A Dream of Europe – A Holiday Remembered


Yesterday, in a hung over state, my husband and I lounged in the living room watching photographs from last year’s BEV (Big European Vacation) flash across our flat screen.

“Gosh, that was a good trip.  Look how happy we were at the Acropolis.” I groaned, holding my aching head.

“Look at that sun-drenched Mediterranean coastline,” my husband murmured from the depths of his big leather chair.

“La Sagrada Familia is just weird,” I commented.  (Ok, that piece of dialogue was real; the others, not so much).

It was a very good trip.  We’ve talked about re-visiting Europe.  The conversation was pre-hangover because in the cold, harsh light of sobriety we know it will be years before we can afford to go again.

Yeah, I know all of Europe is deep in the throes of recession, depression, austerity, and in a month London will be enjoying a whopper of a post-Olympic hangover but I still want to go back.  The Banshee is getting increasingly restless.  We’ve stayed put now for three years…we ain’t gettin’ any younger and neither is Europe.  Venice is sinking, you know.

When do we say, screw it and just do it?  Take the leap we’ve been longing to take for nearly twenty years, trade the North American sizes of homes, appliances, roads, and land mass for the smaller, more economy-sized Europe?

London would be the first choice for a couple of reasons:  language and job.  I have nightmares about making a complete ass of myself in a foreign language whereas I do so daily in my native tongue with no qualms.  Also, Hubby can work in the UK on an “ancestry visa” because his grandmother was born there; London also provides the most opportunity in his line of work.

However, if money were no object: Buon giorno, Roma!  For pure romance, people watching, and authentico street-level lunacy, nothing beats Rome.   I already have my apartment picked out (it will have to be a BIG lottery win).

A photo popped up of me and the kidlets sitting on the Spanish Steps.  We looked footsore but happy. I remember how rushed we were and how many landmarks we simply couldn’t visit because we were  I was paranoid about missing the boat.  I regret not taking Hubby’s suggestion that we miss the boat on purpose and spend the night in Rome.  We easily could have caught up with the boat in Salerno.  Ah, the 20-20 rear view…

My son made an interesting comment.  The wise twelve-year-old said we should not live anywhere that felt magical because as residents, the magic would fade.  Rome would become like anywhere else – like Toronto.  I would bitch about the taxes, the hydro bills, the line ups at the market…I would likely die under the wheels of a Vespa…

So, ok maybe we don’t live in Rome.  Maybe we just have a nice, long visit.  We would immerse ourselves in the landmarks and enjoy leisurely meals off the piazza of our choice.  Then, we would return to our rented villa in the hills outside of the city. The air would be scented with citrus and the only nighttime noise – the sound of a breeze rustling through olive trees…

This is part of the “Lotto 649” fantasy loop…

The beauty of Europe lies not only in its history but also its compact size. Those of us corn-fed and raised on the wide open vistas of North America cannot conceive of driving through three different countries in a day. The sheer network of trains throughout Europe means you can go anywhere by train.  Lots of anywheres.

I long to experience that life before I get much older.  Mobility scooters don’t work very well on medieval cobblestone streets.  Nor do walkers.  Let’s do this, already.  I can hear my husband’s voice in my head:  Patience, patience.  We have to get the youngest through high school.

Ah, he’s smart.  He can skip a few grades, si?




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