For a lot of people the thought to escape the daily grind can be all encompassing. Pretty soon they move from mere daydreaming to all out planning. The majority of the time what these individuals really need is a change in environment. With travel, people can hit both birds with a single stone. Travel is not just a method of escape, but a way to transport someone physically, emotionally, gastronomically, culturally, artistically and even spiritually, to a place that they have never been before. To dive headlong into such an experience can leave a person feeling alienated, but they should embrace the experience for what it is, an internal reset button that will refresh their outlook on life.
While some people may feel content by simply taking a trip to the countryside, the next state over or to a familiar tourist destination, there are those whose lives crave and need more. They require an experience that is unique, different and what some may think of as unusual. These are not your run of the mill excursions or guided tours, these places were practically designed to invoke a certain something deep within the traveler.
Take the French fortress of Le Mont St. Michel. This medieval fortress has stood guard over the mouth of the Couesnon River since the 10th century. Well preserved and a sight to behold from afar, the stone fortress constructed and hewn from the island it sits holds an unblemished record, as it has remained undefeated since its inception. The fortress is a bastion of engineering and military might, and stands out in its serene and tranquil surroundings. Country fields, the Couesnon River, the delta and the Sea surround Le Mont St. Michel, and yet it is not offending to the eye.
If one were to focus on the color alone, the fortress would blend into the island itself, however it is easy to see why Le Mont St. Michel is considered one of the best preserved examples of architecture from Medieval Europe. A small enclosed town is found at the base of the fortress and above it soars towers, spires and the majesty of the fortress itself. So awe-inspiring and grandiose is this structure that the directors of the Lord of the Rings cinematic trilogy patterned the fictional Fortress of Gondor after it. Fans of the film franchise will note how both structures rose out of mountain as well as similarities to buildings and wall structures.
For those who would like to dip a toe into the world of the macabre, the Czech Republic plays host to one of the world’s largest displays of bone décor. Yes, human bones. Kutna Hora houses the Sedlec Ossuary, which is basically a small chapel built on an old cemetery. Rumor has it that since the cost of land was exorbitantly high in this part of the world, the caretakers, grave diggers and stewards of the church had to get creative in terms of settling in newcomers. Whenever someone new had to be buried, they would first need to exhume a corpse to make space. This brings a whole new meaning to the term “move in, move out”.
Over the years, the skulls and bones of the exhumed corpses began piling up in the small Roman Catholic chapel until a local woodworker came up with an interesting, if not morbid, idea. Use the bones to decorate the chapel. He was given the green light and began fashioning decorations of all sorts, from chandeliers, to coat of arms, from pillars to altars. All made from the skulls, femurs, rib cages, vertebrae, digits, tarsal’s, scapula and other bones of the deceased. The Sedlec Ossuary is one of many such structures in the world to be adorned with the remains of the departed, but its smallness, its intimacy definitely gives the traveler a new appreciation of life, of sorts.
Those looking to escape into nature and want to forego their usual cottage rental may want to look north to Iceland. Home of one of the oldest languages known to man, Iceland is known as the Land of Giants. This is not just because the country has a propensity to produce some of the world’s strongest men, but because it provides travelers with an experience with nature on a grand scale. This relatively small island is home to active volcanoes, geysers, “colorful” mountains so called because of the various sediments that form colorful layers, lava fields, hot springs, ice caves, and of course, the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights – can also be viewed there.
Those looking for warmer climes may want to try Dean’s Blue Hole. No, it is not found on a man named Dean, but it is within the borders of a country called Bahamas. Where Iceland beckons you to continuously look up, Dean’s Blue Hole invites you down, 663-feet in fact into the depths of the Caribbean Sea. It is one of the deepest underwater holes in the world and present a challenge to even the most experienced of divers.
This personal essay is written by one of freelance writers at Writing-Expert.com – professional writing company.