Sunday, October 21, 2007

Where I Went On My Summer Vacation

In HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION, Amy Nelson gets dragged to Israel against her will, to spend summer vacation with her extended family. At first, she is certain she's going to hate it. She's miles away from her friends, boyfriend, cell phone, and shopping mall. But by the end of the book, she's having the time of her life. She's learned to appreciate the oh-so-foreign culture--and the people!

Travel is always a bit of a risk. Will you like where you're going? Will it be better than you expect? Worse? Will you have fun? Will you learn something? Will you be bored? Excited? Moved to tears? The thing is, you never know until you go. And you'll almost always be surprised.

That happened to me in a trip just after I finished graduate school. My program sponsored a travel fellowship for a class trip, and our class chose to visit Prague. A friend and I flew out early so we had two glorious weeks. But the truly magical part of the trip was one the way home. Through lucky happenstance, our return flight came with an "overnight" layover in Paris. And by "overnight" I mean 8 hours. Arrive at midnight. Depart at eight in the morning. Not enough time to do much, right? Wrong.

My mom's friend who lives in Paris and her daughter, Laura, met us at the airport. After dropping our luggage at their apartment, the daughter's boyfriend--a professional chauffeur--picks us up in a luxury sedan. For the next two hours he and Laura gave us a whirlwind tour of the city of lights. We flew down the Champs Elysee, past the Louvre and the Ritz-Carlton, the couture shops, the Hotel des Invalides, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and made it to the Eiffel Tower just in time to see the twinkling light show. Then we topped off the night with champagne at the Buddha Bar--favorite haunt of Madonna and the like.

Could I have planned this? Not on your life. The moral of the story is that you should never write off an experience, because it might turn out to be the most magical one of all.

Now it's your turn to share. Have you ever been surprised (either good or bad) on a vacation? Post your story in the comments and enter to win a copy of Buzz girl book, TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS.


OH. MY. GODS. -- May 2008 from Dutton Children's Books


TinaFerraro said...

Although I consider myself exempt from winning a copy of my own book(!), I would love to play!

On vacation in Australia some years ago, my family and I rented a home in the rainforest--sight unseen. What we found was charming, from the canopied beds, to the huge bay windows, to the outdoor hot tub...but best of all for me was the kookaburra who came and went from the porch railing. I fell hard for the little guy, taking pictures, talking to him, studying up on what was healthy to feed him. But on the day we left, he was nowhere to be seen. My family made fun of me that I couldn’t leave without saying goodbye, but eventually, we had to. We went to the manager to return the key, only to see him sitting with her! She told me visited all the local homes, looking for handouts.

I felt LOL. Like my vacation love had turned out to be the town Romeo!

Anonymous said...

Last winter, my family and I went to India over winter break.
At first, I wasn't too excited about going, because I wouldn't be able to see my friends for such a long time, and I wasn't sure if I would even like being in India.
Getting to India was horibble. The airports were so crowded, and I am really not a fan of the tiny little bathrooms in airplanes...they scare me.
When we got to the Indian airport, it was even worse. I felt so gross from not having taken a shower in so long, and when I went to freshen up in the bathroom, the floor was all wet because one of the toilets had overflowed. I was almost in tears.
But when we got settled, and started actually doing stuff, I fell in love. It was such a wonderful experience, I got to see so many beautiful places, such as The Golden Temple. I can't wait to go back someday.

Anonymous said...

When I was 13, my school did a trip to Washington DC for the first inauguration of our current president. We had a little dance that night and while at the dance, it started snowing. Now with all of us being kids from the desert, this was really exciting. The most beautiful thing was the next morning. The whole ground was covered in snow, and this was the day for Arlington Cemetery. It was the best and most beautiful surprise ever, even if we did have to drive to Baltimore that day to fly back home.

Marley Gibson said...

Great stories, everyone! Love the Paris pic, TLC! = )

stephhale said...

Ah, the vacation crush! Those can be so cruel, can't they Tina? :)
TLC, your Paris visit sounds magical and how awesome of your friends to show you around like that!

danetteb said...

I miss the days of family vacations, we used to go up to a ranch in northern California every summer. We usally stayed in the community cabin, but one year we tried to stay in these small cabins. The first night in those cabins all we heard we're snakes and creeped me,my sister and my mom out so we changed back to the community ones. I know I'm not a nature girl.:D

Anonymous said...

A year ago my best friend and I went on our first road trip. This was after our High School graduation. We were going for a Bowling Competition in Minnesota. On the drive there, we got lost out in the middle of nowhere! We tried not to panic when we were almost on E and couldn't find a gas station. The roads all looked the same, but eventually before the car ran out, we found one. Luckily.

After we bowled, in which I did horribly, we sipped our Kitty Cocktails (Yumm!) before we went to my best friends' Great Aunt's home. Wouldn't let us stay in a hotel! :(

What made this vacation memorable was visiting the Mall of America. I really loved the pretzel I ate there! Lol. While we were walking past the Rainforest Cafe, I got a call from my dad telling me that I got into the college in Texas I had applied to. I almost passed out I was so happy!

Christie Craig said...


I love Paris. Sounds as if you have a great time.

Christie Craig

Me said...

Yay, thanks for sharing everyone.
Congratulations to our winner...


Email me your mailing addy to terachilds at yahoo dot com and I'll get your copy of PROM DRESS in the mail ASAP.

Hugs all,

TinaFerraro said...

Yay, Danette, congratulations on winning, and I hope you enjoy my book!

Heather Davis said...

Tina's book is so cute! Enjoy, Deb!