We have just wrapped up the 2012 World to the Wise cultural tour. My wife Becky and I said goodbye to some perhaps travel-weary but no less satisfied people at Heathrow airport, while we prepared to take a few days in the Midlands and Lake District to decompress.
One of the most gratifying moments at each destination was seeing their faces when confronted with the wonders of human achievement. In Rome, for example, as soon as you come out of the metro (what Americans call subway), BAM! the Coliseum towers above you like a toothy-grinned giant. Nothing can prepare you for its imposing presence. In Paris, we took the metro from the right bank headed south; at a certain point, the train that is mostly underground becomes overground, and BAM! the Eiffel Tower looms larger than life over the Seine and the great city it adorns.
One's senses would have to be entirely dulled not to appreciate these wonders; many other things, however -- some more subtle -- awaited discovery and marveling. The gentle hills of Tuscany, home to countless olive groves and vineyards; the reminders from the Renaissance that changed the course of human history; or the awe-inspiring majesty of St. Peter's Basilica or Westminster Abbey drew more gapes and gasps than I could count.
The next few posts on this blog will be musings on this life-changing experience -- an experience which sharpens and cultivates what I like to call marvelability.