Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29, 1981

You will have to go all the way back to this day to understand why travel is my passion. Do you remember where you were? I do and I will never forget that day because it is one of my greatest childhood memories.

For an entire week I was staying with my Great-Grandmother which meant great food and anything goes! So being the wonderful person she was she woke me up at 6 am on the morning of July 29th to witness something magical – something I didn’t really quite understand.
It only took her a few times to get me moving (I’m not a morning person by any means) and all she had to do was tell me I was missing it!

I scurried to the living room and turned on the big giant TV and waited for it to warm up (can you ever believe we had to wait for the TV to warm up?). Finally after what seemed an eternity - at least for a young girl - the picture appeared before me. There it stood. A glass carriage and inside it a woman hidden beneath yards and yards of an ivory veil. She gracefully exited the carriage and stepped onto a long red carpet. She turned and waved to a large crowed of people. Then she made her way up the red carpeted steps amid trumpet fanfare into the biggest church I had ever seen.

At that age I didn’t know princesses really existed outside a Disney movie. Or that a girl really could marry a prince. That was the first thing that intrigued me about the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. It was an honest to God fairytale.

I sat on the floor all day that day as close to the TV as I could get and just watched in awe. Where was this place? Who were these people? Can I go there? My Great-Grandmother was a real trooper that day bringing me food and drinks so I wouldn’t miss a minute. I don’t ever remember leaving the vicinity of the living room!

I dreamt of London after watching the wedding. I wanted to go there. Heck I wanted to live there. Books on London and Diana became the priority. That Christmas I received two that are true favorites: Invitation to a Royal Wedding by Katherine Spink and The Prince and Princess of Wales’ Wedding Day.

Those books went everywhere with me as I studied and planned. Someday I was going to go to England.

I finally made it 20 years later. It was everything I knew it would be. It felt like home.

I used those two books I received at Christmas as a child to help plan our trip to England. And once I got there I was filled with so much joy and passion for travel I couldn’t contain myself. That is what travel is for me – an emotional journey of seeing new places, learning new things and reliving childhood memories.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review – The Bean

In keeping with the theme of this blog I am jet lagged. I think it is Wednesday and that means it is review day!

I just spent two wonderful months in Chicago, and one of the best things I did was visit the bean. No not Mr. Bean - The Bean in Millennium Park. Actually the official name is Cloud Gate (us Chicagoans – I can say that now – at least I am going to call myself a Chicagoan) call it The Bean.

For me public art is usually a letdown. Instantly I think of the cement thing-a-ma-jig in Hyde Park in London that is supposed to be a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. I don’t know how a cement oval full of water is representative of a beloved and popular yet tragic figure. It could be me. It could be the art?

I actually knew nothing about The Bean until I walked up to it. I had seen a few pictures and from that I thought it was a sphere. Imagine my surprise when I saw the actual Cloud Gate and the city skyline in its reflection.

Cloud Gate is the work of British artist Anish Kapoor. The inspiration is liquid mercury. The affect is pure awe. It is a complete and total delight for all who pass. You can’t help yourself to stop and look at the reflections find where you are standing and see the clouds floating above you. The Chicago skyline is seen in a completely new and exciting way.

The sculpture curves upwards on its bottom creating a passage way through the middle. This is the ‘gate’ by which you enter and see even more astonishing reflections. Some have even said it is like looking up into a giant spoon.

Cloud Gate/The Bean was truly one of the most memorable moments of my Chicago trip. It is a spectacular piece of public art enjoyed by everyone. Even the pigeons that sit on top enjoy it even as they do their business.

All photos taken by the Jet Lagged Vagabond

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Wonder of Travel

I have never been the business traveler. That task had been left to my husband. He goes there and I get to follow. Lucky me! No – really I like it. I love it. I have spent various months in cities that most people only visit once for a weekend.

Well, this week was my turn to travel for business. I would just like to say without a doubt I am a leisure traveler! This combining work with play is a tough business, and I now declare myself a road warrior. If I thought I was a jet lagged vagabond before - well now I am an extremely jet lagged road warrior.

For me travel is travel and by that I mean it is an experience, a lesson, a passion but above all a desire. As much as I am road weary this week I wouldn’t have it any other way. In the span of one week I will have seen more than a handful of states (by air and car) reconnected with friends somewhat new and beloved friends of old, and will experience a new city for less than 24 hours.
My eyes are crossed and dry, I don’t know what day it is and sometimes I question the time zone. However, this is my life and I love it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ann Sather Café – a Review

Ann Sather Café is a wonderful little breakfast place in Chicago with a Swedish background. Known for it’s out of this world cinnamon rolls this too is one of those can’t miss places in Chicago. So can’t miss that after a night of partying after winning the Stanley Cup members of the Blackhawks ate here (and no doubt sobered up here as well)! I’m not quite sure what they had to eat, but I had the Swedish Sampler: Swedish pancake with lingonberry sauce, one egg, Swedish meatball (Oh yeah it rocked too), potato sausage (my least favorite – they can’t all be stars) and two (TWO!) cinnamon rolls. OMG – I can taste it now! Heavenly. The lingonberry sauce was so spot on to what I had in Sweden – I could almost insist that we were in Stockholm. The meat balls in it’s warm brown tasty sauce was so not like the meatballs at IKEA. It was an all around superbly Swedish delight. Fantastiska!