I have made a decision. It is all I am thinking about lately.
The Entourage is going back to Europe.
Let the planning begin!
I come from a long line of curvy, voluptuous, gorgeous women who don’t mind showing off a little skin with flirtatious glimpse of beautiful lingerie. I learned the subtleties and nuances of successful innuendos at the early age of 10 while in Europe with my family.
I was 10 the year my family summered in Europe ( fancy speak for 6 weeks in a caravan crammed with 7 people who smelled like – to coin a term my dad used – the inside of an apes armpit) We had been travelling the continent and had already explored Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. The wonders of a caravan include being self-contained and self-sufficient. Language being a barrier and GPS not available for use in those days left us relying on maps and stumbling upon unexpected surprises. Some were glorious, and some meant sleeping alongside of a road in the night. Shower facilities we not always available. By the time we stumbled into Lucerne, Switzerland, my mother and grandmother were ready to de-funkify the caravan and throw us all into a bubble bath, clean clothes and soft clean sheets.
My brother and I were sleeping in a hammock-type bunk (two bars with a length of fabric running between the two) for the entire trip. Being able to snuggle into a warm cozy, soft, bed for a few nights was delicious! So, Dad backed the caravan up to the designated door and the entire entourage piled out, each carrying a load up to the rooms.
In those days, my mom was a dishy twenty-something gorgeous blonde, tiny waist, lean legs and girly curves in all the right places. She definitely turned some heads. That particular day, after freshening up, my mother wore navy blue shorts (that showed off the gams) and a white halter top that tied in the front – enhancing the curvy effect. She was making copious amount of trips up and down the stairs while our dad had taken the 3 kids (me included) out exploring. When we returned from feeding the swans (DO visit Lucerne, it is very lovely!) We entered the room to hear about the progress mom and Gran were making. My mom commented on the lecherous stares the hotel clerk kept making at her. Picture Hervé Villechaize from Fantasy Island leering at my mom. The clerk was a dead ringer for him only about 6″ taller. Dad replied in his calm, cool, unassuming, totally blind kind of way…Don’t worry about. I took one look at mom and said, “Mom your halter top has flipped up and he can see through your bra.”
For the record, Canadians as a species are not as free and open as Europeans are. My mom was mortified. Yes her bra was pretty, yes she looked fabulous, but she did not want to be sharing THAT much of herself with the front desk clerk.
Weeks later, we were in the south of France, very close to the Mediterranean. We had found a campground that had showers! Hallelujah! After the dinner dishes were all cleaned up and beds were being put together for nightfall, people from all over the campground started walking down to the showers… NAKED. You can imagine the shock and surprise from a 10 year old Canadian girl who was taught to always wear a robe over her jammies! Hindsight tells me I shouldn’t have been surprised after spending the day on the pebble beaches of Niece. There were naked people everywhere! I was over dressed by being in a one-piece tank. My dad loved the south of France.
As I watched men and women walk to the showers, I heard my grandma tell me to get crack-a-lacking. Before I knew it, there was my Gran walking down the road in her panties and bra with a towel. I was HORRIFIED!
Keep in mind; this is the mother of my dishy blonde mom. Gran -without telling her age – is 40 years older than me. So…yes Gran was gorgeous and voluptuous in those days too. In fact, she met a fellow in England that trip who thought she was utterly delightful and we used THAT relationship for all it’s worth….but that is a story for another time.
I joined the women of the entourage down to the showers, but I was dressed in full head to toe garb. Not showing an inch or skin. My Aunt and I took turns holding up a towel while the other bathed so others could not catch a glimpse of skin. Ahhhh youth. Now I know we made a bigger scene than if we had just followed suit. Once again I bow to the wisdom of the older generations.
To make it fair, now it is my turn to share…
I was 16 with a tiny waist and curves in the right places. Long legs accentuated by my love of pink heels and a tiny hound’s-tooth mini skirt that buttoned up the back. I was the director of the children’s choir for our parish. I would stand with my rear for all to see in front of the entire congregation. It was Christmas Eve and the building was standing room only. Everyone had a great view of my behind, including the fellows I found incredibly attractive – yet too shy to approach. Somehow we fought through the nerves of children and made it to the final hymn. I had turned around and stood with my choir for announcements. One of the girls whispered into my ear that my skirt was undone and my pretty pink micro panties were giving the congregation quite the peep show. You can imagine how thrilled a 16 year old would feel about THAT revelation!
Why am I sharing these stories with you? Well, an incident happened of the holidays that reminded me of the skin, lingerie, and sexiness the women in my family possess. I was in a shop the other day wearing no jacket because winter forgot to come to Edmonton this year. I was getting lecherous stares from a couple of seniors in the corner (first of all, seniors? wow – lost my touch). The gal at the counter was kind enough to inform me my zipper was indeed undone and showing off my lacy black underthings….and my blouse was unbuttoned as well…giving the world a peep of matching lingerie that I had not intended to share.
I am not sure if I should be proud of the fact that I purchase pretty panties, and come from a time honored tradition of flirtatious skin and lace peeping OR I need to take the time to check the mirror before I leave.
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck
There are no truer words spoken. I am finally over jetlag, and let me say, the older you get the harder it seems to recover from. Now that my mind isn’t foggy, I can give the proper amount of reflection to my European trip. People ask me daily “How was your trip?” In one word, astounding might fit, or maybe I need to make up a word. How about Fantastical? My trip was everything I hoped it would be, it was things I didn’t want it to be, and in many ways it was more then I could have ever expected.
For the next little while, I plan to write once a week about my amazing experiences and share some photos with you in the process. I was inspired by this blog, my new friend Sunshine often posts pictures of her travels in England.
Our first day arriving at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris felt surreal. Foggy from lack of sleep, gray and rainy day, signs I recognized except the English above the french was missing. Mom was waiting at the gate for us. She swept us up away to the traffic lanes outside, where Dad pulled up to the curb an a Caravan to escort us to destinations unknown. The plan was to head to Calais, France and spend the night. We all wanted to get to Bruges, Belgium. So Calais would be the first stop. What we didn’t expect, was the gems would would find off the beaten path. Phoebe, our trusty GPS, lead us on an expedition towards a campsite. But first we wanted to stop and pay our respects to my Grandma’s Cousin Fred. On the way, the driver spotted a sign that said Vimy Ridge. Being Canadian, we couldn’t just drive by such an importance piece to our Nation’s History, so we stopped. Remember this is our first day in Europe, and still Vimy ridge remained a one of my greatest memories of the trip.
We didn’t see the monolith at first, we were looking at the battle fields that were heavily damaged by shells that created huge craters. It was an overcast day, you could visualize the battle conditions. It was a somber site.
We walked up to the giant monolith and the path took us through a maple grove, I was speechless.
Our children were busy asking everyone questions, trying to understand what they were seeing. I am so thankful I was able to share this experience with the Offspring. It was amazing for me to see the pristine landscape, and to understand the battle took place almost 100 years ago. I no longer have family around who can share their first-hand experiences, but we do have the stories of what it was like. I can picture it vividly now as it must have been for the boys in battle who were not much older than Genetic Offspring, or the same age as my nephew.
As we approached the Monolith, quiet hush fell on our family. This massive structure with gorgeous carvings, was not only beautiful to look at, but humbling as well.
It felt strangely disrespectful to walk on the monument itself. But stairs guide you to read inscriptions, find names of soldiers who might be family and to see the views of the French country side below. The sculptures were beautiful and moving, I felt I needed to do a bit of research about the artist when I came home. The Canadian War Museum has custody of seventeen of the plaster figures created by Canadian sculptor Walter Allward (1875-1955) between 1925 and 1930 for the Vimy Memorial in France. They are now the only legacy of Canada’s most important memorial commission in which the artist’s own hand is clearly present. The stone memorial and figures in France are the work of professional stonecarvers working from his designs.
Allward had quite the vision.
We had wandered through the cimetière. This really affected Genetic Offspring. His friends and male cousins were similar in age to the boys buried beneath the stones. Far to many boys were “known only unto God”.
Surrounding the cimetière were the battle fields. There were signs posted saying there was still live munitions left in the ground. The areas were outlined by electric fences, only sheep were allowed to cross.
The picture does not give the scope nor depth to these craters. In fact just merely writing about this place cannot possibly do it justice. This was one of those experiences where actually being there provides meaning to the monumental sacrifice Mothers made for their country.
I was so very proud of our Canadian Government for the work and effort put into this place to preserve it for generations to come. I am equally thankful to the French Government for donating the land this place sits on. I cannot express how proud I was to be a Canadian that day.
I have been engaged in a love affair for years. My Honey knows about it and sometimes the 3 of us share some quality time. My Honey is very understanding. I bet you know what I am talking about! You love him too. Dark, rich and smooth. The perfect type.
In 1978 my family embarked on a 6 week adventure across Europe. I was about to be 11. Little did I know that the moment I set foot on European soil, my life would be forever changed.
For an entire decade I experienced the delights of Canadian Chocolate. Aero Bar was my favorite. Smooth milk chocolate, wrapped in foil, filled with tiny bubbles. Melt in your mouth chocolaty goodness. Every time I was allowed a treat, it was Aero or Smarties. I had a deep affection for Milk Chocolate.
Europe taught me that I was only practicing for the real thing. Belgium, Swiss, British Cadbury all teased me with the promise of more. I experienced Toblerone for the first time and loved the odd shape of the bar. Ferrero chocolate from Italy was delectable. I remember sitting on a patio somewhere along the Mediterranean, not really sure which country as we visited all of them that summer. We were enjoying a continental breakfast. Croissants, fruit, jam and pot of chocolate. That was the first time I had melted chocolate as a beverage. Locally, it is Hot Chocolate, it comes from a can and is powdered. There is was chocolate melted with hot milk added. Undeniably the best hot sweet beverage I have ever had to date. It came in a tiny individual silver tea pots. I remember thinking how grown up it felt to be served your own potted chocolate and the taste was heavenly. Easter Bunnies were forever melted and turned into my most favorite beverage. It never quite tasted the same because the quality was just not there. In England I learned the delights of a 99 Flake. It is a soft serve vanilla cone with a Flake bar stuck out the side. I remember that snack better than I remember the Tower of London. The Ice Cream Van was located beside the Tower Bridge and as people left the Tower of London, they purchased a 99. Scrumptious!
As an attempt to eat less and move more, I have taken on the challenge of “better choices”. It works like this: My Starbucks Order is now skinny, I choose a dipped cone at DQ instead of a Blizzard. See what I mean? Better choices. Not Diet. Eat Less Move More. But when it comes to Chocolate I am defenseless.
I wish I had the same food sense as my sister. As a kid, she would bite into a chocolate bar, eating one or two bites then be done. Never in my whole life have I ever been able to do that. One or two bites gave her the taste she was craving then she would put down the bar and walk away. SHE WALKED AWAY! Wow, I wanted to eat my bar, finish hers and go see if there was more. If you know us, then you can see that she walks away from food WAY MORE then I do. I don’t seem to have the switch that says, you are full, or finished or not hungry. I just have to make myself stop. I am getting better but I still need a long way to go.
Soon I will be back in the land of chocolate. I plan to share the best with my children and honey. I will bring back a sampling of the “good stuff” to show my boss that Guatemalan chocolate that she brought back was the worst food I had ever tasted in my life. I will teach her that chocolate is supposed to taste divine.
I will only be gone a week, ten days, less than a fortnight. I am giving myself permission to eat more than I move for that time, as long as it is a worthy chocolate befitting of my undoing. After all I was only 10 once. I want to experience the same pleasure of Chocolate without the guilt.
Isn’t that a novel concept. A Guilt Free Vacation. I am going to live, love, laugh, play and eat like I did when I was 10. I am sure I will need to remind myself that it is okay. Risks are like that. I am taking one. So now I get to be a Real Tourist being a Tourist.
This should be an amazing adventure!