Tired of looking at interesting things

You don’t even have to travel to Europe to feel this syndrome. Sometimes I refer to it as being “cathedraled out” or “palaced out”. In fact, when my sister and I were in France, we opted not to tour the Papal palace in Avignon because we had done an extensive tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid three days before and we were just done with looking at expensive things. It is a difficult phenomenon to articulate or explain to others, because everything about the phrase, “Yeah, I’ve been traveling for so long, I’m just tired of eating in nice restaurants” sounds ridiculous. How can you have too MUCH good food?

I say this as a prelude to giving the total of places I visited this past year, because there were so many more places I would have liked to go. I didn’t do Germany or any of the British Isles, unless you count multiple layovers in Heathrow to be visiting London. There were also places within Spain that I didn’t visit: I didn’t hike any of the Camino de Santiago or go to Galicia, and I didn’t see the aqueduct in Segovia or the university in Salamanca, and I went through Zaragoza twice and didn’t stop, and I didn’t go to La Rioja either. And my excuse for that is this: by the time I got to Granada and was studying furiously for my exam, I was tired and homesick, and my body was in complete revolt against Spanish food and weather. In short, I was just tired of looking at interesting things. So, I didn’t accomplish every trip I wanted to, but even so, I traveled a LOT in just one academic year.

There are 17 autonomous communities in Spain, and I visited 9 of them on this trip, some more extensively than others. I also drove (well, my dad drove) through a tenth – seeing all of Extremadura on our way to Cadiz. Of the 47 countries in Europe, I visited 4, one of which was Gibraltar, and I also visited one country in Northern Africa – Morocco. I hit 6 beaches in Spain, one in Morocco, and 2 in Portugal. I’ve been in 20 churches and 3 royal palaces, and stood outside 2 more royal palaces and numerous mosques that we weren’t allowed in, and I’ve been to 2 of the 3 remaining synagogues in Spain from the Convivencia. I’ve seen the tombs of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand and Isabella, Juana la Loca, all the Spanish kings from Carlos V onwards, Chopin, and millions of Holocaust victims, and I’ve seen the birthplace of Picasso. I can’t even count the number of museums I have visited.

At a certain point, you need to decompress, or you have absolutely no perspective on what you have seen and done. So although I’m sad to be away from Spain and Europe in general, I’m glad I have this time to analyze my time there and gain an appreciation for all those stats I listed above. And, as travelers are fond of saying to each other in hostels, “It just means that you have to come back and visit Europe again!”


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