Saturday, January 22, 2011

Looking Ahead

London's Tower Bridge in the gloaming

Someone recently told me (or I read on someone's blog) that researchers have declared January 17th as the most depressing day of the year.  A combination of holiday deflation, continuing bad weather and limited sunlight makes this the most difficult time of year to be cheerful.

I believe that.

I've fallen behind a bit on my visits to your blogs, and am struggling to be inspired enough to type up something intriguing, witty or informative for my own.  All I came up with was a days-long craving for a Coke.  Although I did hit a bit of  a nerve there, that's not exactly what I like to fill my blog with.

So, as I imagine many of you are doing, I'm spending a fair amount of time looking to the future.  And it's about time I came clean with you, my blog buddies...Miss Chef and I have been planning another trip; a big one.

We're going to London.

And Paris.

Au pied de l'Arc de Triomphe


If you've been reading awhile, you might remember that my selfish, big-shot brother moved to London this past spring.  A few months later, my sister-in-law followed, bringing my precious nephews and niece with her.

Honestly, these people, have they no consideration?

Miss Chef's reaction to the news was much more constructive than mine.  "What a great excuse to go to London!"  My love for her is so extensive that instead of snapping, "That's not the point!" my immediate response was, "And if we're already crossing the Atlantic, we really should go to Paris."

So.  We have already purchased (and nearly paid for) two round-trip tickets to London in June, for a two-week stay.  My brother's family and we are quizzing each other about what we'd like to do once there.  And my sister-in-law and I have been starting to research places to stay in Paris.  All of which is a great way to fight the winter doldrums, wouldn't you say?

Miss Chef wants to eat at The Fat Duck in London.  It's one of those modern, molecular gastronomy places.  160 pounds per person (sterling, not weight.  I hope).  13 pre-determined courses, including things like "jelly of quail" and "snail porridge."  (But also including four different dessert courses, so, you know, totally worth it.)  Miss Chef has programmed into her phone's calendar when we'll be able to reserve; she occasionally mentions it as she prepares to drift off to sleep at night..."We're going to eat at The Fat Duck."  I have to smile with her, she's so excited.

As for Paris, we're considering renting an apartment for a week's stay.  Paris apartment hunting!  Doesn't that sound faaabulous!?  Actually, I've done it before, and it was a horrible, miserable experience.  But that was before the internet!  Today, I can click from flat to flat, imagining ourselves tucking into a tiny double bed, Miss Chef playing with fresh market purchases in a lilliputian kitchen...I can even see the views out some of the windows.  Paris is a city meant to be seenAnd eaten, of course.

Now, the sad reality is that Miss Chef and I will be working our tails off and scrimping and saving to amass enough cash to pay for all this.  As I said, I'm still paying off the tickets.  And I'm only sharing this with you so that you, too, can look forward to coming along on this summer adventure (obviously, there will be pictures!).  I certainly don't mean to brag--this is not going to be a luxurious, jet-setting vacation. 

Still, having free room, board, and some transportation in London, along with a slight edge in my familiarity with Paris, will help us allocate funds.  For instance, I'm hoping to rent a cheaper place outside the center of Paris and spend some time on the M├ętro, so we can afford a few upscale meals.  Maybe a little insider help will make some of our champagne dreams possible on a beer budget.

Not that there's anything wrong with beer.  Especially in England.  Still...I think a champagne toast at the top of the Tour de Montparnasse might be possible too.

The first two photos are scanned from prints I took about 12 years ago.  The third was taken last May.


  1. I officially have travel and food envy!!! Woo-hoo for your upcoming vacation. London, Paris AND family. What more could you ask for.

    And The Fat Duck!!! I've read about that place and can't wait to hear what you both think about it. IT sounds so interesting.

    I've been to London a number of times but hate to admit I've never been to Paris despite numerous trips to France. One of these days I hope to get there and rent an apartment to "live like a local". That would be fun.

    I'll be counting done the days with you!

    Cheers, jj

  2. That's fabulous news!!! I've never been to London or Paris. The closest I've gotten to Europe is a floating-down-a-river-on-a-barge fantasy!

  3. gosh, don't worry about bragging, I'm tickled for ya, I especially want restaurant/food pics.

    Who is gonna take care of Rosie? and the kitty?

  4. Wow, I'm jealous! The beginning of this post made me laugh - I've always found February, not January, to be the most depressing time of the year, but who knew people had scientifically chosen a parcticular date?

  5. Ooooooooh! Yay, what fabulous news! I'm just so sorry that you will be in Paris in June and I will be there in July because it would have been wonderful to meet! (Sorry about all the exclamation marks.:-)) And as for the depressing January date, I guess that would equate to a July date here. Yeah, I can relate to that. I do not enjoy winter. (I'm going to avoid at least one month of it this year!)
    Anyway, I will look forward to your trip with you.

  6. I mean, I will look forward, with you, to your trip!

  7. Call me goofy, but I love this time of year! I've always thought I would thrive somewhere like Seattle.

    Goodie for you and Miss Chef! You're going to have soooo much fun. And after my experience in Germany this past summer, you don't need a lot of money to enjoy yourself. In fact, walking, taking the subways and eating where the locals eat can be more fun and less expensive than booking tours and staying in fancy hotels. It also means you can afford a few treats, like The Fat Duck.

    Oh, I wish I had another trip to plan this year! We had so much fun in Germany.


  8. Your trip is going to be wonderful. London and Paris! Two of the greatest cities in the world in one trip! You're going to have experience overload, and that's a good thing.

    I don't have any advice. I spent three weeks in England in the mid-eighties, but only a couple days in London. One of those days was in the British Museum, and that was a great day, but I know that dusty old museums aren't for everyone.

    At least, in June, you'll be after the Royal Wedding, and won't have to deal with those crowds.

    So, yes, plan on taking tons of pictures to share, and do let us in on your planning, since that's one of the best parts of any trip.

  9. Very exciting! my sweetie and I are hoping for a trip to London in the fall....I will be interested to see what you enjoyed the most.....smiles.

  10. That's wonderful news, and I'm looking forward to sharing the experience via the blog! My dad is taking my sister (mother to two young boys) to Paris for a week in May, so clearly all the best people are heading to Paris this spring! You will have a wonderful time, and it will be so worth all the scrimping and saving you do in the meantime.

  11. Don't see the 'Fat Duck' on his (blogger)list.

    Looking forward to share your trip with you, on paper.

  12. Christy was just in Paris in Sept- I'm going to ask her for a list of her fave restaurants and must see places!

  13. Ooooh Congratulations or - "Well done!" I last did that trip alone, to visit school friends from my time living in Europe, 15 years ago. It was fabulous. Now I can't wait to learn what you see and do! I never really appreciated that my folks dragged (drug?) me over there to live as a kid, but often wish I could run away now (and in JUNE no less)!
    kiss, kiss (as they do)

  14. How exciting! Going to London and Paris!!! Can't wait for the trip to begin. Don't forget the camera, battery charger and or batteries. Maybe a quick video too? We are going to want to know all about the food! The sights too of course. Oh, oh and we are going to want to hear about the people. I am soooo excited for you and Miss Chef.
    Oh wait, where will Rosie stay?


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