Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home from Europe

Yesterday my wife and I returned home from our trip to England and France. It was a great adventure. The planning for the trip started last year when our daughter called and asked me If I wanted to go with her to London in August. She knows her mother doesn't like big cities and so didn't think she would want to go. However she also wanted to go so her mother and I met her in London about two weeks ago. We had a good time in London and then took the Euro Star train to Paris and spent a few days there and then flew home on Friday. I will devote further posts to more details of the trip but here is a list of my top 10 things we did.

1. Had a private tour of Parliament in London. Our daughter who works in Washington DC was able to arrange for a tour of Parliament and we were able to get on to both the floor of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We then had lunch with a Member of Parliament (a Conservative party member) on the Parliament Terrace that overlooks the Themes River.

2. Went to Winston Churchill's home at Chartwell and took a tour. You could almost smell his cigars. He loved the place and it was wonderful to visit the home of one of my hero's. While there I "invested" in a 12" statue of Churchill titled "Winston is Back" It is now on the shelf with my collection of Churchill books in a honored place in our dinning room.

3. Near Parliament went to the underground bunker Churchill and the British Cabinet used to run the war during the Battle of Brittan.

4. Had a guide drive us, after Chartwell, to the White Cliffs of Dover on the English Channel. It was a clear day and we could see France. While there we saw the Battle of Britain Memorial to the RAF.It was very moving.

5. Went to the Palladium in London and saw Sr Andrew Loyd Weber's production of the musical "Sound of Music"

6. In Paris spent about 4 hours on the second level of the Eiffel Tower and watched the lights come on in the "City of Lights"! It was awesome.

7. Had a guide take us to Omaha Beach in Normandy and got a small bottle of the sand. Saw the graves of two of Teddy Roosevelt's sons who are buried there. One who died in WWI and the second, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, from WW II.

8. Saw Napoleon's Tomb.

9 Saw the Arc De Triumph and walked down the Champs Elysees.

10. Saw the Louver and the Mona Lesa.

What really made the trip special was the quality time we spent with our daughter. We only wish our son could have gone too. It rained much of the trip but it was special adventure.In future posts I will write about spending the night on the way back at the San Francisco Airport, our boat trip on the Seine and the Moulin Rouge

BTW, on my return I learned about Phil Knights giving the University of Oregon Athletic Department 100 million dollars. For some reason CNN International, which we got at our Paris Hotel, did not report this story. Go Ducks. Less than a week till the first football game. Life is Good!