Off to Venice-Udine-Vienna-Budapest. Today, airports—Manila then Singapore then Frankfurt then Venice. It’s our second least favorite thing about traveling, next to enduring the angry stares of three cats the night before a trip.
In the weeks before departure we spend a lot of time deciding what book to bring. We like to read something set in the place we’re visiting, written by a native. The candidates were:
For Udine: As A Man Grows Older by Italo Svevo, set next door in Trieste.
For Vienna: The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch, The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth, The Snows of Yesteryear or An Ermine in Czernopol by Gregor Von Rezzori (technically not Viennese, but set in the Habsburg Empire). We’re taking a break from Stefan Zweig.
For Budapest: The Adventures of Sindbad or Life is a Dream by Gyula Krudy, The Door by Magda Szabo. Which have not yet arrived as our sister hasn’t ordered them yet, having decided that working 12-hour days, raising three kids and going to spinning class is too light a schedule so she started on her MBA. Just writing that made us tired. We need to take a nap after watching a movie.
For Venice: Not Don’t Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier or The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan because they’re scary.
Then we wandered into a bookstore and saw this new edition of The Interpretation of Dreams. Which we’ve never read, even if we feel like we have because we’ve seen so many movies with psychiatrists in them. And we misquote Freud a lot, and attribute to him stuff he never said, so we owe him.
This, then, is our travel read (and the Svevo). If the prose is impenetrable, we can throw it from a great height onto the heads of the people who swore it was accessible.
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Great big thanks to Ms Del Rosario at Asia International Travel for booking our train tickets on such short notice. We love trains and do not mind 11-hour journeys. Planes are faster, but when you factor in the time you spend waiting in airports and inhaling recycled air, bleecch.