Flashback Friday – This Summer I…

The following post originally appeared on BAH on 10 September 2009.

Brugge Self Portrait

I don’t remember ever actually having to write an essay about what I did on my summer vacation.  Do teachers really give that as an assignment or have we collectively just made it up?  Regardless, it’s a good thing I never had to write about my summers.  Because for me, summer vacation from school did not equal going away.  Sure, there was one time that we took a day trip to Ocean City.  All I remember is leaving for the beach before the sun was even up and having to change out of  my sandy bathing suit in the back of the car at the end of the day.  There was also a stop at some restaurant along Rt. 50 for breakfast.  Silver Dollar pancakes, that I remember.

Even as an adult, I haven’t traveled much.  If I had the time, then I didn’t have the money.  When I had the money, I didn’t have the time.  Now, the Mistah and I have talked and talked about taking a trip, pretty much since we’ve been married.  Not like a long weekend away somewhere we could drive to but an honest to god, pack a big suitcase and get your passport stamped vacation.  It only took us five years for all the pieces to come together.

Since it could be quite a while before we ever get back to these places, we crammed as much as we could into the time we had.  I’ll try and condense nine day’s worth of adventure for you:

  • France is closed on Sunday.
  • I can’t find my way out of a (traffic) circle.
  • U2 let us bring 87,998 of our closest friends to see them at Wembley Stadium.
  • Croissants you get here ought to be ashamed of themselves.  They are nothing like croissants you get in France.
  • It’s totally worth the money to splurge on the Eurostar to get from England to mainland Europe.  Just don’t miss the train because you’re waiting for France to get back from lunch so you can return your rental car.
  • Eating at the mall food court in France is exactly like eating at a food court here.  Except that you can get a beer with your le burger and les fries at McDonald’s.
  • Airport security is really serious about not letting liquids larger than 1 ounce in your carryon.  They can also be reluctant to let you keep your fine Belgian chocolates.
  • Did I mention that France is closed on Sunday?
  • Omaha Beach in Normandy has stones that  “bleed”.
  • The $30 food voucher you get when the airline puts you up overnight isn’t enough to buy an order of pasta, a chicken Cesar salad, and two diet cokes at the Best Western.
  • If you set an alarm on your cell phone for 4:45 am so you can get back to the airport by 5:30, because you had to spend the night in Toronto, make sure you reset the clock on the phone so it’s not still running on London time.

If you happen to be visiting London, Bruges, or Normandy, I highly recommend:

Walking the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Ordering either the Chocolate Mousse or Iced Lemon Parfait at Bluebird.

Using the Wembley Park tube stop rather than the Wembley Central stop to get to Wembley Stadium.

The grilled asparagus at Zizzi in Paddington.

Making a reservation to enjoy the stuffed sole at Bistro De Eetkamer.

Visiting the Beer Wall.

Souvenirs from The Chocolate Line.

The view from the top of Mont Saint Michel and walking the sand flats at low tide.

Listening to the audio tour for The Bayeux Tapestry.

Crepes with butter and caramel sauce or french vanilla ice cream at Creperie Insolite.

Pia’s breakfast at Chateau de Lignerolles.

Roel’s full day tour of the D-Day Landing Beaches.

Looking up at the ceiling in the Chapel at the American Cemetery in Colleville.

So that’s what I did on my summer vacation, what about you?

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