Travel theme: Rhythm

There is an undeniable rhythm to travel, particularly slow travel, that I adore. The clickety-clack of a train speeding along rails, the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) bobbing of a boat, and my favourite, the clippety-clop of a horse. The rhythm of air travel is less evident; the pockets of turbulence more staccato than anything else, although I suppose you could find rhythm in the repetition of taking your shoes off and putting them back on, putting your toiletries in a plastic baggie and taking them back out again.

However you reach your destination; once you’re there, part of the joy of discovering a new place is learning its rhythm. In general, islands seem to have a slower rhythm than the mainland; cities are faster than towns which in turn are faster than villages. Each one is slightly different and often, the biggest clue to the rhythm of life in a new place is the music you hear on the streets.

rhythm piano player pianist busker

rhythm scotland edinburgh bagpipes music bagpipers

One of the most magical moments I have experienced to date involved the irrevocable intertwining of rhythm and place. I was travelling with two friends through the Czech Republic. It had been a long journey on multiple trains through sprawling, nondescript and overwhelmingly grey cities. We made our final connection to a train leaving České Budějovice and sat, exhausted, slumped up against the windows of the train staring out at the city spreading out as far as the eye could see. All of a sudden, the train stuttered and slowed its pace by almost half, and the city disappeared as the train entered a dappled forest of trees. Almost simultaneously, a group of passengers in nearby seats brought out instruments and struck up a rather lovely medley of tunes which sounded Bohemian, exotic and terribly romantic. I felt my tiredness slip away as the whole carriage joined in, clapping and singing along with this band of minstrel players. They weren’t playing for money; they were playing for the love of it. When we left the train at České Krumlov there were smiles on our faces, our spirits were lighter and we were filled with the romance of adventure.

Wandering down the spiral steps from the train station, we caught tantalising glimpses of this ancient town through the trees, and then a bridge appeared in front of us. Dusk was falling as we made our way through the city gates and up the winding cobblestone streets. Gas lamps flickered as we passed by and the scent of wood smoke filled the chilly October air. And then the most wonderful thing happened. Up the hill ahead of us, a house flung its top windows wide open, light streaming out into the dark street ahead of us. Through those windows came the most exquisite, most hauntingly beautiful melody I have ever heard. There were no instruments, just the swell of many, many voices, and it stopped us dead in our tracks. All three of us stood, faces turned upwards towards that window streaming light and music out into the evening fog and listened for what seemed like an eternity, until the music faded away and the hum of chatter took over. Then, without a word, we linked arms and continued our journey up the cobbled streets, forever changed by that one brief, heart-achingly magical moment.

rhythm ireland dublin harp player instrument busker

Have you ever had a moment like that? I’d love to hear your story and see your photos. If you’d like to join in, create your own post between now and next Friday, title it “Travel theme: Rhythm” and put a link to this page in your blog post to make it easy for others to find your post.  Do you have a favourite place that is defined by its rhythm?

xxx Ailsa

About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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217 Responses to Travel theme: Rhythm

  1. Hope you enjoy this other post, about Mexican-Brazilian rhythm, welcoming the New Year! Great fitting for our traveling lives!

  2. A terrific post and a wonderful idea for a theme! I hope I can find something that works 🙂
    And, you have been one of the inspirations for a blogging challenge of my own, that I call: “Quotes from the Masters.” Check it out! I’d love for you to join in. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rhythm | Canoe Communications's Blog

  4. I was wondering if I had rhythm with this week’s fun photo game. Whew. I found it. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Travel theme: Rhythm « Implicado

  6. Beautiful story and pictures. I had a chance to leave the US and go to the UK in 2005 and enjoyed it so much. At that time I wasn’t really a “photographer” – bummer!

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks for the compliments, Carol. Whereabouts in the UK did you go? I absolutely adore London, such a wonderful city full of surprises around every corner.

  7. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rhythm « So where's the snow?

  8. This was a difficult one as we haven’t been abroad for ages, the most we do is accidentally slip over the border into Germany!


    • ailsapm says:

      But as your photo proves, sometimes the most interesting things happen on your own doorstep. I love the traditional dress of this Trachtenmusikappelle.

  9. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rhythm | Lucid Gypsy

  10. Gilly Gee says:

    Hi Ailsa, a difficult challenge but I finally picked this one, travel but only 150 miles from home for me!

  11. Madoqua says:

    Your post was lovely and had to add my French experience in Dijon:
    I really enjoyed this challenge. Music is unique – it’s the only language the whole world knows and enjoys. Anyone can speak to anyone with notes and rhythm 🙂

  12. Pingback: Travel Theme : Rhythm « Mystiic

  13. Mystiic says:

    I did it!!! Finally… 🙂 here’s my RHYTHM… GOA!!!! My way 😉 Could I influence the next theme… Culture Cuisine… I have sooooooo many pictures of food from this part of the world 😉

    • ailsapm says:

      Such a wonderful homage to rhythm in Goa, those houses in all the colours of the rainbow are so beautiful. Hmm, yes, cuisine is definitely a theme I shall be hitting upon sometime in the very near future. Keep those photos at the ready. 😉

      • Mystiic says:

        🙂 😉 I have a special food folder… local goan… and exactly where to EAT 😉 Tourists often don’t really get to taste authentic goan food… which is pretty easy on the eyes and on the stomach!! 😀

  14. Pingback: Travel Challenge: Manila’s music | Islander Girl

  15. Macy says:

    And this is my humble contribution to the challenge:

    I cheated and kept it within my home city because, not to brag or anything :P, we already have a great music scene. I don’t need to go anywhere 😀

    • ailsapm says:

      This is perfect in so many ways, Macy – including the fact that you and your siblings to stand up comedy instead of singing at your family reunions – because you know that comedy is all about timing – and rhythm! xx

  16. Pingback: travel theme: rhythm « a nomad in the land of nizwa

  17. Hi Ailsa, here is my entry for rhythm:

    Thanks for another fun challenge!!

    • ailsapm says:

      I long to see desert camps like this, catbird, and to listen to the drumbeats under cover of tents in the middle of the desert. I bet it’s an incredible experience.

  18. Pingback: Travel theme: Rhythm « Flickr Comments by FrizzText

    • ailsapm says:

      I’m always amazed by the sound a skilled busker can get from a few upturned buckets. It really is the most astonishing thing. xxx

  19. Hi Ailsa. I still had rhythm on my mind, and here is another take on it:

    Happy Diamond Jubilee to all of those celebrating and the Queen.

    • ailsapm says:

      Excellent, canoe & communications. there’s something instinctively rhythmic about New Orleans culture, isn’t there?

  20. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rythm | mothergrogan

  21. thirdeyemom says:

    This was a tricky one but I finally came up with the idea in the middle of the night! The things I think of at 2 am!
    Here is my entry hopefully better late than never, right!

    • ailsapm says:

      We’re definitely kindred spirits, Nicole. Most of my posts are written when the moon is high in the sky. Very fun post on your encounter with the Moroccan band, and your fancy foot (and arm) work in that bottom photo 😉

    • ailsapm says:

      I love those Olympic drummers, and boy, that story of the Glencoe Massacre sounds like something straight out of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Gulp.

      • That story is where the song “The Campbells are Coming, Hurrah, Hurrah” came from… the Scottish clans have some gruesome history! But the reason this massacre was so heinous wan’t just the slaughter – it was that they relied on the MacDonald’s highland hospitality to position themselves!

  22. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rhythm | The Retiring Sort

  23. The rhythm of life and the places we’d been too. Always a constant cycle of beautiful and inspiring events, made more amazing by the rich, colorful personalities with meet everyday. Wonderful post.

  24. Pingback: Travel Challenge “Rhythm” | Anotherdayinparadise2's Blog

  25. adinparadise says:

    Thanks so much for the challenge, ailsa. Here is my contribution.

  26. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rhythm | Wind Against Current

    • ailsapm says:

      I want to live in that beach hut! Absolutely stunning photos, Vlad, and a beautiful excerpt from The Waves. I cannot get over the colour of the ocean, that streak of turquoise along the horizon is breathtaking.

  27. gingerbreadcafe says:

    I really enjoyed your post, it made lovely reading as well. I hope you like this one!

  28. Pingback: Travel Theme – Rhythm | thegingerbreadcafe

  29. gingerbreadcafe says:

    Oh! dear – put in the link without publishing the post first! try this!

  30. Pingback: Rhythm | Chronicles of Illusions

  31. Pingback: Rhythm of the Perahera « The Wanderlust Gene

  32. Pingback: Travel challenge “Rhythm” (2) | Anotherdayinparadise2's Blog

  33. adinparadise says:

    Hi Ailsa. I did find some rhythm here in Phuket, so did a second post for the theme. 😉

  34. Pingback: Weekly Travel Theme: Rhythm « craftcrazygran

  35. Pingback: WEEKLY TRAVEL THEME: RHYTHM « Francine In Retirement

  36. fgassette says:

    Here is my entry:


    • ailsapm says:

      Love it Francine, awesome kimono, I can see why you won the prize! So glad you joined the travel challenge this week 🙂

  37. fiztrainer says:

    OK … I’m back this week and here’s my entry: Hope you like it!! 😀

    • ailsapm says:

      Welcome back, fiz – you’ve been to some rocking great concerts, I’ve never listened to Metric but will check them out online. Love that quote by Babatunde Olatunji.

  38. Hi! Alisa, its the first time I am putting in my own photographs. They are not vere professional but I hope they convey the mood!

    • ailsapm says:

      Really enjoyed this, I love taking walking tours of new cities, you get to see and experience so much more. Europe has a history steeped in street music, one of the many things I love about the continent!

      • Thank you Alisa, I really appreciate how you take out the time to read and respond to every single entry 🙂 Its very sweet and thoughtful and i am sure very very demanding ! 🙂 thank you, again!for the encouragement

        • ailsapm says:

          I really appreciate your comment, justanotherwakeupcall, thank you for that. I love seeing everyone’s interpretations, we all have our own unique perspective on the world we live in, and I try to see each and every entry. A few people forget to put the link to the challenge page in, so I don’t get a notification of their entry, and then stumble across it by chance days later, but I’m sure I’ve missed a couple despite my best attempts. 🙂

  39. sorry for the typo!! that’s “very”

  40. Pingback: It’s raining rhythm in Phuket. |

  41. Pingback: Travel Theme: Rhythm | 50 Year Project

  42. TBM says:

    Wonderful post. I love hearing about other people’s travels. And this is a fun challenge. Here is my contribution. Music has a way of connecting so many of us.

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