Monday, April 1, 2013

Vacation Reflections

I am ruminating a lot these past few days about travel and its effect on me physically and mentally.  Having spent almost two weeks abroad in Madrid and Paris with my husband and children, I have been struggling if my travel days are ending soon or do I have to modify the plan.  We did a lot on vacation but it wasn't effortless.  Eating and sleeping were challenging.  We, as a unit, didn't get on the same schedule at the same time. We did plow through when necessary. We went to the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Sofia Reina Museums.  We hit the highlights so we didn't overwhelm the brains and the bodies.  I feel very good about seeing these three museums.  We went to see a Flamenco dinner show, which was so hilarious and sad at the same time.  It's the "second" best show supposedly and we didn't plan in advance so the best show was sold out.  When we got there, there were maybe 8 people, all Asian sitting around the room. The dancing was enjoyable, but went on far too long and I felt so bad for the performers playing to such a small crowd. I was certain that the star dancer was mocking the audience members in Spanish, but we didn't know what she was saying.  If I had been them, I would have performed one hour and ended.  They certainly gave their all and they had another show to do in an hour. Ugh!  What a life, even in Madrid. No smoking in the restaurants! I feel very good about seeing Madrid for the first time.  It's a beautiful city and we only scratched the surface.  

We then journeyed to our favorite city: Paris.  I think I have been there nine times in my life.  Twice as a child and seven times as an adult.  It's a fantastic city; there's no doubt about that.  We have stayed in different arrondissements or sections, but definitely like the Left bank better than the Right bank and love the Marais, above all else.  This time we rented a two bedroom apartment in the 5th arrondissement on the Left bank. Near and around where we've stayed before, yet different. We were a block from the Luxembourg Gardens and the Musee de Luxembourg. The weather was still quite chilly and none of the gardens had bloomed.  There was a Chagall exhibit at the Musee de Luxembourg and we got tickets for that.  We arrived on time and waltzed right in. The only problem...too many people. A beautiful exhibit that couldn't be fully appreciated because there were too many people.  We were in and out in under 30 minutes.  Glad that we got a glance, but disappointed that we couldn't get any perspective. 

Other days we walked and walked.  I didn't plan the outings well, so by the time we got to the destination, I was spent. I felt unbelievably challenged, disabled, and tired.  My MS really seemed to get the best of me at times, which, in turn, brought on so much guilt.  But, you know what?  I don't think anyone cared as much as I.  It really bothered me.  It really did a number on my psyche and felt that this may be my last big trip. I am not going to  make any sweeping decisions. One day at a time, I say.  I do know that as many times as I've been fortunate enough to visit Paris, there are still things I haven't done or seen. So, it may beckon me again. 

Sidebars:  So much more to our travels than that. Both Google and Facebook are changing their looks.  Not liking either. Amazing Race in Africa was both intriguing and curious. How did the players run through and drive through the bush without fear of animals? Were there hunters with tranquilizer guns out of camera view? The Good Wife has been much better the past couple of weeks.  This weeks episode featured the actress who starred as Brody's wife in Homeland.  I think she messed with her face.  She looked odd to me.  Tonight The Voice is back for week two.  It is still the best singing competition of all of them.  Shakira is too adorable and will definitely broaden her fan base.  Usher has always been mysterious to me so it will be interesting to "get to know" him. The Final Four is complete: Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan, and Syracuse. Should be fantastic basketball! Be wary today; it's April Fool's Day!  

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