Driving the temperature while blazing through the appropriately named Thermal, CA at 9PM.
It’s one day before the Fourth of July, and there’s no place like home. It takes traveling to a foreign country to make you appreciate all the blessings we have here in the United States. You don’t need to trek through Europe for the proper effect. I get the same reminder after a Saturday building houses in Tijuana for those less fortunate. Crossing the border back to San Diego or landing at Lindbergh Field … that’s all it takes.
To the US isolationists and America-bashers alike: go out and see the world. It’s not all bad and you’ll realize how great we have it here.
For the record, we spent almost three weeks in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Paris, Normandy, and London (in that order). Not once were we subjected to any anti-American attitudes. In fact, some of the friendliest and most helpful people we encountered were in (surprise) France! When the stupid American tourists — that would be us — couldn’t figure out how to open the train door and missed the stop at Bayeux, two helpful Frenchmen onboard politely offered assistance.
Because the US gets plenty of bashing, mostly from Americans it seems, my family decided that one day of celebrating our freedom and independence is not enough. We’re warming up with a picnic on July 3 with friends and family. And the Fourth will be different this year.
Amid our patriotic colors and traditions, we hold in our hearts and minds the solemn reminder of the sacrifices Americans made at places like Utah Beach, where we stood only weeks ago. Americans volunteer to fight not only for their country but for those deprived of the liberties we take for granted. And we know there are kind people in other countries who still appreciate what Americans have done in the name of freedom even if we ourselves tend to forget. One day to remember isn’t enough.
Greetings from London. We are back in the UK after three days in France where we toured the usual highlights (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Seine, etc.). But the best by far was a two day jaunt to Normandy — specifically, the little village of Bayeux, famous for the Bayeux Tapestry, a 70 meter illustration in cloth depicting the life and death of Britain’s Saxon King Harold as told by his Norman brother William.
From Bayeux, we were fortunate to get a private tour of several areas near the D-Day invasion 61 years ago, nearly to the date. Our guide, a former British Infantryman and WWII history expert, took us on a “Band of Brothers” tour, following the events of the real 101st Airborne “Easy Company” division upon which the acclaimed Spielberg/Hanks series is based. What an experience.
Just a few days left here in London as our extreme journey comes to an end…
Greetings from Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s been very tough to find access in Bath, Wales, and Ireland. We have just a few hours left before we leave to Inverness (the Scottish Highlands) and any further connectivity there will be due to providence. We’ll be back here at our current B&B in two days.
After we’re done with the Scots, we take on the French for a “Brothers In Arms” tour in Normandy. (Chosen by my son, the WWII history buff.) In prep, we watched Saving Private Ryan (ripped from DVD to a DivX MPEG video and played back on my little 2.5 pound ultra portable Dell Latitude X1 that has accompanied us everywhere). Those first 20 minutes of the movie will come back to us as we step on the shores of Omaha Beach. We wrap up France with a day in Paris and then we’re back to London for a few days.
If there’s an opportunity, more will follow. Cheers!
At long last, D-Day arrives (that is, D for “deployment”). I’m officially away on an extreme field trip through Great Britain, Ireland, and France for the 60th anniversary of the real D-Day. Though I’ve gone underground until mid-June, I’ll make an attempt to post news from abroad.
Now it’s time for tea, biscuits, huge English breakfasts, and lots of hiking through Britain. Cheers!