“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Regular readers will know – even though we’re often told that travel is about the journey not the destination – that I’m not a huge fan of long haul flights, especially cooped up in cattle class, jemmied in to a seat that’s cramped and uncomfortable, for what seems like an endless endurance test. Where once upon a time there was a certain romance to flying, the era of price-gauging bums-in-seats mass-transit travel has not just tarnished the experience but rubbed the silver polish right off. While there are still glimmers of joy, it’s mostly an ordeal to get through in order to reach the other side.
And yet… And yet there’s still something magical about boarding a giant metal bird and traipsing out a few hours later half way around the world. There’s still excitement to be had in gazing down over cotton-wool clouds and miniature landscapes far below. There’s still delight about the approach of a much-anticipated trip that’s finally about to happen. (Perhaps that’s why I so often find the homeward flight more exhausting – I look forward to sleeping in my own bed but that can never match the thrill of heading away!)
Ask me when I’m sat waiting to board in the airport, or after the first few hours squeezed into a tiny seat and I’ll be wishing the flight were already over, muttering not-very-complimentary thoughts about the entire experience.
Ask me when I’m walking around at home and look up to see a plane scrawling trails of white across the sky… that’s when, eyes turned skywards, I long to be on-board, wishing I could take the place of those willing cattle, dreaming about the next place I am heading off to see.
This image was taken just after take-off on the way home from a wonderful short trip to the Alentejo in portugal. You can just make out the ‘Ponte 25 de Abril’, an incredible suspension bridge across the Tagus River, between Lisbon and Almada.
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