When I set out on our family vacation this year, I had determined to take photos differently, to give them the unique and artistic spin that truly reflects the unique nature of our trip. Alas! Once I landed on the foreign soil, my tourist instinct kicked into high gear, and all my good intentions evaporated into oblivion.
So why am I posting a photo blog of our travels? Because these days you just don't pick up your stack of prints from Costco and sort them and arrange them in a photo album any more. Still, that desire to re-live your favorite vacation moments remains. I call it the "vacation denouement". It's what you do when all the luggages are unpacked, your souvenir magnets installed in their rightful places on the fridge, your boxes of delectable goodies finally opened and savored, and you are still not ready to leave the state of vacationing.
So indulge me if you will, but I understand if you'd rather not. Here are some of the moments from our trip to Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid, broken into installments.
Vacation is about family. Family jet-lagged and in unfamiliar surroundings. Family getting lost while taking a stroll but ending up in some cool place few tourists go -- partly because it's closed for the day. (But you'll be surprised how many tourists congregate at the Louvre even on the day it's closed.) This is not the Louvre. It is the National Archives. Besides a couple of joggers, we had the whole place to ourselves.
What's a vacation without posing in front of a famous monument with a thousand other people in the background? Well, the thousand other people cease to be the "thousand other people" when you meet a mother and a daughter who hail from a city only a few miles from yours (and the daughter goes to a rival high school from your son's), and a young woman who is working as an au pair in Paris and plans to return to Oklahoma (my husband's alma mater) to study medicine. The world can be small in that way.
By the way, it was Sunday. And we were at church. Technically.
In case you're wondering, this is Notre Dame Cathedral. You know... the famous one Victor Hugo wrote about...
Here's one to prove to you that my tourist instinct was alive and well.
There's nothing like chancing upon a city-wide music festival, where the denizens of the whole city are out having fun, and there is live music in every street corner. Okay, some of these bands aren't very good, but hey, it's free, and it's Paris. So who's complaining?
Those who say that French waiters are snobbish and standoff-ish have never met our waitress at Café des Musées.A note to you foodies out there, ham* and cantaloupe are a match made in heaven.
* I don't mean the round or rectangular, reconstituted, watery pink stuff you get in the lunchmeat section of Safeway.
I will leave you with this.
A bridge loaded with countless locks, each signifying a couple's love and devotion to each other. Now, are you hearing Louis Armstrong's La Vie En Rose yet? If you didn't, I bet you do now.
To be continued...