past, none of this can be new. However being there, seeing the place folks have lived, overcome adversity and thrived over the centuries was enlightening. Practically in all places we went we heard of the hardships — the wars, the despotic leaders who killed indiscriminately, the plagues that decimated the inhabitants and the pure disasters, together with earthquakes, floods and the like.

Then there was the proof of what the poet Robert Burns known as man’s inhumanity to man. The enslavement of teams of individuals seen as of lesser worth, the wars that eradicated populations within the title of God, the caste system that relegated sure folks by heritage to a meager existence. Some issues don’t change.

And but, folks go on; they farm the land, construct cities, nurture households. They create examples of lovely artwork, produce music and literary works that final by the centuries. They protect locations of nice magnificence and consider in a future that’s higher than immediately.

Journey to international lands is an exhilarating expertise. It reinforces the magnificence of the human race and the commonality of our existence. It could be nicely to comply with the recommendation of Confucius: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Kathy Silverberg is former writer of the Herald-Tribune’s southern editions. She may be reached at [email protected] or adopted on Twitter @kdsilver.

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