Almost like talking

Tourists at the Library of Celsus, Ephesus 2008

Tourists at the Library of Celsus, Ephesus 2008

“Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries.” — source unknown; widely attributed to René Descartes

Whether the area features a landscape that goes back one century or many, whether the ruins are real or reconstructed, I always feel a keen sense of connection to what came before.  All places new to me have in common a combination of the familiar and exotic, so that I am drawn in and carried away at the same time.  If reading broadens the mind, travel fills in some of the details within the expanse that has been created.  This year I wish for you new discoveries that will increase your understanding of the past, across the world or in your own home town.


  1. I felt the same way when we visited Rome. I could hardly believe I was standing in history and kept thinking about who’s been here, on this very spot before. Loved the quote, it’s so exactly true.

    • When I visit historic spots, I often feel a strong sense of what when on before. In my mind, it’s linked somewhat to the idea of relativity. Or maybe it’s just my overly active imagination 🙂 but I do think that places are changed in some way by the things that happen there, whether or not we can see it.

  2. Rene

    Florence, Italy. I had just read Romola, by George Eliot the previous year; found myself standing in the square where the real “bonfire of the vanities” took place.

    • Wow, I’ve never heard of that book, but now I want to read it! I loved Middlemarch, and want to re-read that one, since it’s been many years since I read it. Florence is stunning, isn’t it? I hope to go back someday.


  1. Time and culture | Defeat Despair

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