Comparison Paper David Irving

Susanne Pacher is a devoted traveler. She has traveled the world and writes about it on her website, which gives firsthand knowledge to those seeking information about travel. I recently read about her experiences during her three week stay in Sicily in 2007. While the countries we stayed in and our main reason for travel were different I have found Susanne and I had very similar experiences.

Susanne went to Sicily to learn Italian. She was already able to speak French, Spanish, and had a good knowledge of Latin. This made her extremely prepared and helped her develop a good working knowledge of Italian. I went to France in the summer of 2007 to study Mechanical Engineering. Equipped with nothing more than four years of sub-par High School Spanish grades, I spent five weeks in Troyes, France. This however did not stop me from enjoying every moment of my time in Europe. Reading Susanne’s travelogue and keeping in mind my own experiences I can say that travel is more about seeing and doing; learning, but in your own way.

Susanne spent a week in a hotel in Taormina, Sicily. She stayed in a hotel owned by the Sciglio family, and it had been that way for four generations. During my time in France I was able to visit a champagne brewery. This establishment had been in the owner’s family for five generations. This is not something ordinarily seen in America but is it apparently common in Europe. I can not help but remark on the difference in histories between our continent and theirs. Their culture is so much older than ours. We may be more technologically advanced, but there is something to be said about a life’s work that can continue on through the generations. Something that did make an impression on me, however, was the way in which both businesses were modernizing. The Sciglio’s son, who will eventually take over the hotel, has a degree in accounting, and is in charge of all the reservations and Internet communications. It has grown from just four rooms to thirteen, each only getting its own bathroom in 1971. During the tour of the champagne factory the owner told us how the grapes were once crushed by foot, and each bottle had to be turned slightly every day while fermenting. Of course this is all done by machine nowadays. Some traditions remain the same however. Every year during an exact time interval dictated by the government the small company hires many workers to harvest the grapes. The grapes need to be delicately plucked so a machine will not work.

While in Sicily Susanne remarks on how blown away she was by the architecture. This was true for me also. The city of Troyes was one of the few cities left untouched by World War II. This left a lot of buildings with architecture dating back to the medieval ages. One of the things I could not believe was the fact that these buildings were still standing (though a few of them were slanted).

Traveling to another country can be strikingly eye opening; something Susanne learned a long time ago. I am still learning this every time I stumble upon another difference between life here and life there. You can see all of Susanne’s travelogues at http://www.travelandtransitions.com/index.htm

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