Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vacation Memories: Part One

As we grow older, our memories inevitably begin to fade. But despite our fading memories, there are always a handful of precious ones that stick with us. My brothers, sister, and I were very lucky to have spent some of our childhood in Europe. Living in Germany allowed our family many opportunities to have extraordinary vacations (and even more mini day trips). Although I cannot recall all the details of these vacations, the memories I do have are worth treasuring.

My family and I had a great time visiting places in France. The memories I have of France are unfortunately all jumbled together. I can’t even remember how many times we were there. Maybe it was just once. My favorite memory of France was our visit to the castle/abbey on Mont St. Michael. Mont St. Michael is a tidal island in Normandy, France. It was once upon a time connected to the mainland by a natural bridge, but since the bridge was always completely covered during high tide it wasn’t very efficient. Thanks to modern advances, visitors can now visit the island by a man-made causeway. Although I remember having fun wandering through the old buildings and castle, the memories of exploring around the island stick out most in my mind. The tides at Mont St. Michael are very fascinating. During low tide visitors can walk around the island’s sandy beach. However, when high tide is coming in, it is time to run. The tides in the area change very quickly and have been described as being as “swift as a galloping horse”. When the tides have completely come in, the island is entirely surrounded by water. I can still hear the worry in my mom’s voice as she told us is was time to leave the beach. I’m pretty sure she didn’t want a bunch of wet kids in her car. If you want to check out Mont St. Michael from the comfort of your own home, check out this youtube link and enjoy!

Paris was another great place we visited in France. Looking back, it is funny to think of the things that impressed me the most. When we went to the Louvre, I was more impressed with the outside of the building than the art inside. As we walked by street vendors, I was more impressed with the young artists’ doing pencil drawings than I was of the expensive oil paintings. And as we laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower, I was more impressed by the people who could walk to the top than of the tower itself. Of course now I regret that I was not mature enough to appreciate all the wonders of Paris, but as a child I still had a great time! Notre-Dame was one place in Paris that was magnificent enough to impress children and adults alike. Whether standing inside or outside of the cathedral, the sights are breathtaking. If you are ever in Paris, this is one place you can not miss.

Please feel free to share any great memories of your childhood vacations. I would love to hear them all. Tomorrow I will continue with my memories of our German vacations.

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion.


Papa said...

Boy, that brings back memories. I don't remember everything about that trip either, but here's some of the things I can recall. On that particular trip, I remember my supervisor let me borrow his white Toyota van so that we could travel more comfortably. I was discussing this with Mom, and we first drove to Normandy. Before or after visiting the Normandy American Cemetery, we also went to the beach and you lost one of your shoes! You must have had a backup pair in the car. After that, we drove to Mont St Michel, and that place was awesome. We all had so much fun there. I remember we didn't do much research before we came, and all we knew of the tide was what was written on a sign. We weren't sure when the tide was coming in or how fast it would come in. So, even though we were having fun walking, climbing, and playing around Mont St Michel, we kept an ear out for the ringing bell that would let us know the tide was coming in. Every once in a while, one of us would say, was that a bell?!? I just finished looking at some pictures of that trip, and you all were so, so cute. Sure wish we could time travel back sometimes :-) After we left there, we had planned on camping (like we did in front of Neuschwanstein castle), but couldn't find a decent place - so, we ended up sleeping in the van at some rest stop. It wasn't very comfortable, but I had my family with me and that was all that mattered. Before getting into France, we stopped to visit Chartres Cathedral - it was really magnificant. In Paris, we did stay in a hotel and not in our car. :-) It wasn't a 5, 4, or even a 3 start hotel, but it had character - lots of character. :-). You kids stayed in one room, mom and I stayed in another room, and the entire floor shared the same bathroom - that was an experience. I remember you all enjoyed the hot chocolate and fresh bread the hotel included for breakfast, bouncing on your beds, our metro rides, visiting all the museums, Chris and Ryan enjoyed the fire breathing person in front of Notre Dame, you and Amy doing cartwheels and roundoff back handsprings down the big grass area in front of the Eiffel Tower, watching cool skateboarders someplace close to the Eiffel Tower, hanging out on the cool bridges, dodging cars around the Arc de Triumph, shopping, all the great food we ate, and Mom and I being greatful for having a wonderful family.

Kel said...

I do remember that hotel in Paris. Thinking back, I'm glad I didn't have my hotel phobia then (although, it may have started it:). Somehow, I also have vivid memories of the rest stops along the way. Nothing like a hole in the floor to traumatize a girl forever! :) Just kidding!

Next time we come over, we'll have to get the pictures out. I'd love to show the girls (and Joel)!

melia426 said...

i wish i could remember more, i cant tell if i actually have these memories or if i just remember watching home movies haha, i do remember the eiffel tower at night, and running at Mont St Micheal :) I definitly want to go visit it again now when I'll be able to appreciate it more :)We had so much fun growing up :)

Natalie and Todd said...

What great experiences you had! Love reading about them! I lived a sheltered life growing up :) The beach was the only place we really went for vacation and I did not fly until I was a senior in college. Luckily I've traveled alot in the last ten years and I can't wait to one day travel with my husband and kids* to all kinds of places (*when I have them....hahaha).