Aug 13, 2008

On Coming Home

I just returned to Toledo after spending over two weeks in a variety of cities in the Iberian Peninsula on a trip that turned out to be spent far more on vacation than research, unless you consider cultural immersion to be a legitimate form of research. In that time I polished my skills in speaking Portuguese and Spanish, visited a ton of historical sites, and learned a great deal about places I previously only experienced through films and books.

Yet I missed my house, my family, and my dogs, and it was with considerable joy that I pulled up in my driveway late this evening after spending 14 hours traveling from Barcelona to Paris to Detroit.

I think that - at least for me - 10 days is a sufficient amount of time to travel, and that trips longer than this create more stres than they alleviate. I found myself increasingly looking forward to the day I flew back, and the last few days in Lisbon and Barcelona lost their novelty.

But being away from home conversely makes a person appreciate the place more, and I found myself drifting away from Iberian restaurants and castles, wondering instead what was happening at home. I especially missed the companionship of my dogs, whose absence made me seek out canines to pet in Spain and Portugal.

Finally, there is simply no substitute for the everyday comforts of home. I quickly tired of European-style single beds in which my lanky frame meant that my feet hung over the edges of the beds, and there is much to be said for having easy access to a washer and dryer. I washed my clothes in the sink for the past week, and - though clean - they still gathered a scent that can only be described as "funky."

Home, sweet home: perhaps sometimes dull, but everything you need is right there. The same cannot be said for even the finest cruises, although I wouldn't mind a maid and a ship's steward around the house.


Carol said...

Welcome home, Mike! Glad you had a good trip and that your trip was a smooth one.

Thanks for sharing your travels via the blog. Many of us will never see that part of the world, so to live vicariously is important.

Historychic said...

Welcome home Mike. Glad you had a great trip.

dr-exmedic said...

I still don't understand why Europe has adopted McDonald's, but has been so damn slow to adapt our beds.

Welcome back.

Oliver said...

Main Lady: Who do you miss most, me or the dog?

Long silence.

ML: I knew it!

I'm glad you got back without being bent, spindled or mutilated along the way.

microdot said...

Even worse than the short beds in the hotels are the long roll o'pillow...
My neck rebels at the very thought.

The McDonalds? Have you ever had a McTartiflette? Me neither, but I am very curious.

historymike said...

Thanks, Carol. For too long I have lived vicariously, and I vow to do life this way no longer.

historymike said...

Thanks, Carol. For too long I have lived vicariously, and I vow to do life this way no longer.

historymike said...

Thanks historychic. Hope all is well with you and your family. How's the new house?

historymike said...

Dr. Ex-Medic:

I maanged to avoid all American chains in the Iberian Peninsula save one: Dunkin' Donuts. I caved and ate a Bavarian creme doughnut at a metro DD last week.

historymike said...


Yes, except for jet lag, it was a healthy and safe trip.

historymike said...


Yes, what IS it with that pillow-roll? Impossible to fold over, and like putting your head on a section of carpeting.

BTW - does an American ever get used to a bidet? I could not get past the idea that other people had already been swooshing their privates, though the same could be said about bathtubs (I always shower).