|Hampton Court, the famous home of Henry VIII.|
First off, can I say that in eight days I lost 7 pounds. Does that say anything about the amount of walking we did? On average, we walked, climbed stairs, stood in lines, rode metros, and meandered through sites for 8-9 hours a day. Every night, I rubbed my poor sore feet in the hopes that they would still be attached to my body by the end of the trip! Even the teens that traveled with us complained that their feet hurt, so I know it wasn't just me. Who knew that I could go on vacation, and still eat croissants, pastries, and nutella and not gain an ounce! (Oh, and did you know France has these cool Chicken & Thyme flavored Lays potato chips? Some in our group didn't like them, but I thought they were delish!) I suppose I should schedule more vacations if this is the case? The travel diet sounds pretty darn good to me!
I'll admit that our trip got off to a rocky start and I'm not much of an American Airlines fan at this point. Our flight was late getting into Chicago when we left, and although the plane was still in the gate, they wouldn't let us on. It didn't make sense to me though, since there were eleven people on the incoming flight that needed to catch that plane and it sat at the gate for almost 30 minutes after we ran to get there. In hindsight, we're all pretty sure they sold our seats and just bumped us. We ended up sleeping a pretty miserable night in the airport and catching a flight that next night at around 6:30pm that put us into London early Saturday morning. Lucky us though, they also lost our luggage in the switch, which we then didn't get until Sunday evening. That means that we not only had literally slept in our clothes in the airport one night and again on the overnight flight into London, but then had to wear them for two more days! Yes, talk about a lovely sight that we all just had to laugh at and keep moving.
Regardless of the rocky start to our trip, we made up for it all by really hitting the pavement and seeing as much as possible. We did all the normal in London, which I have to say that I absolutely loved. I'm even now looking into courses that I could take that would put me back into London for a couple of months. I loved it all. The city is great, full of history, and teeming with activity. We got rained on a good bit last Sunday, but we had a great time while we were there.
This is just a short blip on the radar of all that happened on my trip, but I couldn't move smoothly on to reviews and other reading-related posts without giving my trip a nod. On a personal level, travel is what I live for. If I could afford to travel out of the country every year I would do it, but it's not really a possibility at this point, so I enjoy every moment of the time I do get to spend abroad, about every four years. It definitely takes some planning, and skimping and saving on my part to make it happen, but it's so worth it. Besides, on a professional level, I think that connecting the literature that I've read and loved with the locations and history behind them is invaluable. Although I try not to share history and places like big travelogues with my students, I always hope that some of what I bring back helps them to get excited to also connect to the writings of great authors. My hope is always that they see the value and importance of reading and studying literature, because as a great teacher and mentor of mine said to me, "Business and other lucrative fields might control the world, but the humanities CHANGE the world." I've hung onto that thought and can see more than ever the impact of art, history, music, and literature on the standard of one's life. Without these beauties, where would our lives be?
Enough waxing poetic for one day. Today I'm going to go for a nice, long walk to keep up with what we did on our trip, and then will settle down with a stack of good books. Since I really haven't read in over a week, I'm behind on books I need to read and review by the end of the month, so that's what I'll be doing. I hope you're having a great weekend! To close, I'll include a short video clip of the Eiffel Tower doing its hourly sparkle at night. We had such fun sitting back on the grass, avoiding the salespeople with their champagne and lit-up Eiffel Tower statues for sale. It was all an experience to remember. It's slightly cheesy to get so excited about it, but the Eiffel Tower really was a real highlight. Au revoir!