Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Curly Girl safely arrived in Germany this morning. She has been so excited to embark upon her second trip to Europe, and I am thrilled that she was offered the opportunity to fly across the pond.

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to travel a bit with my parents, and Curly Girl's trip has brought to mind some of my fondest European memories:

-Blowing up a hairdryer in the hotel (Yes, smoke was coming from it.)
-Seeing "Noises Off" in London's West End
-Eating horrible apple pie containing a minimal amount of sugar in Dover (Either I prefer an excess amount of sugar in my apple pie, or the British don't put enough sugar in theirs.)

Stairs in Paris:
-Climbing up all the stairs to Montmartre and having my portrait sketched while on the Left Bank (Maybe it's just me, but I prefer this artsier area of Paris.)
-Climbing up a dark (as in, very difficult to see), twisting staircase to reach the top and then descend the Arc de Triomphe. The worst part was rubbing against people in the dark on the stairs, but not being able to see them.

- Neuschwanstein that looks like it popped out of a fairy tale
-Chambord in France's Loire Valley
- Versailles where my parents and I snuck in a non-tour door since we didn't want to wait in line. Then we just sidled up to English-language tours when we wanted to learn more about the palace.
Heidelberger Schloss which stands on a hill overlooking Heidelberg. I'm looking forward to Curly Girl visiting this beautiful city next week.

Art Museums:
-Louvre where my love of art history began
-Musee D'Orsay, my favorite museum, since it focuses on Impressionist art
-Musee Rodin which houses my favorite sculpture, Rodin's The Kiss
-A museum in Bruges, Belgium where I ran into someone I knew from home

-The endless array of pastries available in bakeries
-Eating freshly-made baguettes each day
-Chocolate- After feasting on European chocolates, nothing else even comes close.
-A funky fish dish in which the fish still had a head and eyes and was covered in a very nasty cold mayonnaise-based sauce (I did not touch this dish.)

Spending a month with a family in Belgium when I was sixteen:
- The family's funky house with a green and purple living room
- Living on a cobblestone street with several embassies on it
- Exploring Brussels via its public transportation
- Visiting the family's beach house by the North Sea
- Visiting the daughters' school which included students from many different countries

Cab drivers:
-Cabbies who were the model of deportment in London
- Thinking I was going to die when a Parisian cab driver crazily darted in and out of the traffic circling the Arc de Triomphe

- Being in the center of a traffic jam in Paris when our cab driver got out of cab, then started yelling, banging on the top of the cab, and directing other cars to break up the traffic snarl

Fabulous hotels:
- Europaischer Hof in Heidelberg with its high ceilings and ornate furniture
- Hotel Regina in Paris- One of my favorite locales in the world: Sitting on a corner balcony overlooking the Place de la Concorde while sipping hot tea and eating croissants. If you want to make me very, very happy, meet me in the morning with a continental breakfast and English breakfast tea with cream and sugar.

Seeing where my father lived:
My father lived in France for several years as a teen. His dad, my grandfather, was in the Army and stationed in France after World War II. Since he was going to be in France for several years, my dad and his mother moved there, too. On one trip to France with my parents, we visited the Loire Valley chateau where my father and grandmother lived with the French family who owned the chateau and vineyards surrounding it. As a teen, it was incredible to walk through the vineyards, wine cellar, and home where my father and grandmother resided, and to venture down the roads where my father rode his bicycle to school and the bakery each day. (This is the chateau where my father lived. Sorry for the grainy quality. It was already an old photo, and I had to scan it through the glass.)

I am just thrilled, but also a wee bit jealous, that Curly Girl will be waltzing through Germany and Austria for the next week. I have no doubt that I will again have the opportunity to travel and explore the world, but this is Curly Girl's time to learn about the world around her. For this season, though, my job is to provide her with stable roots, so she can extend her wings.

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