The Second Start

Dreams do come true! Here I was, embarking on my second trip to Europe. The way I felt was certainly different to what I felt before I set out on my first trip which I was sure would teach me to hear, see, feel things in a different way. I will never be the same person I was last summer when I was expecting for a magic fairytale to unravel and make me experience all those emotions I could have never thought I would feel.
This time round it wasn’t going to be a fairytale but rather a beautiful, stunning reality I would be creating against the backdrop of what my sweetheart, my gorgeous Europe would have in store for me. Even though this part of the world already had my heart and soul, I knew I might not get to experience that “wow-effect” the way I did the first time I set foot there. It’s the same as you can go from puppy love to real love and become more alert against some pitfalls which may emerge. We all know life and love in particular is not a bed of roses. Roses can have thorns. That’s why my expectations were reasonably high and for me this trip was an opportunity to get another chance to discover Europe and see if my feelings that kept me high through my first trip would blossom into real love or just go downhill (I knew there was still a chance of that happening).
I was feeling more like an adult, seasoned traveler and was more consistent in how I prepared for this trip. Maybe that was due to me learning to see, hear and feel differently indeed. The streets I’d walked and the air I’d breathed certainly got to me and made me even more sentimental but, strangely enough, more realistic. Is this what happens as you get older? Thoughts of my trip didn’t keep me up at night but they featured in my lovely, sweet dreams and made me smile to a new day in the morning. I admit my sleeping patterns aren’t too healthy but thinking of this new more mature experience made getting out of my bed in the morning so much more worthwhile.
As part of getting myself more organized, I tried to become more knowledgeable about the history of the places I was going to visit to become more aware of their cultural significance. And this is what I call a far-reaching educational benefit of travelling.
Even though I made a list of things I’d be taking with me, packing was rather elaborate and I couldn’t avoid last-minute preparations and the number of outfits in my suitcase showed how much I was in love with Europe and was trying to dress to impress.
What happened next was like a dejavu to me. Getting on the train to Moscow with my new lovely suitcase in my hand, thinking how this new trip would turn out and more importantly, enjoying the company of the people I love. Everything was pretty much as it was last year, apart from the fact we all felt less anxious. And more one thing – we got drenched in a heavy rain in Moscow and our habitual walk along the Red Square was soaking wet! The flowers which were on display as part of the 120th birthday celebrations of the main department store (GUM) were also soaking wet but no less charming. We enjoyed a Russian-style meal inside the department store because the weather wasn’t good for a leisure stroll. It seems like everyone at the café was Russian and it would have been of interest to see some overseas diners and their reactions to our cuisine. Some foreigners in souvenir shops buying expensive Russian extravaganza (which looked like a part of a king’s attire) made me smile. It would be just a day before we would be pretty much like them except for the fact we wouldn’t be splashing out on souvenirs.
Just as we did the previous year, we met up with our group and most of them looked like first-time travellers and in a way I wished I was as well because it was a bit sad to realize it would never feel as fresh and new as it did the first time round. But what I was feeling was beyond doubt new. If those people were just to say a quick, humble “Hi!” to Europe, I was just about to “Hi, beautiful! How have you been since I was away?” That “been there, done that” feeling was what was totally new and it should have been because it was a totally new experience I was ready to embrace. Luggage – checked, paperwork – checked, a good spirits – checked!
Off we go again! Europe, I missed you a lot!

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