On holidays last Summer my mind was buzzing with travel posts to write on our return. We were on a roadtrip through western Europe, travelling through Germany, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium and northern France.
For the first time ever, we were having a sort of themed holiday, not just a getaway. The Bavarian wanted to spend time fishing and out on the lake with the boys in Holland. In Belgium we wanted to share beautiful architecture with them. In northern France and southern Belgium, we wanted to introduce the boys to a few of the, sadly, very many world war sites.
Every day there was a scene, a situation, an idea worthy of a blog post and if I had had the laptop with me and written at the time, I would have had material for months. Being on holiday, I was taking a break. I took less photos, posted less to social media, left my laptop at home. And so the ideas remained ideas and the blog posts remain unwritten.
Back at home, work, school and routine resumed. I told friends and family about the ups and downs of the holiday. The fabulous water world in Holland where we spent the day watching dolphins, walruses and seals loll about and bark, jealous that they were in the cool water while we watched them from under a scorching sun. The amazing aquarium in Bologne-sur-mer, the largest one in Europe and well worth the long drive.
The drained feeling after an emotional day at In Flanders Fields museum in Ypres but also the truly delicious ice cream from the ice cream parour opposite. The surreality of standing on the beach at Dunkirk under a heavy, grey sky, knowing that the following day you will read the real-life story of Operation Dynamo. Looking at pretty beach huts at Bray Dunes, just north of Dunkirk, and knowing that the houses behind have not always looked out on happy families under blue skies.
Oh the places we’ve been! Oh the posts I might write!
[In the Irish Times for Armistice Day last year I wrote about visiting world war sites and the importance of the children understanding the consequences of war. You can read the article here .]