15 May 2007

The Wind in Your Hair

Our recent guests from the UK brought along their sports cars to enjoy the sun, the wind in their hair and the hairpin curves coming up and down our road along with all the other points of interest along the way. They drove down thru France and came to us via the Upper Chisonethru Sestriere, still with a bit if snow left over from the ski season and along past the always impressive Fortezza di Fenestrelle, sometimes referred to the Great wall of Piedmont.
After a stay with us the are spending some time in Liguria before heading home to Great Britain by way of Nice. There they will load their cars onto this season's inaugural Monorail overnight trip back home. Seems like a relaxing way to enjoy the journey home to me. It's the stuff of memorable trips and adventures that you talk about for years to come. I'm glad we were included in the itinerary. Reminds me of my family's European travel adventure when I was a kid. My father was the king of "the art of the deal". He arranged for us to do a home exchange in Great Britain for a month, had traded in an old Saab "96" model that he had rescued from the junk yard, as no one could get their heads around putting the oil in with the gas, so they were always a supply for my fathers side line of spare time car mechanic. Armed with "Europe on $5 a Day", we picked up a brand new Saab in Slough England, broke it in whilst we stayed in England, taking in as many sights and experiences as possible. Then we embarked on the grand European tour for 6 weeks before driving our well broken in Saab onto a train, that eventually went onto a boat, that took us to Copenhagen where we had the car shipped back to the US for a mere pittance. We naturally luxuriated on the Icelandic 12 hour propeller plane, flight back home. It was an adventure and very life changing for me I suppose. I have such vivid memories of it all, least of all the food and customs that were so foreign and exotic to a young kid from a very small town in midwest, now quaintly referred to as the heartland of America. I suppose it has helped shape the course of my life directly and more indirectly than I realized. I am still deeply grateful and appreciative of the sacrifices that my parents made in order to give my youngest brother and I, a very special summer abroad. It's a wonderful memory especially as my parents are no longer with us but their adventuresome spirit lives on particularly in that summer. When it came to cars, my father had a passion for car trading, and these sports cars brought it all sweetly back home to me. So, although I digress from the subject, the wind might not be whistling thru my hair at the moment, but the childhood memories of "European Vacation" still evoke some pleasant feelings. I guess I would encourage those of you, especially with children to consider an adventure that might be more budget that splurge, but splurge anyway as the memory will live on long after the bills are paid.

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