Upon Returning

There was an illustration of how elastic time felt when I was away: on the last night of my trip, back in London with my friends Derrick and Caroline, she asked if I wanted to see the second half of the Prince Andrew documentary, the first half of which I had watched with them when I had stayed before going to Amsterdam. Did you record it, I asked. No, came the response, part one was just a week ago, now it’s time for part two.

I did pack a lot in during that week: a couple of nights in Amsterdam, a night in Brussels and two in Paris. Having very little agenda for that time beyond the Vermeer exhibition and having dinner with my brother and his wife, my nephew and his girlfriend in Belgium, I spend a lot of those days walking. 

Although I couldn’t remember much about Amsterdam from my previous visit, I lived in both Brussels (for a few months) and Paris (where I taught for a year while I was in college), and  traveled to them many times apart from that, so in those cities I was more inclined to revisit places that felt meaningful and that I wanted to see again: a few favourite museums in Paris (I had thought to go to the Musée d’Orsay on Sunday morning, but the crowds outside were ridiculous); particular squares or streets, quiet green spaces, a few old buildings. While there had still been some bare trees in England, generally the colours of spring were alive across the Channel; it also warmed up a bit in the last few days, so I was glad I had packed some shorts.

I don’t often get to take real time off like that, so I made the most of it, and felt very relaxed by the time I was done. The train trips were all smooth and comfortable as I watched the landscapes slide by at high speed, something that I always find restful (I idly wondered to myself if I had managed to total up a whole day on trains). Mostly I ate well, and was happy not to be concerned about the cost of meals, or regular coffees and pastries. Even the flight home was free of hindrances – at least until I got to the passport check at SFO, which seemed terribly understaffed.

Naturally I have been going to bed and waking up even earlier than usual. I had a terrible headache my first day back, and I am glad I have been able to ease myself back into regular activities. The sun is trying to come out in the city, but it still seems caught in the ghosts of winter. I hope that today’s roam will be a warm one.

Reflections from the last morning in Amsterdam.
The view from my room in Paris – I am posting a larger selection of trip photos on my Patreon page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s