There’s a beautiful word in Portuguese that refers to wandering aimlessly without direction: passear. It is the complete opposite of Been There, Done That. I suggest adding more passear into your BTDT lifestyle for more experiences than a checklist.
One woman smiles for her videographer while she preens in a red and black bustier and ass-cheek short crinoline skirt best suited for a Wild West whorehouse. Positioned by a staircase before one of the many stunning displays in stained glass, she twists one knee inward as if her naked legs dangle uselessly, like a puppet.
There is comfort in going somewhere you don’t know shit about. There are zero expectations. No films or commercials to superimpose on your experience, no memorized articles or checklists of things to do.
Amidst the flowers and fruit trees, the figs growing from every orifice, is scattered trash that someone has tried to gather together to remove, as well as signs reminding people not to take a shit in their vegetable patch.
She went from happy, to hopeful, to inflamed with desire, to dashed to the darkest pit of woe and longing within each dance. She danced with such ferocity and grace as if she was sadly fucking the floor to death with her feet. I love you, her body said as she moved, I hate you. Oh, you make me so sad.
Sometimes I will brush my teeth, walk to the grocery store, or stare at a pigeon – and the cheese with asparagus jelly will come to mind. I will take that memory out and hold it close to me, give it some sunlight and a light dusting, a powerful hug before releasing it. That is how good that cheese and jelly was. Spank bank-level cheese.
Rome is dense, complex, flavorful, and crowded. A cacophony of history and convergence of international tourism crowds. It is a must-see for any traveler and stressful if you do not plan accordingly for swarms of people and heat.
During the days, we walked in the shadowy streets or strolled through gardens along the water’s edge. The water kept pulling me back to it, the gem-clarity and sky-blue color so inviting on a warm day. I peer into it, looking for the silver glints of fish or at the sandy bottom for treasure, just like when I was a kid.
When you are there in person, you are constantly walking the line between observation of the gilded architecture, exquisite art, and expansive gardens everyone lined up to see, and the awe-struck sweaty masses, heavy breathing, whining, coughing, and farting their way through it.
Throughout the trip, delivery men with boxes in shops or trolleys of goods would shoulder roughly past, one so hard that despite my leaning heavily into a chilled freezer of dairy products, he bruised my shoulder. I figured the people of Warsaw might just be extra shovey, like this was their cultural thing, and they wanted to make their physical presence felt like bullies do in elementary school. When we walked down an otherwise empty street, two repairmen leaning against a wall beside busted sidewalk muttered and stared darkly. One leaned out to do a theatrical dry spit in our general direction.
This soup tasted how I wished every spring could be – fresh, sweet, smooth, and colorful. It tasted like something fairies in a magical forest would tip into their tiny mouths from silver thimbles. I imagined this soup sipped by queens, by powdered ladies in a gilded salon, by woodland nymphs, by angels when they needed a lunch break. This soup made us happy. My husband looked at me, and I looked at him. We did not have to speak. We were lucky, we both thought, so goddamn lucky, to be eating this soup together right now. Nothing could be better than this moment and this soup.
I don’t know anything about professional darts. Still, if you ask me if I want to attend an international dart tournament in Warsaw, the answer is unequivocally yes. I don’t need a reason to go anywhere, but it pleases me if I can find an unusual one. For me, the PDC International Dart Tournament fulfilled this completely.
We spent Saturday in Warsaw drifting around before our food tour that evening. We walked over to the towering example of Stalin-era architecture, the Palace of Culture and Science. The building is loved and despised, hated for its history and severe façade, and loved as Warsaw’s tallest, most recognizable landmark.
One of the things that many may not realize is that very little of the architecture in the quarter is genuinely Gothic. Through restoration and romantic flourishes, much of it was styled in the 1900s to appeal to the World’s Fair crowds. Those neo-Gothic additions were a good choice for crowd appeal, which still draws them today. The quarter feels romantic, like you are walking through a movie set made for a Victorian vampire love affair, and I can see how it would have the same appeal to visitors in 1929 as it does today.
This will sound sacrilegious to his fans, but try and block Bourdain and that dusty photo on the wall entirely from your thoughts. You deserve your own authentic experience, or why are you even there? It could be great! He may have been right about that hotdog, and you may feel your atoms realign to become more harmonious with the universe after your first bite. Or, it could just be a regular old hotdog served by an indifferent waiter and a hefty bill because of the Bourdain-endorsed stamp that brings more customers in. Sorry to say, when you leave this place, you may simply be full instead of imbued with any distilled goodwill or cultural understanding.
The spiritual experience that so many of the more modern, crowded museums lack is the opportunity to be alone in a beautiful place with art. I’ve never found anything but stress in dense crowds, which is probably why you won’t see me at a music festival in a mucky cow pasture, either. We strolled through the concrete spaces and viewed the abstracts and sculptures in silence, with no flag-waving tour guides reciting their histories in sight.
Not all art is spiritually transformative, but I’ve always found a good museum far more inspiring than any cathedral.
“I feel like we are in a Spanish-themed TGI Fridays,” I said. “Or a barbershop quartet porn set.”
I blame the striped wallpaper, but the double-sized tub had a portrait of a woman who gazed appraisingly upon us when we bathed like, “Ok…uhhuh..Yeah, I’d hit that.” And I think I need a copy of her to hang outside my shower today. I always left my bath thinking, “This lady gets what I got going on!”