When E.M. Forster wrote his masterpiece in 1908, he chose a seemingly frivolous excuse to set up the plot of his novel: his young heroine Lucy, and her older cousin Charlotte, two Edwardian ladies touring Italy, suffer a great disappointment when their hotel in Firenze lodges them in two rooms that overlook a courtyard, after having been promised “a room with a view” over the River Arno.
These “European tours” seemed to be quite the tradition among the Young Adults of the English and American high society of the time, who were sent abroad with the praiseworthy purpose of admiring the masterworks of Architecture and Art, discovering different cultures and -above all- expanding their horizons as they entered into adulthood.
There is much that has changed for the better since the early Twenty Century, and travel has been made available for a large part of the population, but in these days, when everybody can catch a plane and be thousands of miles away in a matter of hours, I can still feel a tad of affection and longing for those times when travels spread over months and years and represented a kind of rite of passage not only into adulthood, but also, somehow, into wisdom.
The view in the title could be literal or metaphorical -a view over the river or a new view over the world-, if forced to, I would always choose the second -I reckon that a travel is a matter of “mindscape” much more than of landscape- but I prefer to take both!
I have been lodged in rooms where I could see the stars whilst lying on my bed, from and incredible panoramic window in the roof just over my head. Rooms with a relaxing and almost mesmerizing view of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, rooms that overlooked the busy pounding heart of the metropolis… There is something magical in enjoying the lights and the buzz of an unknown city whilst you sip a coffe in the intimacy of your own room, something that combines the thrill of adventure, with that sense of peace and elation that comes from being warm and cozy…
There are also rooms with their own awesome views of Architectural Icons, such as Cathedrals or Museums. Those amazing rooms where you wake up in the morning and you have the empowering feeling that you are right where you want to be…
If dear Lucy had travelled with Charmed by Spain, poor Mr. E.M Forster would have had to think twice about the starting point for his novel -we would have ensured her a Room with a superb view!- and if you know how the book ends, that would have been a shame in itself, because she could have missed the very best view that you can contemplate when you wake up: the face of someone that you love.