December 23, 2010

Returning to My Home Away from Home

Is there a destination - other than your home or native country - where you feel like you belong? For me, that place is London. A vibrant city - and my favorite metropolis abroad.

London is a place where I never tire of wandering the streets with my camera. It is a city that I enjoy spending time in either with company or by myself - and never feel alone. I love visiting the quiet sanctuary of Neil’s Yard or the hectic bustle of high street. And then there is the splendid - and always camera ready - historic architecture. It is an amazing place!

London is home to some of the most recognizable structures in the world - the Westiminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Tower Bridge, and now the London Eye. It is home to extravagant department stores and simple curry houses. It is home to tradition - from the Changing of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace to the quiet ritual of afternoon tea. And it is an old city where you can be reminded of the lessons of history or enjoy the luxuries of the 21st century world.

At one point in my life I had the opportunity to travel to London and several other places in Europe on a regular basis. However, recently my opportunities to travel east across the Atlantic have been fewer and further between. In fact, it has been several years since I was last in this place I like to call my home away from home.

That will change tonight when my husband Jonathan are traveling to Europe for the holidays. Our itinerary has two destinations - London and Paris. I am excited not just to be returning to my favorite city, but to be bringing Jonathan with me. And to be continuing our journey from there to continental Europe and Paris.

London again! And at Christmastide! I am so excited to land at Heathrow Airport and take the Tube into the city. I am excited to wander the streets and show Jonathan the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of my favorite city.

And then Paris - the City of Lights. This a city of history and recognisable monuments and landmarks - Eiffel Tour, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Élysées. It is also a place for the senses and indulgence - wine, cheese, chocolate, and pastries. This is a place I know will enchant Jonathan.

I am looking forward to this whole trip, this whole experience. And I am looking forward to sharing this adventure with Jonathan.

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