I still have jet lag and I’ve been back in Denver, Colorado for 2 days now. Essentially, the symptom of not being able to sleep soundly the last couple of nights tells me a couple of things: 1. Besides jet lag, I have a lot on my mind, especially completing my 2012 taxes (more on this in a bit); and, 2. A persistent headache likely due to not being acclimatized to Denver’s altitude is going to stick around for a few more days.
This post will wrap up what I did in Paris my last couple of days, as well as my trip back home. I am still hesitant to provide any perspective about what I learned and can take away from this trip – about myself, the countries I visited, the cultures I was exposed to, people I met, and what I liked and didn’t like during this round the world trip. In short, that will take me a few days to process and reflect upon in my mind, before I reveal these thoughts.
However, I can say this . . . I had a lot of fun and I am impressed at what I accomplished during this epic journey, especially at my age. In effect, this is something I would not repeat simply because I doubt I would have the requisite energy necessary to complete another trip of this magnitude. That being said, if I was still in my 20s, I think this trip would have been a piece of cake. Hard to explain, but going around the world – the way I did it – requires a tremendous amount of motivation, energy, and stamina, which I apparently had . . . but barely. Grin.
The last few days in Paris were a whirlwind of activity, as I did visit the Louvre Museum; rented a bicycle for a couple of hours and toured the city; did a Seine river boat tour with Angie and Carmen; and allowed significant time to watch the world go by at a few Paris bistros and cafes.
My trip back home was smooth as Icelandic glaciel water, as I was quite impressed with the efficiency of that airline’s flight attendants, aircraft, and Keflavik Airport that I stopped at. However, Iceland is not a place that I have on my travel bucket list any time soon. Why? From what I observed in the air landing and taking off – it seems quite desolate. I know they have mountains somewhere in that country, but for the life of me, I couldn’t spot them on our approach to Keflavik International Airport. Similarly, where is the closest city? Other than a few houses and out buildings, I didn’t spot anything resembling a major metropolitan area from the air. Nor did I see many automobiles on what looked like the major highway leading from the airport. Actually, the immediate area around the airport is very reminiscent of Denver’s airport, e.g., yellow tinged scrub grass or weeds. Now, before I get heckled by those in the know about Iceland, perhaps Keflavik airport is like Denver airport, where the locals joke, “They might as well have located Denver International Airport in Kansas” due to it’s proximity to the city of Denver. Anyone who has visited Iceland, feel free to comment on the positives. 🙂
Regarding my taxes, I have searched 6 ways from Sunday my entire condo and I can’t locate my tax documents. I contacted my tax accountant, Bill, to see if I had already sent them out to him prior to going on my trip and he said, “No.” Hmm . . .
Also, prior to recognizing that I couldn’t find these documents, I had gone through the mail that my neighbor, Daryl had been collecting for me while I was on my trip. I went through that, along with a pile of other junk mail and other paper documents I keep in a temporary file on my kitchen counter. Every few months, I go through this stuff and retain what I need and store it in a couple of file cabinets I have in a storage room downstairs for my condo unit. Perhaps I went through this combined paper pile and inadvertently threw out the envelope I had put my tax documents in. Arrrrrggggghhhhh!
The good news is that my tax accountant says I have until October to complete my 2012 taxes, so if I don’t locate these documents, I can always request copies from the various financial institutions and get a copy of my W2 wage and tax statement. Oh, I almost forgot (pun intended), I will also visit my physician for my obvious incipient first stage symptoms of dementia.
So, these are some of the photographs I took during my last few days in Paris. By the by, THIS IS SO MUCH EASIER DOING A WORDPRESS POST VIA MY PC THAN WITH MY TABLET. Also, I have spell check, another bonus (as well as stifling the criticism of my friend, Gary, who is anal about grammar and spelling). Enjoy!
exciting! did you take a bateau mouche boat tour on the seine?
Megan, I am not certain. However, we boarded at mid-bridge, where there is a small island park. Does that ring a bell?
Barb Hart said:
Welcome home, Steve! I’m anxious to hear your reflections on your trip after you have time to think and relax. You already answered my first question…would you do it again?
As far as your tax documents, I went back to your “what me worry” blog to see if you mentioned storing your tax docs there. Have you read it recently? Maybe it would take you back to that period of preparation and jog your memory. If not, I imagine after you sleep well and shake that alitude headache, their location will come to you.
I sure enjoyed reading your blog during your trip and keeping up with your travels.
Again welcome home!
Barb, I’m amazed that I had the stamina and energy to do something just about every day on this trip. My only days off were travel days (not exactly a day off) and 2 days in Istanbul with the flu, where I only got out of bed to “crawl” to a restaurant for food. Yeah, I did well to not have any lapses in “having fun.” However, as I said on my blog, that’s a young man or woman’s endeavor.
Back in the day when I was burning both ends of the candle, it was doable definitely. Today, I am so happy I did this trip, but I would never attempt something like this again. Think of it this way – imagine being in Denver and doing something(s) every single day for 4 plus months that was fun (hike) and/or educational (museum), then intersperse trips to the airport every 2 or 3 weeks. Absolutely, it’s funner than actual work, but you would be hoping for a day off. LMAO.
Welcome back Blade. Quite an accomplishment and moments ti treasure. I’m about the same age and don’t know if I would have the stamina, patience etc for such a trip. Paris is a great way to end it. Makes me want to return after 25 yrs.
Yes, I feel exactly the same way about the trip Salty – an “accomplishment and moments that I will treasure” forever.
If you never ever go anywhere again then this trip should satisfy you Steve. It’s like the old joke “I went round the world this year, I’ll go somewhere else next year” So many people want to do similar but never manage it so well done old fella 🙂 I’m getting cold feet about travelling to Spain (2 hrs away) all that booking, planning, packing, customs, transfers…. but you did it! Now wind down, chill out, look through you pics and when the head returns to normal get those stupid tax returns sorted, it’ll be a piece of gateau after what you just went through 🙂 Vee
Exactly Vee. Oh, I love that joke (pissed that I didn’t use it in my blog. LOL.). Oh, you are going to love Spain Vee. Now that is a place I would go back to. Where are you going in Spain. I have only seen a little bit of it (Madrid, Salamanca, and the village where my grandfather was born and raised). My mom came out to England to visit me while I was there, then we flew over to Spain. One of the best trips I’ve had all time because I met so many of my relatives and found out so much about their culture.
I think all those church photos are Notre Dame, Blade. Different angles. 😉 Here’s my list of favorite posts you did.
1. Thailand. The one where you talked about meeting with Paul, and the one where you talked about that nasty elephant trek. Good stuff. In fact, all your Thailand ones were awesome.
2. Katmandu with the photo of you and those monks. My favorite photo of the entire trip.
3. Instanbul day trip to the “baths”. Amusing, that one.
4. Athens where your wallet got ripped off, then returned. Grace under pressure…
Good list Tom. I loved the Thailand trek too, even though it was rough going. However, the wonderful people I spent time with during that 3 day excursion more than made up for the hardships we all endured. Yeah, that photo with the 3 Sadhu Hindu monks was wild. The photo should have been on a Beatles album cover. Grin.
Gillian ASHURST said:
Glad that you are safely home Steve. We will miss your almost daily emails, they were a great way to start our day here at the end of the earth!
We look forward to hearing your final musings. Finally, we enjoyed your visit to our part of the world and wish you luck for the future!
Thank you very much Gillian. Without a doubt, Paul and you set a wonderful beginning tenor for my trip. I don’t think I would have enjoyed Auckland as much without the outstanding input you both provided me. More important, your kindness and graciousness in opening up your home to this weary traveler – I think I was pushing 18-22 hours of being awake from Denver to New Zealand – made me feel quite comfortable in selecting your “home stay” amongst all the others I reviewed on the internet. I still miss your “to die for” home baked pastries/desserts and pressed coffee! Smile. 🙂
I hope to complete a long RTW trip in 2014 and have enjoyed following your adventures. By the way Steve how old are you?
You’ll have a blast. Where do you plan on going? For how long. Turned 58 in Feb. Why?
You referred to your age a couple times so wondered. I am 62 and hope I will be able to do what you did but in 5 months. Thanks for the inspiration and good advice. Linda
Well Linda, you’ll probably do as well or better than I did. By the by, what is your itinerary?
The picture before Mona Lisa is the Wedding Feast at Cana. Sorry I’m a history/museum nerd. Couldn’t help myself
LOL. Yeah, but I did pretty darn good on the other stuff, right Jackie? I think they put that painting opposite the Mona Lisa to “even out” the crowds in that room.
What did you think of the size of the Mona Lisa? I showed it to my students last week and I crushed the image of what they thought it looked like. I actually liked many of the other paintings in that room better and in the long room that led into the Mona Lisa room. And yes, good job on the others :-).
Jackie, was it you that appraised me of the Mona Lisa’s small size? Someone else mentioned that prior to my visiting the Louvre, so I was wondering about that as well when I first saw it. Anywho, in regard to your question – not really. It seemed like a “normal size” portrait painting. That being said, you would find a similar sized painting in someone’s home in a hallway versus a living room or bedroom wall.
Your opinion is spot on with regard to how I would rate it. I think the over the top security (including a plexi-glass enclosure), crowds, and distance from the painting itself detracts from enjoying it. Moreover, I don’t really enjoy portrait paintings as much as paintings that tell a “story.” Also, I would rate Van Gogh’s self portrait a much better piece of art (only my opinion).
Welcome home, Blade. Quite the amazing trip…it was fun following your travels, and the photos were great. Good luck with the tax situation. GO GIANTS!
Thanks Chi. Yeah, I didn’t look much today. Regardless, I think I will have to order duplicate tax documents. Sheesh, I just woke up (took a nap at 2pm this afternoon and the phone woke me). I only wanted to take a short nap, so I wouldn’t screw up my sleep this evening. Ugh.
Steve, I would characterize your RTW trip as “an accomplishment.” It seemed hard to keep up at time, like you were moving so far and so fast. (Fast and Furious?)
I was saddened by your story about the elephant treatment in Thailand. I will be sure not to take that trek. Nepal was a high point for me (and you) because I love mountains, and you were among the most spectacular peaks in the world. I hope I make it there someday. I love your comments about Spain. I am excited to be headed there in January. Perhaps I will get in a few days of skiing should the weather cooperate.
Welcome back, and like your other followers and friends, I look forward to your reflections and learnings. – Mike
Mike, you will love Spain, especially Salamanca (if you have that on your itinerary). Madrid is a relatively “new” city due to the civil war destruction in the 1930s, so my experience there had more to do with the wonderful people I met, including my relatives (that I met for the first time). If you plan on going to Kathmandu in the future, give me a shout – I’ll provide you all sorts of useful information about hotels, potential health issues to absolutely take heed of, things to see and do, etc.
Do you think America is as packed with cultural/artisitc icons as European cities, but since we live here, we just don’t see them? Could that revolving, yellow stack of pancakes on the Denver stretch of I-70 be considered art compared to the Mona Lisa?!?!?
In a word, no. The pancake advertisement does not remotely compare to the Mona Lisa. However, the giant ball of yarn located in Cawker City, Kansas is close. See below . . . 🙂
Welcome home Steve. It’s pretty funny that within a week of my feet hitting the ground in the continental US after our RTW, I was working on our taxes. It’s a sad statement I suppose, but you know the old saw about death and taxes. Hope the adjustment goes smoothly. ~James
Yeah James, I am more or less resigned to the fact I’ll have to contact the IRS and my financial institutions to get copies of my 2012 tax info. I have plenty of time.
The adjustment is going smoothly. I ventured out for the first time last night (dinner with friends) and it felt good to get back in circulation here again.