When looking at the hour glass I see the sands of time are moving towards the back end of life at a speed not imagined when I was young. Now I count each grain of sand that reflects the wisdom of how blessed I am to be above ground another day.
So many things we should experience when we are young but put off as if there is a limitless amount of that most precious commodity, time. Fortunately I can say that I’ve lived quite a full life. However, there is one thing I am going to do more of, and that is travel.
When you’re young there are family and job responsibilities. Then there is the reality that because of these responsibilities there is not much money for travel. Plus, there is no time because of all the obligations to sustain your family and lifestyle. In life, many times, when you have no time you have plenty of money, and when you have plenty of time you have no money.
However, after careful planning, and much pain, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train coming towards me. The light is the combination of time and money to enjoy the fruits of my labor. That means that places I’ve always dreamed of traveling to are now targeted in the not so distance future.
Many of my contemporaries have already traveled to Europe. Most have done it when they were fancy free and without the encumbrances of family or a job. They saved up and were able to plot a trip that included hostels, cheap food, and memories that would last a life time.
For the first time in my life, Nancy and I are going to Europe. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see, in person, the places I’ve only read about in books. It’s a dream come true to plan for what could be the trip of a lifetime.
Planning the trip is like planning a military operation. To enjoy the experience the most is an exercise in balance. Balancing between seeing what we want to see and not doing too much. The balance between being a traveler and a tourist.
The unbridled excitement is palpable as we get closer to our liftoff. We will be spending time in London, Paris, Dijon (in the Burgundy region of France), Switzerland, and finally Germany. Each place will be a catalog of carefully planned tours, meals, and independent discovery.
Each destination will be a wonderful travel log written in a diary that will attempt to capture the flavor of the experience. It will be the fusion of language to ensnare the emotion of discovery with the painting of a picture.
Iconic foreign statues, pictures, buildings, castles, rivers, museums, and restaurants will only be a complete interactive experience when we enjoy the people from those different cultures.
Across the pond (as they call it) will test our acumen to understand different languages, currencies, and of course the metric system. Not only those aforementioned items but also train and subway schedules, and local customs.
I believe that anytime you put yourself in the mode of discovery you grow as a person. This widens your horizons and helps you understand a little better the general mind set of those you come in contact with from other countries. I’ve met many people from different countries over the course of my culinary career. I’m sure its quite different when you greet them on their home turf.
We don’t have numerous tours booked but the ones we do have booked should be epic. I booked the most strenuous tour on our second day in Europe/London. We will be going to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, a river cruise down the Thames river, finishing up at the famous department store, Harrods. That’s the only tour we are taking in London, an all day extravaganza.
In Paris we are scheduled for a river cruise down the Seine with a gourmet lunch and copious amounts of Champagne. Our last day in Paris will be a guided tour to one of the most famous galleries in the world, the Louvre. Then we’re off to Dijon in the Burgundy region of France.
We will take a train from Paris to Dijon and rent a car in Dijon. Too much beautiful scenery and country in Burgundy and eventually in Switzerland not to take it slow and enjoy every castle and lake along the way. This is a dream of mine to finally scratch off the bucket list. The Burgundy region has produced my favorite wine in the world, La Tache in the Vosne-Romanee, France.
We will enjoy a wine tour which includes a lunch and wine tastings at several Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards near Dijon. After a couple days in Dijon we will drive to Switzerland.
Our first destination in Switzerland will be the Ambassador Boutique Hotel in Nyon on Lake Geneva. Then we drive past Bern Switzerland and into Lucerne where we will stay at the Hotel Royal Luzern with a room facing lake Lucerne. Our last destination in Switzerland will be the Hotel Mokka in Laufenburg Switzerland. Half the town is in Switzerland and across the bridge from Switzerland is the other half of the town, in Germany.
Our final destination will be a small town near Frankfurt, Germany, Oberursel (Taunus). This is an Air B&B, checking out November 2nd, and flying out of Frankfurt Germany, back home.
I will be writing down the different takes on our experiences so that all whom follow will have a better idea of what to expect on this wonderful journey we call life.