The Grand Tour
In honor of Throwback Thursday and the big adventure I have coming up, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about my own Grand Tour. Note: I just started reading Madonna of the Sleeping Cars and am revisiting my love of anything Edith Wharton so the theme ‘The Grand Tour’, which denotes a sweeping tour of Europe as a rite of passage for upper-crust people circa 1890(ish), seems appropriate. Except in my case, it’s not 1890, I’m not upper crust, and I have no upcoming passage necessitating a rite. Nonetheless, I’m about to embark on a month long adventure through Europe and thought I’d revisit the past before I go.
I’ll be traveling to London, Vienna, Prague, Istanbul, and Barcelona this summer. Mostly to visit friends/family but also revisit myself. These past two years have been rough and what with being on LOA while I finish school, I figured I’d take advantage of the perks of online learning and skip town for a month. In an odd piece of symmetry, I arrive in London on the exact same day that I did back in 1999. I’m looking forward to lots of time to journal, say ‘Yes to All’, and remembering what it feels like to be an adventurer. But before I go, let me take you on a journey….
Picture this: The year is 1999. My mom, step-dad, step-brother, and myself pile into a plane and head to London for a month of epic family togetherness. It’s a miracle we all survived but aside from that, it was my first time to realize that the world is huge and those things you read about in books? Yeah, they are real.
I present to you: A photo album from that trip. Maps courtesy of Microsoft Encarta ’95. Because, back then, when we weren’t walking to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways, we were getting our information from an Ecarta CD-ROM. Enjoy!
And then to Austria!
And then Switzerland!
(There were more countries but I won’t be revisiting those this time around.)
Now, close your eyes and picture 2001. Britney Spears has never been married. Y2K has come and gone. White eyeliner is here to stay. (thank god, no) I had the opportunity to travel to Spain and France the summer between high school and college so, duh, I went. It was my first time to Barcelona and I was hooked. Thankfully, my Spanish as awesome and I’d learned how to control my curly hair.
On that same trip, I got to visit my uncle who lived in Paris at the time. It really was alone time as the rest of my group went home after finishing our time in Spain. It was a magical time which included meeting a handsome frenchman. It was all very platonic but he took me around and we drank champagne, walked the streets by lamplight, and I was thoroughly over frat parties before I’d even started college. Keystone Light cannot compete with french champagne sipped delicately in a Parisian jazz club. Again, It’s a Small World After All because not too long ago, I heard said frenchman on NPR here in Seattle. He’s become some big shot EU financial analyst and was talking about Greece and the impending Euro doom. Love my life.
Oh, and I get to see this guy in Barcelona!
I’m super thankful that I get to go back; on my own and little wiser. I’m excited to see my in-laws (and cause mayhem with my mother-in-law) but, again, I’m most excited about rediscovering a part of me that’s been locked away for too long. Fluvial fluvial fluvial. I’ll keep this blog up as a way to beam thoughts, love, and photos home.
And with that, aufweidersen!