F and K’s European Vacation!

Travel, oh travel, I heart thou. I’ve had my share. I’ve been spoiled. I could tell you about luxuriating on the beach in Thailand without kids last year, or about travelling to Italy with my best mate a few years ago for a wedding, WITHOUT KIDS. But I won’t. Not today, anyway. Today for my Lounge travelling tale I’m trawling the photo archives, taking the time machine back to 2001, when I hit Europe with a backpack for the very first time.

I had my trusty buddy F with me on the Eurostar, wearing our daggy jeans, sneakers and neck safety belts for our travellers cheques and passports (HELLO, people, this was 2001. The internet had only, like, JUST been invented). We were so cool. So chic. So au fait with the French language. So ready to take on Paris. SO unprepared to be reduced to tears by the train ticket dude at Gare du Nord.

Do you like Paris in the springtime? We liked Paris in 35 degree summertime sweat, when all the streets smelt like pee. Ah… the beauty of a city of dog-lovers. We made our way out to the fancy schmancy burbs to stay with our acquaintance Walter in Sceaux. Walter was Charmin – as in, German. Charm, itself, was lacking, though he laid an approximation of it on pretty thickly at first. Walter, Walter, Walter. He kindly put us up, and was no threat at all to a couple of 22-year old girls in daggy shorts, resembling an IT-nerd crossed with Ronald McDonald. He told every person we spoke to that we were Australian, and after the guffaws died down (and we scrabbled through our dictionary), we discovered he was also saying we’re from a British colony full of convicts. IRATE we were. FURIOUS! Being stuck in the middle of Epernay, surrounded by des Caves, it made the most sense to sink our fury into the teeth of all the French champagne we could muster. We were like drovers. Rounding them up, and putting them down. We showed him.

'Did you just call me a convict again?' 'Why yes, yes I believe I did.'

‘Did you just call me a convict again?’ ‘Why yes, yes I believe I did.’

Still somewhat upsetting to me to this day is that I was only hit on ONCE in my entire three months of travel in Europe. I blame being oblivious to what being hit upon looked like (until it was actually grabbing at me), my HORRENDOUS wardrobe, my natural F*(&* off face, and being desperately in love with my boyfriend (who is now my husband). These factors, combined with the fact I was a good head and shoulders taller than most of the men in Europe made me a very unappealing prospect. In any case, this particular hit was hard to miss. ‘Want a Vespa ride?’ Sure. Where are we going? Oh. ‘Your boyfriend, he no thinking about you. He with the other girls at home. What you come here for? He forget you’. This photo was taken on the way BACK, after I refused to get back on the bike with blondie (the perp) and rode home with harmless instead. I have sunburn and ‘bugger off’ written all over my innocent face.

Dodgy, dodgy, italianos. Nonplussed, sunburnt, pissed off Kim.

Dodgy, dodgy, italianos. Nonplussed, sunburnt, pissed off Kim.

Quite famous I was in Rome though. They made me some coffee. Still waiting on the royalties. Bastardos.

When, will I, will I be famous?

When, will I, will I be famous?

And Spain? Spain was MAD. A whirlwind of wonderful. We decided to randomly jump off the train in San Sebastien, which was a brilliant decision, since they had the running of the bulls that day, and a thousand million tapas bars in every street, and beaches that burned my legs to a glorious shade of purple, and a festival that saw men peeing up the walls until 2pm the following afternoon. Then Barcelona (with Spamburgers, and more wonderful), and Madrid (with less wonderful), and the COSTA BRAVA. Ahhhhhh. The beach, and a week to relax at Llafranc. Except, it was September 11, 2001, and the World Trade Centre was hit. It was a surreal place to experience the media trickles of tragedy, amidst such relaxation and beauty.

This walk was extremely taxing. Beautiful AND flat. With my friends shops and cheap beer at the end.

This walk was extremely taxing. Beautiful AND flat. With my friends shops and cheap beer at the end.

We walked, we swam, we read, we drank Sangria in the sunset, and ate paella in the dark. We walked to the shops by the seaside path, and drank bottles of San Miguel that were cheaper than water. We recharged. Then we threw on our packs and launched into the rest of Europe, a couple of sunburnt girls heartsick for our boyfriends, with really crappy wardrobes.


Linking with the air hostess with the mostess, Rachel at www.theviblog.wordpress.com


25 thoughts on “F and K’s European Vacation!

  1. Love the whirlwind of wonderful! My American friend living here was woken in the middle of the night when her friend travelling in Greece rang hysterically asking her to turn on the tv and explain what was happening – she couldn’t understand the tv in Greece and no one spoke English (and everyone kept shaking their heads at her – as in apology). Must have been strange for you.
    Lydia c lee recently posted…What I learnt from the Voices of 2013 Masterclass…My Profile

    • Course you will. My grandma was doing Alaskan cruises solo in her 70s. As if you won’t go a wanderin’ at some point. Vicarious travel does have a lot to recommend it, however. Lots cheaper, and very comfortable.

  2. Love it! What great pics! I love my kids more than anything but one European experience without them at some point would be the best. I think that’s where travel with parents or in-laws comes in to the picture. If you’re game ;o)
    Robomum recently posted…My IslandMy Profile

    • Or… Trusting your parents or in-laws enough to leave them at home for a little bit… It can be done! I did for 5 days and have NO regrets ;)

    • Ah yes. It’s not a great ‘resting’ face to have most of the time, but it did come in handy while I was overseas! Thanks for visiting Lisa :)

    • Well… Yes.. The kind who corrected my Italian In the middle of the street while i asked for directions.. Or yelled at me to get off the pay phone… I kind of liked them even less ;)

  3. Kim, honestly I think you are me sometimes. Only thinner. HAVE YOU READ MY PARIS POST? Talk about eff off faces. I have the queen of eff off faces and eff off behaviours when encountering International European Type Men of Charm. When
    our children are all teenagers all us Lounge Lizards will escape to Tuscany or the south of France for cheese, wine and Shirley Valentine type affairs with swarthy types. Maybe. Don’t read this husbands.
    SlapdashMama recently posted…The Lounge. Blogging Break.My Profile

    • YES I read it and was so envious of you wearing a real handbag and real clothes while I stomped around in sneakers and shorts. No wonder you were accosted by a frisky Frenchman. When we meet we’ll have to have an Eff off Face Face Off.

    • I feel the same way about London, despite most of my friends falling in love with the place. Funny, isn’t it, how some places just leave you cold and others just make you feel alive?

  4. What a ball we had! Wow, and a lifetime ago as I sit here on the couch breastfeeding my 2 week old bub while my 17 mth old takes advantage of mum being preoccupied. I’m so glad we did it and I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion! Gosh, I remember catching the train into Paris in shorts, singlet and Blundstones! Big hugs to you K and thank you for the little amble down memory lane xx

  5. Sounds fantastic! I do wish I’d done Europe before we had kids but sadly I think we will be doing Europe as part of the “Grey Army” once we’ve retired and the kids can look after themselves! At least we got to do the US without kids, and we are crazily considering taking them back there one day when they are older, like late primary school/early high school earlier, and can wipe their own bums and order their own dinners. I hope! Lol! Harry Potter World better still be open by then!
    Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions recently posted…You Are Such a Whore. A Blog Whore!My Profile

    • WHAT?! There’s a Harry Potter World!? Right- I’m going back. Things have changed dramatically since I was 8, clearly. I suspect root beer still tastes like crap, though. :)

  6. Aaah I was lucky enough to be free and single for most of my travels but like you I was always VERY wary of a dodgy offer to ride on a Vespa! I only got to see Barcelona in Spain so I am jealous that you got to see so mcuh more. Oh for the days of paella and tapas and dancing till dawn *sigh* :)
    Rachel recently posted…Bundaberg and The Bumpy BoatMy Profile

    • Strangely I think I was more of a nanna when I travelled on that trip than I am now. Worried about getting my sleep etc. Do-over!

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