Toulon France…Ten years ago today…Why don’t we spend more time in Europe…

Boats packed the marinas at the popular resort destination. For the text on this date’s post, please click here.

We’re glad for the times we spent in various European countries in the first few years of our travels. We visited more historical buildings, old churches, museums, and botanical gardens than most people do in a lifetime. We spent months in Italy, Portugal, the UK, Ireland, and France.

There are countless other countries we visited as ports of call on cruises, getting the flavor of the country without actually living there. Sure, there are many other countries we could have seen, but as we continued on our worldwide, we concluded that we’d had our fill of old buildings, although from time to time, we still go to certain museums and botanical gardens.

The beaches in Toulon were sparse of sunbathers, the summer season yet to come.                                             

I guess it all boils down to our lack of interest in typical tourist locations that, for us, have become repetitious and all too familiar. Our ongoing journey is about visiting those places that appeal to our senses. Although we appreciate the significance and artistry of historical sites, our interests have leaned toward nature and wildlife…not zoo-type venues.

What often is represented as “rescue or rehabilitation facilities” may manage the care of rescued and injured animals; they are confined to a specific area or in cages. After living in the bush for over 3½ of our 10½ years of world travel, we’ve witnessed firsthand how animals like to wander in search of food, territory, and mating.

47% of Toulon’s buildings were destroyed in World War II, resulting in many buildings of post-war design

For example, Marloth Park is 3000 hectares, comparable to 7413 acres; that is no small area for the wildlife to explore, and yet even that kind of space has its limitations, with newly built bush houses crowding out the natural habitat for the wildlife as years pass. In ten to 20 years, that habitat may be dissipated to the point that the animals are eventually gone.

Confining wildlife in a zoo is indicative of an unnatural environment’s impact on the animals’ well-being. Thus, we find no enjoyment in visiting zoos to get our “wildlife fix.” The end result? We continue to have an affinity for wildlife and scenery, such as oceans, lakes, waterfalls, other waterways, mountains, and deserts.

Although many buildings are over 60 years old, the integrity of the familiar and revered French style was maintained.

It’s no wonder we particularly loved the boat ride with Linda and Burt a few weeks ago and seeing the impressive Dora Canal and its wildlife. Simply boating on a lake holds little appeal after we lived on a lake for 26 years and went boating over many years. Small boats on the ocean don’t appeal to us, but we love cruising on a ship or yacht.

Besides scenery and wildlife, we love meeting new people, which contributes to our joy of cruising and visiting certain parts of the world that are particularly friendly. In some countries, tourists often don’t have much of an opportunity to meet new people when locals perceive travelers as transient and unlikely to build long-term relationships.

Cafes and restaurants lined the boulevard in Toulon.

How fortunate we’ve been that we’ve made such great friends as we’ve traveled, particularly in those locations where we’ve stayed for a few months or more and been able to communicate. We appreciate the vast array of languages spoken throughout the world. Still, the reality is that we can’t learn every language to easily communicate with locals as much as we wish we could.

However, we treasure the opportunity to observe other cultures, their lifestyle, their vocations, and their various diets. Many countries we’ve visited have presented us with an inside look into the people of a nation, including their views, activities, and relationships.

Getting a good shot of our ship with many boats in the marina was difficult.

We’re not so presumptuous as to assume everyone in the world speaks English. They do not, nor should they, for the convenience of English-speaking visitors. If we were to live permanently in a non-English speaking country, we would make it our objective to learn the language as quickly as possible.

Let’s face it. We get to do whatever appeals to us, not what others may perceive as our obligation to do. Traveling the world is entirely up to the travelers regarding locations that appeal most to their tastes and senses. Our ultimate goal is to meet people, observe the culture and revel in the beauty of a country’s wildlife and nature.

Finally, a decent shot of our ship as we walked back to our ship. Security inspected the contents of our mugs containing iced tea to ensure we hadn’t put booze in them to bring back onto the ship, not for security reasons but to ensure we weren’t prevented from spending money on the ship’s $8 cocktails.

In a mere four months, we’ll be living in South America for an extended period with the intent of accomplishing our objectives. There’s stunning wildlife on the continent, fascinating cultures, and scenery we’ll happily share with all of you.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 6, 2013:

Not the best photos of us in Toulon, France, but we liked the mime, leaving him a tip in his basket. For more photos, please click here.