I've only linked up with Bailey Jean's "Blogtember Challenge" twice now, so as challenges go, I think it's safe to say I've not really accepted it properly. However, the ability to drop in and join when I can is great, and I am really enjoying the prompts when I do! Today is "Tell a tale of traveling..." and oh, does the mind spin...there's too many good ones to choose from!
Both M and I lived away from our families when we were in London, which was also a great jumping-off point for Europe, and between the two of us we had/have a lot of friends who live in other parts of the world. This was a surefire recipe for regular travel; we have taken a lot of trips together and from pretty early on in our relationship.
One of the trips that sits forefront in my mind when I think about traveling with M is the August 2011 trip we took to France, for the wedding of one of M's closest friends, Wolfi. M and I had been dating for a little over a year at this point, but we weren't engaged, and I was still meeting all of his friends as it takes time to get together with people living all over. Wolfi and M lived together both times M was in Berlin, and they were in a band together and recorded an album way back when (which I love - and so does Bug!!). Wolfi and his fiance Rike were living in Cologne at the time, and as they were living away from their families then too, they had planned an intimate wedding to be held on the coast of France, near a little town called Le Porge, about an hour west of Bordeaux.
This trip was one of my absolute favorites!! Largely because of the amount of time M and I spent laughing our heads off :) EVERYTHING was funny on this trip:
- Wolfi's little brother catching the bouquet
- M and I climbing to the top of the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe, in Arcachon to enjoy the view - which, let me tell you, in ridiculous heat of the hottest month of the year, standing on 100+ metres of sand, is not the way to keep cool. We kept taking awful selfies of our sweaty, red faces and windblown hair and laughing at how bad they were.
- The search for McDonald's - which we only decided to go to because we kept seeing signs for it and everything else in the area was shut at the time we wanted food - except it kept eluding us because the signs were actually not pointing to Mickey D's but were referencing the fact that it was somewhere in the town's vicinity! Then our sheer delight at finally finding it after driving around and around and around, keeping on the chase because of pure stubbornness and determination at figuring out the signs, and realizing that when we DID finally find it, it was on the other side of the median between a busy 4 lane highway, with nowhere to turn around!!!
- The fact that we rented a car and spent a lot of time driving around, touring the countryside, without understanding a WORD on the road signs - me trying to decipher from my one semester of French 101 and a belief that the roots of the words look similar to their counterpart in Spanish (often true - but when it's wrong, it is sooo wrong!), and M trying not to run us off the road when I would figure out at 30 yards before the turn that the sign said we needed to turn right and shouting "RIGHT!!! NOW!!!" Lol.
- The soundtrack of said road trips, because these two songs seemed to play on repeat on the only radio station we got in the car: Britney Spears "I Wanna Go" and this funny and catchy song (with explicit lyrics) called "Loca People" by Sak Noel - she speaks in parts about going to Spain and seeing all the crazy partying and asks 'wtf?' throughout the whole song. For some reason, these two songs made us bust out dancing *every* time they came on, and laughing at the reactions of the people who drove past us on the road.
- And one of my favorite moments: that morning when M and I got up early, drove to the beach, climbed up and over the dunes to get to the ocean, found a deserted and beautiful spot, dropped our things, and ran into the ocean to swim and cool off...only to look up half an hour later and realize we're staring straight at an elderly naked man now standing in the surf a few feet away. Not knowing where to look and trying to nonchalantly swim a little distance away, only to find that now, in every direction, were elderly, fully nude, men and women, sunbathing and cooling off on the waterfront. And it clicked that our previously empty beach was now a full-blown nudist beach!!! (I'm guessing there were signs somewhere stating this but either we didn't see them, or we didn't understand them, lol).
There was also a beautifully sweet side to this trip: I got to finally meet Wolfi, his whole family, the small group of friends he had at the wedding and his lovely now-wife. They were incredibly welcoming and it was so special to be part of their day - only 25 people were invited!! We witnessed their lovely ceremony at the top of a dune overlooking the ocean, we all walked down to the sea and splashed in the tide and then had a delicious wedding meal full of fresh seafood - ceviche, 3 types of oysters, sashimi, and grilled fish - at a beachside restaurant, where they had kitted out the table gorgeously and given us our own private lounge area for the guaranteed singsong after the dinner. We lounged the next day on the beach with Wolfi, Rike and friends - where Wolfi saved both M and I from a proper thrashing against the hardpacked sand at the edge of the waterline when we were both caught by a wave. (Can you say sand EVERYwhere in my suit??? Lovely.) We were invited to the family cookout that evening and they were all so nice and sweet to me - not everyone spoke much English but they all did as much as possible to be inclusive, which was really appreciated as I dont know *any* German! And that night the 'young' crowd all went back to the ocean for a big bonfire by the sea. I was lucky to share that week and the wedding with M's close friends and get to know them.
M and I had a brilliant time on this holiday - we relaxed, we explored, we had time for just the two of us, we spent time with friends, we ate great food, and we laughed and laughed and laughed - the best way to spend time off together!! That trip to Le Porge / Arcachon was epic in my mind: emotional, sweet, special, crazy, hilarious, and truly, truly memorable. :)
What trip sticks in your memory? :)