Posted by: mdmusingsie | October 24, 2010

I left my heart in Europe

As I’ve been packing things away I came across the handwritten journal from my first solo trip to Europe in 1986. I had booked a program through U.C. Santa Barbara called Theatre in England. I’ve always loved Shakespeare and we would be seeing plays (Shakespearean and others) in Stratford and London as well as discussing them with actors and other members of the company, including the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I decided that for posterity, I should type up my journal, as it was somewhat disorganized (written on a lined legal-style pad, intermixed with synopsis of the plays and other notes about where we had to be when). I did keep the original language (I was a very poor writer; at least journal-wise, and lacked a lot of detail I should have put in, but caught the essence of some of my experiences).

On this trip I had gone over about 10 days early to see other places besides London and Stratford, and ended up taking the train around Germany. That was quite an adventure, being on my own and not speaking a word of German. I ate too often at the Golden Arches, but hey, I was young, on my own, and trying to watch my pennies. It no longer bothers me to eat in a nice restaurant by myself, but I was much shyer back then.

Patrick Stewart, before he went to America and became really famous, was a good friend of the director of the tour, Professor Harold Swander, and often came to our classes to discuss the plays we had seen. I have pictures of him from one of the class sessions. We even saw the first run of Les Miserables. Jeremy Irons was in one of the plays, but I don’t have him down as one of the guest speakers. If my mind remembers correctly, and that’s always a gamble, I think he was scheduled to attend one of our gatherings but had to cancel for some reason. His wife may have come instead.

I stood in line for over an hour to get a ticket to one of only two performances Rudolph Nureyev was dancing in Copellia. He was almost 50 at the time, but was still an amazing dancer.

It was an interesting trip down memory lane; and unlike sorting through old school doc’s; worth the effort of typing up the journal notes. What struck me most was the last line on the last day – I really don’t want to leave. That sentiment is how I feel every time I visit Europe. Maybe it’s the history; maybe it’s the castles; maybe it’s the quaintness of the towns; or maybe I just have a travel bug, but it’s the same every time I go – I never want the journey to end. It’s not without its hardships, but when I’m there I feel more like I’m home than anywhere else I’ve lived. Hopefully I will be there permanently very soon so the adventures may resume.


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