Hi from Rick: Rewards of Time Travel
|Brush up on history to pack more meaning into the places you'll visit and the art you'll see.|
I got my history degree accidently. Because I had traveled in my teens, history wasn't some abstract thing...it was the story of places I'd been to. Taking history classes was fun. One morning I woke up, realized I had already taken seven classes and it hit me: "Just three more classes and I'll have my degree and BAM! I'm a historian."
Since then I've spent a third of my life exploring Europe — enjoying "continuing education" with a curriculum I've tailored specifically for me. Traveling makes history come alive. And history gives what I experience in my travels context and meaning. Each makes the other more fun.
Just this summer, stories rooted in history have pumped up my travel experiences: I was surprised to learn why 7,000 Danes volunteered to fight alongside the Nazis against the USSR; I tried to get my head around the possibility that the Vikings' rape-pillage-and-plunder image may be a bad rap in York (the capital of Viking England ten centuries ago); and in France I recalled that monk from the Champagne region who double fermented his wine, inventing something new and bubbly. He ran famously down the halls of his monastery shouting "brothers, come quickly, I am drinking stars!"
In this month's Travel News we'll share a few fun and fascinating examples of how a little historical background can really enrich your European experience.