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Roam if you want to

Arc de Triomphe, 2010

Saturday was Bastille Day. I have a special affinity for July 14th because we were in Paris on Bastille Day in 2010, nearing the end of one of the best family vacations we’ve ever taken. One we still talk about frequently with smiles on our faces.

I’m an explorer by nature. I love to travel and learn about other places, other cultures, and their unique histories. I love finding the similarities that make us all human, and the differences that make us all unique. If I could move to a different part of the world every six to twelve months, I’d do it.

Maybe it’s because I lived in Germany twice during my first eight years of life (courtesy of the U.S. Army), with parents who spent as much time traveling around Europe as they could manage on a tight budget. In the summer, we motored around in a tiny Volkswagen Rabbit, lugging a big orange tent, a camping stove, and sleeping bags. I remember a lot of icy-cold campground showers. During the winter, we skied in the Italian, Swiss, or German Alps, staying in rented rooms or apartments.

Norway, 1980

After we moved back to the States, we took a two-week tour of the U.S. and Canada, driving from Philadelphia to California (in that same Rabbit). Growing up, I didn’t go a single year without visiting someplace new (or old), no matter where we lived.

I’m sure it’s no accident that I married a military man. Luckily, one who shares my affinity for travel. We haven’t been stationed overseas, but we get to move every few years, and we’re always planning our next trip. As a family, we’ve visited more than 35 States, and nine countries so far.

I have big plans, but not the big funds to support them all. 😉

After my husband retires, I’m not sure we’ll be able to pick a place to live permanently. Just the thought of “settling down” somewhere makes me itchy. I might find a city I like and end up staying there forever, but in my mind there always has to be the option to leave.

Roam by the B-52s could be my theme song. Or Ramblin’ Man (if it were Ramblin’ Woman) by the Allman Brothers. I wasn’t born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, but I might as well have been, because pulling up stakes and moving on is in my blood.

What about you? Traveler or homebody?

Oui went to Paris

I have been shirking my travelog duties lately, so today I thought I'd cover a little of my trip to Paris. As luck (good or bad, depending on your preferences) would have it, we arrived in Paris on Bastille Day.

We reached the city in time for dinner and then a nine o'clock boat tour on the Seine River, which motored past the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Grand Palais, and under bridge after beautiful bridge. I thought we would see the Bastille Day fireworks from the boat, but it didn't get dark in Paris until almost 11 pm! We took a bus tour of the important sites and then got out to join the masses lined up along the Seine to catch the celebration after dark.

The fireworks were, well, fireworks, but somehow it was neat to be watching them in Paris. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially since I'm not inclined to fight huge crowds. (Like the DC Cherry Blossom Festival. Never. Again.)

Our saintly bus driver fought the traffic for more than an hour and delivered us back to the hotel around 0130. The next day, we toured the Eiffel Tower and the Palace at Versailles, walked along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, and rode the Metro.

Sunflower fields in the French countryside

One of many boats on the Seine that appeared to be lived on

The Arc de Triomphe at night, with flag out for Bastille Day

Notre Dame

The Eiffel Tower, duh

View of Paris and the Arc de Triomphe from the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower

Garden at the Palace of Versailles - I found the garden more interesting than the building

Gardens at the Palace of Versailles

Toyota Showroom in on the Champs, just like any other store

It was a quick two days in a lovely city full of history. And people. I wanted to see the Louvre, but they had limited hours on the day we could go, so we missed it. I guess that's a good reason to go back, oui?

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