Monday, August 01, 2005

We’re going to Denmark this week – a new country for us, even a new part of Europe. I’m looking forward to it with an anticipation that seems to have forgotten that two year olds and traveling don’t quite meet rapturously.

After a quick round of “If-I-Will-U,” Will legged it through Saturday’s heat wave to Luxor books, down on Vaclavske Namesti, for a copy of the Lonely Planet’s Copenhagen guide. It’s the 2005 edition, newly redesigned and surprisingly readable. I spent Caroline’s nap greedily consuming it, sticky noting museums, restaurants, areas of town that we could see. By nap’s end, the book bristled like an origami porcupine, and what had seemed an amorphous trip - something happening in a few days, too much stuff to get done before we leave to think about sort of thing – suddenly became exciting and real.

I tried to remember the last time I’d really relied on a guidebook and realized it had been years ago, just before we moved to Europe. In the month between quitting my job and moving over, we bought every book we could find on the Czech Republic and Prague and poured over them as if they were magical tablets, holding the key to getting by in a foreign country. In the end they didn’t really answer our questions about how to live here, but they kept us busy for those weeks and, when we arrived, were the first books on our shelves - totems of all the books we’d left behind.

This weekend’s reading was more light hearted. I’m not worried about figuring out how to live somewhere, just how to pleasantly fill five days. I know, in general, what to do when traveling - what to look for when you land in an airport, how to use a metro, how to convert korunas to krone. All the basics set aside, I can concentrate on creating a fantasy schedule where we see everything and the weather is perfect, and then a real one, taking into account time, a toddler and a weather forecast that seems to indicate rain for seven days straight. Fun stuff, this day dreaming, and I almost understand a friend who traveled to Venice and spent her first day sitting in a hotel room pouring over the Venice Dorling Kindersly guide book because the pictures were so good. But not quite.


Ellen said...

but you read our guide books about the Dodecanese....

Julia said...

I just glanced through it - but I didn't plan anything. Ya'll did a fabulous job of that.