Living in the UK, Poland is an easy and cheap destination to head to. Regular flights from all of London's airports (including the evil that is Luton), a currency that is still relatively cheap (Poland does not have the Euro, so the Zloty is something our useless currency can afford) and drinkable water (though the Polish would not be caught dead drinking from the tap). Poland also has remarkably pretty cities, which are easily accessible for a city break from the UK. If only we had a buoyant (debt fueled) economy that could support such last minute escapades to frivolous destinations. Wait, is this a political tirade or a look back at a pleasant holiday? Oh, here's a pretty pic of the Cathedral:
I need to take more holidays. And this year has been filled with a couple of cheap European holidays that surprisingly I have never done before. I have always eschewed the short haul city break in favour of more long haul flights. It is interesting that while many of my peers are now getting the taste of long distance travel (one person recently asked me for advice on a journey to Mexico), I am doing the opposite and beginning to explore Europe.
Part of that is a fact of life. When I was younger time was rich and money was poor, so to get more bang for my buck, I spent big on the airfare but made sure I was in a particular land for at least one month, and I made sure it was cheap. So I went to a lot of far flung destinations. As time shifts, money becomes greater and time becomes less, the focus shifted to Europe. Instead of spending 24 hours on a return trip, I spend four or five for my travels on the air, allowing more time at my destination. I also can afford European prices, plus, very importantly, time is more squeezed by necessity. And here is another pretty pic of another Poznan church, to prove that the European short break is alive and well:
Part of me knew this a long time ago . When people ten years ago were asking me why I never bothered with Europe, I told then that I would when I could afford to. And part of that shift also reflects life. In your twenties, you are invincible. Crazy destinations, death defying foodstuffs and a single man exploring the world. But as you edge into your thirties, the body and the mindset changes. Hey, it is time to age a bit gracefully!
While it is cool to back pack, hitch hike and generally muck about with as many women as possible while 23, doing it ten years later looks a bit odd and at 43 is positively barmy. Also I cannot digest cucumber skins. The first sign of aging, when different foods begin to negatively impact on your body. For some reason, it was cucumber skins that got me to first think about my own mortality. Wait a minute, is this a look back at a pretty European city or a treatise about life? Here's a pic of some modern art in Poznan to soothe those nerves:
And yes, what I do on holiday has changed a lot. On my recent European trips, I have been doing more...well, sedate things. That is partly due to the fact that Europe, from an adventuring point of view is pretty sedate. I have been hitting the galleries and the cafes instead of the mountains and the deserts. In Europe, everything is smaller, the climate is easy, and let me be honest, as an EU citizen, the visas are easy (non existent). The whole holiday begins easier, so I continue it that way. Contrast that to my recent long haul to Sri Lanka where it can be hell just to cross the country (and it is a tiny island) or even my adventure in 2009 to India where the North East provided me with some fascinating glimpses into how powerless us humans can be against the forces of nature and poor planning. Oh well, I have already got my next holiday booked, yes it is to another European destination, and it is a new country, so it will be number 34 on the list! But I got another 7 weeks to go until that holiday, so the mystery will remain for a while longer until I reveal to you all, dear reader, where I will next travel to. Until then, here is one last look back at Poznan, through the eyes of another camera...