I've been a little sad that I missed so much of the Great Two Vacations because of my illness (unknown at the time). I was so tired, sleeping a lot and even when I was awake I wasn't 100% there. Two experiences from the last few days have reminded me that the value of a trip lasts long past how comfortable or uncomfortable, or how awake, you happened to be at the time.
Travel from the Past the First: a year and a half ago, I visited the Library of St. Gall (photo, from Wikipedia) four days after having emergency gall bladder removal (no relation in the name from what I can find). The library was in continuous use in such a way that it has books from the 800s into the 1900s all shelves together on those great wooden shelves with locking gates which were built in the mid-1700s.
A different topic is selected for the displace cases each year, and a series of events are held at the abby related to the topic. Last year, the topic was medicinal herbs. In my graduate program this semester, I just finished reading an essay on the computerization and standardization of the information contained in these kinds of books.
Travel from the Past the Second: When I was 17 I traveled on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Yekaterinburg (where we partied with the Russian mafia... a story for another day) to Moscow. CNN featured it this month in their travel section. I mainly remember a series of snapshot images of the small railside towns where mules were used for plowing and an occasional goat was tethered out with no owner in sight. The bathrooms were dirty, the food was slim, and I was fairly relieved when it was over.
What I did not know at the time was that my great-grandfather had also traveled on the railway. He was an engineer working on the Subic Bay project in the Philippines and for some time halved his years between the Philippines and California. At least once used the Trans-Siberian Railway for his trip home. To read that and to have already experienced a tiny bit of his journey home was a moment that added to the value of my journey years later.