My Virtual Vacation Travel Journal
My father was not able to venture far from bed so my mother couldn’t go anywhere and I certainly couldn’t travel far either. I would have taken them on one of the cruises where caregiver support and nursing care are included. But we were interdependently locked on land in Florida. I needed a vacation; a serious mind expanding trip where I could feel like the me I longed to return to. So I “traveled” virtually to Europe for a week and did all the things that I enjoy when I travel. Scenery, culture, food, music, and unique to the area experiences. My favorite thing, the idea of meeting new people, I could not replicate exactly. Maybe next trip.
Here’s my journal and some of my favorite trip photos:
DAY 1 AMSTERDAM
To begin my virtual vacation, I landed in Amsterdam and went to the Van Gogh Museum. I have always enjoyed the pieces of Van Gogh I’ve seen at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and when I’ve been able to catch the traveling exhibits on occasion. But the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum has an exceptional series of seven videos of the different rooms/floors of the museum. The artwork is stunning. The music is perfect. And the filming brings you in close to see the incredible brush work, while the lighting against dark background walls really accented the genius that was/is Van Gogh.
I was able to let the videos run on auto so that each video ended and the next one started, like I had walked into another room, climbed to another floor. I actually felt like I was walking from room to room. As a museum and gallery lover, I never expected to enjoy this as much as I did.
I guess I am grateful to Covid for showing me that even though I am caregiver for my parents and really can’t leave the area that often or for that long, I don’t have to feel isolated and unable to travel or deny myself the opportunity to enjoy culture. Just because I don’t live in New York City and surrounds anymore, I am not deprived. Technology allows us to enjoy many things that even fifteen years ago we would never have dreamed was possible.
Even watching this on television, PBS always has done a remarkable job, as has the travel and history channels, but watching it on the museum website, via YouTube, allows me to repeat, or slow the pace, or pick it up, or skip ahead, in a way you can’t do while watching on TV. I found that I could go back and view something I loved or was able to compare as if I was actually in the museum and wanted to backtrack to something that inspired me when I see another piece.
I loved this! I cannot wait to go see this museum/exhibits in-person as soon as we can fly and travel again. I made a donation on their website for a little more than the cost of a ticket to visit.
- Roll (hot dog roll) with warm meat (shredded pork) with peanut (satay) sauce (called Vlees)
- Fried fish with a mayonnaise sauce
- Herring (with pickles and onions)
- Croquettes – chicken with mashed potato in fried coating in the Sky lounge with a view of the city
- Mini Pancakes with butter and sugar
Know what else is great about virtual trips? No calories! No Straying off your diet though temptation!
DAY 2: AMSTERDAM CONTINUED
Day 2: Rijksmuseum https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/tours
I went to the Rijksmuseum today virtually. It was a slide show of the art, rather than a walking tour. The artwork was much earlier, more pre-renaissance and lots of religious art which is not my preference.
I looked through the Asian art. I love that kind of imagery and storytelling.
I did very much enjoy the fashion section. It was mostly advertisements for clothing from different eras. I was totally in love with fashions from the 1920’s through late 40’s. The ads were beautifully done, as were the fashions they projected. .
I went to the Anne Frank house and did a 360 degree tour of the top floor of the house. This is the house from before the invasion of the Nazi’s into Netherlands. It was 1930’s style. Simple. Colorful. The home was very bright with good light. It’s not open to the public.
The wonderful thing is that the house is now being used by the foundation to house writers that are restricted from writing freely in their own countries. They apply, get a grant, and may use the house for a year to write without government censorship and oversight. I am glad I looked at that. I will be making a donation there too.
I didn’t get to try the pot (lol) even though it’s legal in Amsterdam and I didn’t go to the red light district. I made my own version of their street food croquettes with potatoes (love my air fryer!) and then pulled together a hot dog roll filled with shredded jackfruit in peanut/satay sauce. Quite tasty.
Virtual Destination #2 Spain
This morning I listened to the full concert of Spanish music of Iberia, in four parts, by Isaac Albeniz. Performed by a lovely pianist… Alicia de la Rocca. It was delightful.
I did a Drone Tour of Madrid. Wow. I want to go there. It looks exciting. And very much in the style of Paris architecturally. I’m sure the food and people are different. But it looks like a cross between New York and Paris. There’s nightlife and lots of parks and open green spaces, small businesses, cafes, restaurants, bars, museums, monuments, and loads of roundabouts. Seems like my kind of town.
Barcelona looks like a busy city. It’s on the waterfront and so it has that vibe of fishing, beaches, vacation sort of feel, but it also has many contemporary buildings that soar above the more traditional architecture.
There are elevated cable cars that view the whole city and out to the ocean. That will be something to definitely do in-person.
I took the drone tour from Granada to Seville and saw the landscape of Spain. Lots of hills and valleys that roll throughout the land.
My virtual tour of the masterpieces in Museo Nacional del Prado provided me with a view of everything I would see if i visited.I would go for the achitecture alone.
I prepared something I’d never eaten before…the acclaimed dessert called Fried Milk.
I cooked a seafood paella. Created my own sangria with the grapes and apple I have added to red wine, to accompany the meal.
DAY 4 REST
I did not travel on Day 3. I needed rest. I listened to calming classical music and read a novel while looking at the water and sitting in the sun.
Dinner and a Show!
I watched THE PROM, adapted from Broadway, on Netflix, to attend a show. The room was darkened and I sat in a comfortable seat with my legs up to enjoy the performance. I ate leftover food from Spain. I finished my sangria which was much more potent with fruit the second day of marinating.
DAY 5 GREECE
I spent my travel day in Greece. I visited Santorini and the surrounding Islands via drone and photos. I spent a few hours immersed in the Greek churches, beaches, shopping and celestial views. Greece has gorgeous scenery everywhere.
Santorini is known for its all white buildings with the uniform color of blue (from the flag it seems) as trim. It does not disappoint in the vivid brightness of the white in contrast with the greens and earth colors of the landscape, flora and fauna, then contrasted to the blues of the water and sky.
Some of the outer islands feature dramatic reds, rusts and orange in the rockface that rival fall foliage in the northeast. The cuts in the rocks indicate that mountains seem to have been torn apart and carved. I wondered what it all looked like before the ice age. Before humans arrived.
There’s plenty of wine and beer, seafood and lamb/sheep, donkeys to help people climb, and boats to transport folks from one island and beach to another.
I like the church steeples and their bells to see from a distance. There is much architectural history with many digs finding pottery and vases.
I listened to Ironic Dance Suite, by contemporary Athens-born composer, Petros Sakelliou, who played and arranged music for Cirque de Soleil for several years.
And a concert by the Amaranth Quartet.
I enjoyed some wonderful food while taking my tours. A nice chilled glass of chardonnay accompanied a chicken Souvlaki with plenty of tzatziki sauce (lots of napkin use), salad and seasoned fries on the side. My Greek host at Taverna Kyma created a tasty assorted plate for me to try Greek specialities. Lemon potatoes, traditional spanakopita (spinach with cheese in phyllo dough), fresh-made hummus with hot-from-the-oven pita pieces, and Melitzanosalata – a traditional roasted eggplant spread.
My day in Greece was very satisfying.
All in all, my trip was quite delightful and I had no jetlag upon returning home. I realized I can take these little vacations any time I want to, anywhere in the world! I hope i’ve inspired you to create your own mental vacation from your careiving duties!