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Some thoughts on traveling solo.

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I've decided in the past couple of years that i prefer to travel solo rather than have to deal with the foibles of other people. However, as I read the recent thread on spending a day at the D-Day beaches, I thought back on the trip that my sister and I took to Paris, the D-Day beaches and the Loire.

Mary and I took seven European trips together, and we both enjoyed them enormously, but the first trip was the most fun. We took the train from Paris to Rouen so that we could pick up the car in Rouen and I wouldn't have to drive through Paris traffic.

It was Mary's first trip to Europe, and she was thrilled to death. Even seeing people's back yards from the train was exciting to her. She had begun reading Stephen Ambrose's book on D-Day, so she especially enjoyed the invasion sites. I'd been interested in WWII for many years and had read a lot about it, but it was all new to her.

The trip (in 2000) was a cheap one. We traveled for 12 days at a cost of only $1600 each (including airfare), finding inexpensive hotels at tourist offices and driving a Peugeot that was so cheap the windows didn't roll down. No kidding. I looked for the handle to roll down the window and discovered that a car this cheap didn't run to frills like windows that opened. We encountered our first roundabouts, earning some dirty looks and some horn honks from outraged French, because we didn't know the rules for entering roundabouts. We laughed and laughed and laughed.

A major factor in my enjoyment of the trip was that it was all so new and exciting to Mary. The same held true of the other trips we took together. Seeing the radiance of her face as she listened to the wonderful Latin Mass sung by the 4-man choir in St. Ansgar's Cathedral in Copenhagen or her delight in seeing Nefertiti in the Altes Museum or her enjoyment of Den Gamle By in Aarhus.

I enjoy traveling solo, but I don't think any trip I've ever taken or will ever take will ever be as much fun as those in which my sister and I took together, and so much of my enjoyment was caused by her delight in all that we saw and heard.

So I envy those of you who have a travel partner in whom you delight.

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