Friday, December 14, 2012

Swiss Map

 Last night was Nochevieja in Salamanca. It's just a huge party for university students before everyone leaves for Christmas break. It wasn't well known outside of Salamanca until recently. Now, people fly from internationally and even take those oversized charter buses for this. What started out as a small get together has turned into upwards of 50,000 people in the Plaza Mayor.

Naturally, no classes the next day.

Before going to the Plaza Mayor, my dear roommate and I had some friends over. We ate pasta with Canada's best home-made tomato sauce. We cracked open a few bottles of wine. I pulled out my Swiss map, logically.

There was a Canadian girl whose parents are from, get this, Lugano and Luzern. (She even has family in Chiaso...). We professed our enduring love for all things Swiss.

Well, silly me. I took my Swiss map out of my wallet and didn't put it back. What was I thinking? This map is the original map. The original map I picked up one day at the train station in Lugano that would never be offered again. (Believe me, I've searched hard for another). My Swiss map, as ridiculous as this sounds, has been there for me. On every travel adventure since it came into my possesion, it's been with me. Through thick and thin, this Swiss map has kept me company. I would circle all the Swiss stops I've made, write notes and observations on the back...I would pull it out every once in a while and think about where I would want to go next, what I had experienced within the circled city names, sometimes just zone out.

You know how toddlers always carry around a blanket? Yeah, well I carry around a Swiss map. When I was scared, alone, at the train station in Plovdiv, Bulgaria at one in the morning, what comforted me? My Swiss map. When I missed my flight from Budapest to Madrid and I was at various airports for more than 40 hours, nothing could have been more soothing than looking at my Swiss map.

And I didn't put it back into my wallet, my map with holes in the creases. Wine spilled on it. Vino tinto. And it's not to be salvaged.

I'm a little worried to travel without it. You know I travel alone a lot; it's nice to have something familiar to hang on to.

I shouldn't be this attached to an inanimate object.

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