I am resisting going back to my old workaholic totally responsible, conscientious ways in an attempt to cling on to that relaxed holiday feeling as long as possible. Alas it will not last.
The most frequently asked question this week was, “What was your favourite part of your holiday?” This is so hard to answer. So many parts of our five weeks away from home had their special people, moments, places and memories.
The most culturally different place for me was Hong Kong. The sounds and smells were quite foreign to me as there were no words I could recognise or decipher and the spices that I had mainly smelt in Asian grocery stores hung pungently in the humid air. I enjoyed seeing the food and the markets but will never forget the assassination of the giant red cod on the road outside a fishmonger’s stall.
Switzerland was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. We could see the beauty of snow capped peaks from my cousin’s large living room windows. The old but well maintained buildings, cobbled streets, Easter decorations, and breads that differed from town to town plus the hushed conversations in the cosy cafes were a stark contrast to our first destination. Also the experience of swimming in a giant hot spring swimming pool will remain a pleasant memory.
We will definitely try to return to Sorrento on the Bay of Naples. Staying in the quieter old part of the town and eating fresh simple fare at the cafe owned by the fishing co-op was an experience that we would enjoy repeating.
Our visit to Pompeii made us reflect on the vulnerability of human civilisation and to be amazed at the sophistication of their ancient way of life.
‘Sicily’ will bring to mind warm, generous people who live in a land of well preserved Greek ruins and Asian influences eating abundant fresh produce. It will also remind us that we are no match for Italian roads and their drivers.
After the confusion with street signs in Sicily we found London with its maps on frequent corners and its well ordered ways a slight relief. We enjoyed being able to buy take-away porridge for breakfast and drinking tea. Visiting the British Museum left us with the impression that there were more ancient treasures in it than there are remaining in the ancient world.
‘Picturesque’ was a word coined by William Wordsworth and his friends in the Lakes District. This word could have been applied to all the rural areas of England that we visited, north and south. The New Forest was full of thatched roofs, wild ponies and quaint villages. The Lakes District was a picture perfect painting at every turn, from shady woods to fields fenced by dry stone walls and the open wild country of the fells and downs.
New York was abuzz with life. Here, people move and talk quickly. They also use every moment of any fine, sunny weather to enjoy their urban open spaces. My enduring memory will be of Union Square which was a small island of humanity, singing, playing football, skating, busking, chatting and reading all on less than a hectare of space surrounded by streams of traffic.
Our last resting place was Hawaii, where we did very little except enjoy its postcard moments and the hospitality of its inhabitants.
Rested and ready to return to work? Definitely rested but maybe not quite ready yet.