Two years ago today I woke up with one of the more painful hangovers in my life. Despite the sickness I had to haul myself 90 minutes across the state of Pennsylvania, book a London hotel, secure passage on a ferry to Normandy and wait for my late-night ride to the airport for the start of the grand adventure. By 11 o’clock that evening I had the last piece of kit I needed (a USB phone charger) and was aboard a Virgin jet non-stop to Heathrow Airport, London, UK.
What started out years ago as a desire to visit the Norman landing beaches on D-Day turned into a month-long odyssey through England, France and Italy with stops in London, Portsmouth, Caen, Cherbourg, Paris, Rome, Florence, and a number of other small towns along the way. I saw Utah, Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold Beaches along with Pointe-du-Hoc, the Merville Battery, Pegasus Bridge, Ouistreham, the Arromanches Mulberry and St Mere Eglise. I saw the RAF Memorial, Apsley House, Duxford Airfield, the National Army Museum, the Cabinet War Rooms, the British Museum, and the HMS Victory. I saw Notre Dame, Napoleon’s Tomb, Montmartre, Saint Chappele, the Louvre, Versailles, and Euro Disney. I saw the Pantheon, Coliseum, Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Duomo, and Vatican City.
Hell, I covered so much ground I even got to see two old friends and a cousin!
After all that, I came back to the dear old United States of America and turned a number of good ideas into a five month circumnavigation of the entire country.
That’s a story for another day a month, a week and a day from now when that anniversary occurs.
I’ll leave you with the highlights of the trip.