Take a trip with me to another world and another time. Not another world in the sense of aliens (although the gobbledygook of foreign languages and the lifestyles of the locals made it seem like it could be!) Not even another century unless you define the twentieth century as another “time.” It was, however, alien to me though not in a bad way. I was a young woman. I had recently completed my education and was embarking on a new career and life. But, first, my friend and I were going on an European adventure.
We flew to England where we stayed with my sister and her husband, who was stationed at an air force base in Ipswich, England. We did the usual sightseeing in London, but the real adventure began when my friend and I bravely rented a Ford with the steering wheel on the wrong side and headed out to “see” Europe in 4 days!
We took a ferry to Belgium and drove to Bruges. Bruges was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a foggy morning and the canals were encased in saturated colors and a white mist wafted around the bridges and centuries-old buildings. Bruges is where my lifelong passion to return to Europe began. We didn’t call it a Bucket List then, but, nevertheless, that was the beginning of mine.
After Bruges came Amsterdam. We did a whirlwind tour of the Rijksmuseum. We took a photo of the Heineken Brewery, saw a dike (the water kind,) and took a boat tour through canals lined with lovely old homes.
From Amsterdam, we went briefly to Koln, Germany. Then, on to Paris.
Ahhhh, Paris, the City of Lights. What a wonderfully historic, romantic place! We saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, the outside of Notre Dame and the factory where they make Shalimar perfume (very important site!) Oh, and we met a cute French guy who took us to a discotheque. It was all fun and lovely.
But, we didn’t see Montmartre, or the inside of Notre Dame where my husband’s uncle was the first American priest to celebrate Mass during World War II after the liberation of Paris from the Nazis. We didn’t visit the Louvre. Or, countless other wonderful places I would love to visit.
But, I was young then and although we had a great adventure, I will definitely do it differently the next time. I would see with better eyes—eyes that have experienced life and know what is important to me, know what I want and need to see, know what I missed then and don’t want to miss now before my time is up. That’s what my bucket list is all about—to see before I can’t see, write while I remember how to write and experience the world now that I’m old enough to appreciate all of its splendor, excesses and opportunities. I want to tell everyone about it and know that, if they want to, they can see, hear and feel my adventures through my words and pictures. What could be better than that?