Vacations Broaden your Horizons


A man once said, “It’s a small world, but I’d hate to paint it.” Running into people (when you’re abroad) that are from your state, or even your town makes you think of the above phrase. I believe in most cases its the energy you promote that acts as a magnate to bring those people into your sphere of physical space.

Many times what you hear about certain countries and their people can be affirmed or denied when you simply travel to those destinations. Then what you find is that the connection between cultures seems so much closer when you actually visit other countries.

I’ve heard, “Paris is a dirty place.” It wasn’t. “The people in Paris are rude and condescending.” Again, not true. I find that if you go into foreign countries with the intention of being a good person and respecting their laws, then usually the best will come of your interaction.

I’m no expert by any means, as I’ve only been to Europe one time. However, I pride myself with extending the hand of good will as an extension of how we should act in another country.

Nancy and I were truly blessed to have organized our trip in such a way to learn and experience the most we could in a short period of time. Of course this was based on what we enjoy and what would be the most dynamic use of our time.

Our trip began in London, at the International Heathrow Airport. Wonderful posters of the Queen’s Guard in full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats was the perfect introduction to England. Then we took to the subway with the destination, Piccadilly Square as our target. We meandered around attempting to follow our GPS to Chinatown where our first lodging was.

Nancy found the well hidden door that led to our four flights of stairs and our Air B&B. Before we found the door we had a little Dim Sum so that we could gather our strength after our nine hour flight from Denver.

London was fantastic. We took in a number of historic sights as we had booked a tour which included but was not limited to, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, King Charles residence, St. James park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, The Tower Jewels, a boat cruise down the Thames river, and High Tea at Harrods department store, and finally, the Borough Market . We also went to Abbey Road, the Abbey Road gift store (of course), and wandered down to have breakfast at the area of London known as “Little Venice.”

Our best dinner on the entire vacation was at a restaurant in the SOHO district of London, called “Clos Maggiore.” Certainly one of the most romantic restaurants I’ve ever been in. The decor was perfectly paired with amazing food and a wine list of 122 pages. Excellent service was provided by an exceptional server, Gilles.

Next we were off to Paris by way of the Eurostar Train. The train goes under the English Channel to Paris in just under three hours. Arriving in Paris was another bucket list place to visit. We stayed in the Latin Quarter of Paris to be close to restaurants, wine shops, and other convenient places of interest.

The wine shop provided a very nice selection of Burgundian wines. We purchased a couple Gevrey Chambertins and Puligny Montrachets to drink on our balcony overlooking the expansive views of Paris.

Our first restaurant in Paris was “The Petite Prince” located in a quaint alley down a cobblestone street. The rain gently fell as we relied on our GPS to navigate to the correct destination. With only a rudimentary knowledge of the language and absolutely no directional aptitude we arrived at our destination (allowing an extra 20 minutes for the inevitable wrong direction and the U turn).

It was a strange local habitat which apparently wasn’t too popular with the locals. We had a fairly good dinner which included Foir Gras, Onion soup, and less then memorable entrees. However, the dessert was memorable as they flamed a creme brulee (strictly for entertainment purposes).

The next day we had a magnificent gourmet lunch cruise down the Sein River. The food was quite good paired with wonderful  French wine enhancing the once in a life time views, which included the Eiffel Tower. That’s when it became abundantly clear… we weren’t in Kansas anymore… Toto.

The last day in Paris we enjoyed a tour of the Louvre with a guide that knew one descriptive word, “scrumptious”. Seeing the Mona Lisa and the statue of Venus di Milo were certainly a couple of the highlights of this educational and enlightening tour.  Putting the guides lack of descriptive terms on the back burner, this was another bucket list must see that we were able to scratch off the list.

This will be a three part series of our trip to Europe. I’d like you to fully grasp the spirit of our journey as we explored some of the most beautiful, iconic, and historic sights in all of Europe.