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Saturday, August 25, 2018

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are by Vonnie Davis

A year or more ago, my Calvin told me during a serious conversation that he wanted some of his ashes spread on the Left Bank of Paris. He specified a small green area in front of the apartment building where he lived during his year of sabbatical. Paris was the place of his heart.

His son and I talked about it. Kelly said, "If that's what Dad wanted, that's what we'll do." I made plans to fly there. Kelly would meet me after his business trip to Tai Pei. I'd never traveled alone before but, really, how difficult could it be?

My youngest son, the out-spoken one, said, "Mom, a woman seventy years old has no business travelling to places where terrorism is active." When I told him I was flying on to Scotland after my week in Paris, I thought he'd bust a gasket. Then...then he had the nerve to tell me to be in my hotel room by dark and not to ride the Metro.

He said WHAT???

"Watch me!" I shot back. "Just remember you're not the boss of me!" My older son, the reasonable one, told bossy son to step out of my business. That I was smart enough not to roam the streets at night or ride the Metro alone. Then they both burst out laughting. Heathens, the both of them.

My hotel was across the busy street from the Seine, so I had a great view. Pardon the lousy picture taken through the window glass. Those are artists' stands jam-packed along the walk facing the river.

I went to a few caf├ęs Calvin and I always ate at when we went over. But each meal was bittersweet. Memories didn't compare to having him with me, holding my hand as we walked and talked. I confess to spending a day in bed in tears. It doesn't matter where you go, you can't escape grief. It follows you like a piece of gum stuck to the sole of your shoe.

Kelly and I spread the ashes in front of 21 rue Galande. I had to make two trips to work up nerve to do it. And Kelly, just like his dad, indulged me.

I took a day trip to Giverny where Monet painted. The gardens were spectaculat; so was the French countryside. His home was fabulous.

My trip to Edinburgh was a blur of layovers and customs and finding my luggage. My hotel was a block below the Royal Mile--the distance from the palace to the Scottish Parliament. A great walk I made daily. The bars were open until 5am and bands played out on the streets until then. The Scots love to party.

I took a day trip to a whisky distillery and sampled four types. Or was it five? I doona recall... We rode through the Highlands and stopped at the William Wallace monument. Another day trip took us to the Kelpies, huge iron statues of mythical creatures and more hikes through the Highlands.

View out of my hotel window. The Royal Mile and castle is at top of the hill.

Me in front of the Kelpies. See how small they make me look? 

After two weeks away, I was ready to fly home. I did take a lot of pictures and take notes for future stories, especially my Scottish bear shifters.

How about you? Do you ever travel alone abroad? Or here in the States? Where's the best place you've ever traveled to?

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  1. Vonnie, I'm so happy you went on to Scotland from Paris. I remember how much you and Calvin loved Paris and I know that trip must have been difficult even though you wanted to go to the city you and Calvin loved. How nice of Kelly to add his support. I love the Royal Mile, too. You had the fun of that trip to cheer you after your bittersweet Paris stay. And when you ask directions there, everything is "just a wee stretch of the legs" away. LOL Bless you, Vonnie.

    1. Yes, Caroline, Paris was rougher than I suspected and Scotland was a nice change. I hope I can go back sometime. I'd like to visit the Inverness area and maybe the Islands on the other side of Scotland. A pipedream, perhaps, but it's always nice to have something to hope for.

  2. I think the photo of Paris is lovely, window glass and all. I was known to travel alone in my younger, single days, but that was a long time ago. My favorite trip ever was probably the week we spent in Hilton Head SC when my daughter was three. I loved being so close to the ocean and seeing a lot of birds and wildlife I had never seen before :-)

    1. Amy, I think traveling alone when you're young is more dangerous than doing it at my age. No matter what Michael has to say about my….he loves his momma. I've always heard Hilton Head is a beautiful place.

  3. Bless you, Vonnie, for taking that sentimental journey. Scotland at this time of the year must be really nice.

  4. It was very nice, Joan. So nice I want to go back.

  5. Vonnie, you are awesome and never cease to amaze me.

  6. Thank you, Beth. I don't know about the awesome part. I just keep plugging away.

  7. Vonnie, it sounds like you have an overly protective son. Lol. At least he cares. It sounds like you enjoyed your trip regardless.


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