The Grand Tour

Imagine yourself being an 18th century traveler in Italy like Byron or later Goethe, hiring a so called cicerone (local knowledgeable tour guide) to take a deep dive in Rome`s classical beauty and secrets. You are roaming the streets of Trastevere, soaking up the sometimes decadent yet so vibrant atmosphere of small alleys, buying a print from local artists, drinking a bit sour though heavy Chianti in a recess osteria. Sounds like a very insider experience, doesn’t it?

In the time of enlightenment of 18th Europe empirical learning, experience through our senses and acquiring our very own, individual knowledge on the world was an important and popular answer to the sometimes rigid rationalism. This individual learning and cognitive procedure culminated in the concept of the Grand Tour during which wealthy, mainly British young noblemen (later women) traveled through France and Italy in search of art, culture and the roots of western civilization. They often hired a local guide who helped them not only get to know the famous landmarks, but also to lead them into the local community, to practice the local language. All they wanted was to get a truly authentic experience and turning the act of travelling into learning rather than consuming. Though they didn’t loathe pleasures during their stay and consumption was good part of their journey,  which we all do as well, their first and foremost motivation was self improvement and learning, being ready for their career as diplomats or public servants back home. That is another question that all this was also expected in their social status…

I`v came across a really interesting book  recently edited by Lisa Colletta  – when I turned it over after a few pages I felt that this book made the point! This is what I am also trying to catch and express – what are the different motivations for travel and what travel really means to me. And this is – I guess – the excitement and contentment what learning and experiencing gives to me as well as how these enrich myself.

Having said that what I am really interested in is to learn the context, what made the city and its people the way they are today. The past two years has been an immensely intensive period in terms of new stimuli. We`v been through so many experiences that I am truly afraid if I don’t organize them the right way I will forget the tiny little details I want to remember so much of my travels. I would like to create a travel journal for my husband and myself but why not to share it with you, guys, as well?  I simply am lucky enough to call travelling and organizing trips a hobby of mine. We live in the Philippines; do a totally ordinary job at a MNC while we are trying to grab every public holidays, long weekends and annual leaves to travel in the region. Descriptions will be subjective of course. Though I am striving to be as accurate and thorough as I can, it is quite challenging, as we only spend a couple of days at each place. Yet I don’t intent to be judgmental and I try to stay away from criticism.  Again, I just want to understand the places – and love every one of them for their uniqueness in their own way.

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