Most of us start our days off going through the motions. Waking up stretching our back, making breakfast for ourselves and the family, jumping in the shower, getting the kids off to school and going to work. There are 365 days in year and in a typical American household on average we get three weeks of vacation a year.
You might be thinking that’s really not a whole lot of time off from work, when in fact you are right it’s not!! Three weeks out 365 days isn’t a whole hell of a lot of time to take off!
When we are young time seems infinite, no worries and responsibilities other than trying to please our parents and play with our friends. As we get older we tend to fall into patterns and daily routines only looking forward to the weekend to unwind.
I must admit I am guilty of this and in the past few years I have felt like I am just going through the motions of life. I have been discontent and frankly a little bored. I am a creative person at heart and what makes my heart beat a little faster other than rigorous exercise is trying new things, seeing new places, and creating new things. Not just any place but places with culture, art, color, history!!! Amazing landscapes that sooth the soul!
This July we traveled to Europe. I hadn’t been back in about ten years. It was just what my heart was craving. I soaked it all up like a sponge. In the eleven days we were there we started off in Zurich Switzerland, then to Interlaken where we hiked into the alps. Unless you have been there it’s hard to describe the grandeur and beauty that lives there. Like many parts of Europe the landscapes are vast and untouched and hold a simple elegance. When I was within it I felt surrounded by angels.
While I am not an overly religious person I do believe there are higher powers above who look after us and guide us. Before we left for our trip we needed to drop our son off with his grandparents. We were to be gone for eleven days and this was the longest time I had been away from him. While I was excited for the trip I was going to miss him and needed assurance that he would be ok while we were gone. As we were dropping him off with his grandfather he was sad and crying and so was I. Then I looked down and saw a penny on the ground and at that moment I was relieved. A good friend of mine once had told me that when you see random pennies in random places it is a gift of abundance and love from angels. I knew it was my grandmother who had passed away years ago. I reached down and gave it to my son and said “Look here is a penny you know what that means?” He shook his head and said yes mommy it’s great grandma sending her love.” I said “Yes buddy exactly.” While my trip was great so was his. He had a great week and everything went smoothly.
After we finished in the alps we then ventured onto Basel. Basel on it’s own is a beautiful place with rich history and culture. Dating back to roman times It is a city that is filled with people who love music and the arts like no other. Music is part of who they are and their heritage. Although it’s a city, while walking through it people seem to know each other well and will call out a casual hello to one another. For us it’s a special place because we have friends who live here. To stay in a hotel is a nice escape but when traveling abroad it’s also so cool to stay with people you know and love. We stayed with my good friend Walter and his family for three days! Walter is the nicest most lovable guy who always has a smile on his face! He is in a musical group called The Swiss Mariners. They are a fife and drum group that are brothers to the American Ancient Mariners out of CT. During the week they were to hold a concert in a park. This is what prompted our trip. My brother along with many other friends of mine have been affiliated with them for years. It was a treat for us to be there for a few days and join in on the fun!
After having a great time in Basel we then headed to Versailles France. Yes that’s the palace of Versailles where Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI lived. To say it was incredibly beautiful is an understatement. With an hour and a half wait to get in my adrenaline was pumping. I had dreamed of seeing this palace for many years. As a lover of history, art, and design I was anxious to get inside and immerse myself in it. Alongside the many thousands of people who you are elbow to elbow with this was not exactly fun but I made the best of it and managed to filter out the people and focus on the sheer beauty and every detail of the palace. Every corner I turned there was a chandelier hanging amongst a myriad of paintings that told a story of beautiful and opulent history. Although my camera lens shattered moments before we entered I still managed to take some detailed shots. I was in my glory. We walked approximately ten miles through rooms and into the lush gardens and then onto Marie’s farm getaway that Louis had built for her. Although there was a lot to see in a short time we sat alongside a lazy river and savored the day basking in the sun of Versailles. I felt her presence and again felt the angels shining down on me.
The last day of our trip we spent venturing into Paris. The trains weren’t working so we drove into Paris to a flea market on the outskirts of the Clignacourt Les Puces. Notorious for its hefty price tags the market was outstanding and pleasing to my eyes. While I was in awe of everything there I was also leery and careful to keep my eyes on my wallet for there are many pick pocketers in this area. Although my French is not so good I still managed to get some bargains on some things to take home and resell.
Quite frankly I have always been drawn to Europen antiques. While I do find some interesting American antiques the French ones of course have that certain Je ne sais quoi! and even in the States I find myself buying European antiques. My dream is to go back soon to the South of France and fill a container to ship back to the States or maybe even move abroad to France for a while and sell online.I think it’s time to mix it up a bit and do something new! After five hours strolling through the many allys I collected my wears and headed back to hotel for we had a long journey home the next day.
Our time abroad was filled with sixty five miles of walking, many cafes, croissants, history, art, culture, great food, beer, strolls along the Rhine, great friends, laughs and most of all making great memories. I will remember it always and not let it slip back through time for I will be back again soon to make more memories and have many more miles of walking on Swiss trails, and through french flea markets!!
Since coming back to the States recently I had heard of a friends passing. She was 44 years old and struggled with the hell of cancer for more than ten years. I thought of her while I was in Paris at the flea market and wondered how she was doing. I wondered if she would make it back to France again to the place she loved and felt so happy in. She was also a lover of antiques, designer, blogger, a mom and former broadway star. Sadly last year would be her last trip abroad but my point is she lived life to the fullest and always persevered forward even while knowing she was going to die. We all get hung up in everyday commotion but for me it’s the little things that get me threw. My sons beaming eyes, the vibrant color of the hydrangeas from my moms gardens, my cats snuggles every night, and the thought of seeing and meeting more beautiful places and people in my life. I do not take for granted these things and especially my family and friends who although I might not always see a lot I love them and they remain a big part of who I am as a person.
I tried to capture some of my experiences while abroad. Have a look, enjoy and get out there and live your life to the fullest!!