Parlez-vous Vacation? 

So, for a very brief time during my posting hiatus, I took a trip abroad with my darling husband, Sethie.

Before any big trip, we buy those giant travel bricks books that contain anything that one would want to know about an area (Rick Steves = Awesome). I'm always wildly amused at the wide-variety of travel tips out there. The constant warnings about gypsies and pick-pockets make me insanely paranoid of anyone who comes within a 10 foot radius...

Kerry to flight attendant: "I'll take the 'lobster ravioli' for dinner...or is that the 'Salisbury steak'? Whatever, I'll just eat the crackers. What do you mean ...that's supposed to be tuna? Hmmm...I don't know what you're trying to pull here, but I'm going to keep my eye on you...GYPSY!"

And I don't know how many editions of a book someone can sell when their main travel tip for every major site is, "Go early to avoid the crowds."

Thanks, Sherlock. How'd you come up with that one?

I wish that they would write travel books from the perspective of someone who is suffering from jet lag and plans to be slightly hungover every morning.

So if this is what passes for travel advice, then maybe I'll compile a tiny list of what makes travel worthwhile for me...

Kerry's Top 3 Travel Tips

#1. Be conscious of spending money, but never let it get in the way of having a good time.

Now, let me explain...

I'm not talking about those ridiculous hags in Louis Vuitton on Avenue des Champs Elysees who are buying ugly $3,000 handbags.

I'm really just talking about ordering a bottle of wine with dinner...or taking a special tour that might be a little pricey.

For example, our third evening in Paris included a trip to Harry's New York Bar. That's where Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart used to drink. That's where George Gershwin composed "An American in Paris" on the piano downstairs. That's where they invented the bloody mary, the sidecar, and the monkey gland (whatever that is).

I mean, c'mon! How am I going to miss out on that!?

Ok, so with a history like that, you know it's going to be slightly expensive and touristy. ...and the decor tries pretty hard to be "American." There were hundreds of pennants lining the walls from nearly every American university you could imagine. I even spied with my little eye a University of Illinois banner! Huzzah!

The bartender had his hair slicked back and wore a white shirt with a bow tie and a floor length black apron. It was a nice touch. You can picture Papa Hemingway sitting on a stool, sipping a drink in between small talk with that guy. They offered to make anything we could imagine...margaritas, blue lagoons (also invented there!), tequila sunrises, etc.

After sucking down a couple of stiff drinks, an elderly French guy sat near us at the bar.

He migrated from a table at the other end of the bar. We recognized him immediately since he was the only one there who was occasionally bursting into song.

Wasted Old Man: "I know everything there is to know about women!"

Our brief 30 minute back and forth with the drunken Don Juan and the other bar flies is one of my favorite memories of our trip.

Several hours later, happy as clams, we signaled for the check.

"Hmmmm, so drinks are 12 Euros each.

Let's see, let's see...12 Euros....conversion rate...calculator...carry the one...

$16!? For a drink!?"

I wasn't entirely surprised.

No wonder Hemingway had to get very very drunk there.

It made me long for those college days when I would go 'Drinkin for a Lincoln!' ($5 all you can drink keg beer). *Sigh* Memories.

But that's the fun of trips. Have a budget, but splurge on the experience too.

Kerry Tips #2 and #3 with further stories about our vacation to follow...

Kerry @ Harry's with a Sidecar (Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice). I wasn't exactly nursing my drinks.

Seth @ Harry's with a White Lady (Gin, Cointreau and lemon juice)

First night in Paris during an evening bicycle ride.

The third day was spent in Versailles.


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