At some point when I was in third or fourth grade, someone gave my family a stack of National Geographic magazines that spanned the last few years of the 1980s. On the cover of the July 1989 issue was the picture above. I had likely seen the Eiffel Tower before on TV or in movies, but this image was something else entirely. I wanted to be in this picture, wanted to see this place. I have wanted to go to Paris ever since.
In high school, I fell I love with Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, a book that made Paris look like a bohemian fuckfest for serious artists. This, to be sure, did not dampen my enthusiasm for the city. Sure, Miller was writing about the period Between The Wars, a bygone era stomped to death as the Nazis goose-stepped into the city in 1940, but… There was still that picture from 1989, the allure of history and art and romance.
I grew up, got a job and a family. The workaday middle class world is not so much soul-crushing as it is time-consuming. My dream of a vacation to France still flickered in the back of my mind, but it seemed no nearer than it had when I was rifling through that box of yellow magazines decades ago.
Fate–and family–intervened. Because of the generosity of people close to us, Kristy and I are traveling to Europe this July. This is unexpected and almost unbelievable. But we have tickets, and an itinerary is coming together. There are arrangements made for the kids and the guide dog–who are not going–and house sitters to care for the cat. The next few days are all about preparation, and then we’re off. Sixteen days in three major cities, a dream literally coming true.
It’s my goal to update this blog throughout our trip so that you will be able to follow our (mis)adventures in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. If you have suggestions or questions, please comment below.