Nothing new under the sun

Wanderlust has me by the throat again. This time it is Eastern Europe, with its former communist facades, it’s majestic hilltops, full of castles and crumbling palaces: Budapest, Prague, Romania, Poland. I am yearning for contrast, cafes full of beautiful young people and decrepit old bars where politics is a sport played by lovers of history.

I have fantasies of visiting Turkish baths, of steeping in a spa in my bathing suit and a cheap towel watching as the old men consider their next chess move through the steam. I want to walk the old sidewalks searching for the ghosts beneath the layers of change and revolution, wondering what the cities were like in their heydays of grandeur, before the wars and the breadlines, before they became tourist destinations serving overpriced beers.  I want to understand how memory can cling to buildings, people and architecture. How the very footsteps of the past can haunt you as vividly as anything in the present.

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