Edinburgh, part three: reasons why I love to travel

June 27, 2013

I will always remember that arrival as one of the most important moments of all my travels. In the first place, because no one had warned me before that Edinburgh was such an amazing and spectacular city: as the bus that picked me up at the airport was approaching to the city center, the landscape through the windows became more and more beautiful and breathtaking. Secondly, because during that bus ride I felt a sense of excitement so intense that I decided I should take advantage of every minute of my time looking into forests, streets and little corners. So, despite the day was almost ending, I left my suitcase at the hotel room as fast as I could and ran upstairs to Calton Hill. With the approach of sunset, seated between two columns of the big National Monument, I saw a blind young boy arrive to the hill and sit to feel the warmth of the last rays of sunlight. Between violent and grateful for being able of contemplate the beauty of the world by his side, it came to mind this quote from a book by Paul Auster that has ended up being the basis of a very particular philosophy of life:

Siempre recordaré aquella llegada como uno de los momentos más importantes de mis viajes. En primer lugar, porque nadie me había advertido antes de que Edimburgo era una ciudad tan espectacular: conforme el autobús que me recogió en el aeropuerto se iba aproximando al centro, el paisaje a través de sus ventanas era más y más sobrecogedor. En segundo, porque durante aquel recorrido sobre ruedas me invadió una sensación de entusiasmo tan grande que decidí que debía aprovechar cada minuto de mi estancia indagando en bosques, calles y rincones. Así que, pese a estar anocheciendo, dejé mi maleta en el hotel tan rápido como pude y corrí escaleras arriba hacia Calton Hill. Mientras atardecía, acomodada entre dos columnas del National Monument, vi a un joven ciego llegar a la colina y sentarse a percibir el calor de los últimos rayos de sol. Entre violenta y agradecida de poder contemplar a su lado la belleza del mundo, me vino a la mente este fragmento de Paul Auster que ha terminado siendo la base de toda una particular filosofía de vida:


"Memory is not an act of will, after all. It is something that happens in spite of oneself, and when too much is changing all the time, the brain is bound to falter, things are bound to slip through it. Sometimes, when I find myself groping for a thought that has eluded me, I begin to drift off to the old days back home, remembering how it used to be when I was a little girl and the whole family would go up to the north on the train for summer holidays. Big brother William would always let me have the window seat, and more often than not I wouldn't stay anything to anyone, riding with my face pressed against the window and looking out at the scenery, studying the sky and the trees and the water as the train sped through the wilderness.

"(...) you have never seen anything
more beautiful than this, try to
remember it, try to memorize all the
beautiful things you are seeing."

It was always so beautiful to me, so much more beautiful than the things in the city, and every year I would say to myself: Anna, you have never seen anything more beautiful than this, try to remember it, try to memorize all the beautiful things you are seeing, and in that way they will always be with you, even when you can't see them anymore. I don't think I ever looked harder at the world than on those train rides up north. I wanted everything to belong to me, for all that beauty to be a part of what I was, and I remember trying to remember it, trying to store it up for later, trying to hold on to it for a time when I would really need it."
"Después de todo, la memoria no es un acto voluntario, es algo que ocurre a pesar de uno mismo, y cuando todo cambia de manera permanente es inevitable que la mente falle, que los recuerdos se escapen. A veces, cuando me sorprendo a mí misma buscando a tientas una idea que se me escabulle, devuelvo mi mente a los tiempos en casa, recordando cómo era todo cuando yo era pequeña y nos íbamos de vacaciones en tren hacia el norte con toda la familia. Mi hermano mayor, William, siempre me dejaba el asiento de la ventanilla, y yo casi nunca hablaba con nadie, viajaba con la cara pegada al cristal mirando el paisaje, escudriñando el cielo, los árboles y el agua mientras el tren se apresuraba a través de la espesura.

"(...) nunca viste algo tan bonito
como esto, intenta recordarlo,
intenta memorizar todas las cosas
maravillosas que estás viendo."

Todo me parecía tan hermoso, tanto más que las cosas de la ciudad, que cada año me repetía a mí misma: Anna, nunca viste algo tan bonito como esto, intenta recordarlo, intenta memorizar todas las cosas maravillosas que estás viendo y de este modo siempre estarán contigo, incluso cuando ya no puedas verlas. Creo que nunca miré el mundo con tanta atención como en aquellos viajes en tren hacia el norte. Quería que todo me perteneciera, que toda la belleza pasara a formar parte de mí misma, y recuerdo cómo me afanaba en recordarlo, intentando guardarlo para más adelante, atraparlo para cuando realmente lo necesitara."

No comments: