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My European vacation

Like with most people, the summer months cause my mind to think about vacationing. My sense of wanderlust kicks in because I enjoy getting in the car and driving down the highway to see the progress of crops and cattle while listening to music on my phone’s playlist.

Usually the destination is to visit relatives down in Missouri or to take in the scenic vistas of the Black Hills. Both trips provide a great opportunity to get away from it all and frankly are about as far away as time and resources permit.

Which is why this time of year I usually take a virtual and vicarious vacation with the help of my big screen television and NBC Sports by watching the Tour de France. 

I can’t argue that it would be a thrill to travel abroad and experience first hand all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that come with taking that kind of trip. There are many big sporting events I would love to witness in person, the Super Bowl and the Masters just to name two. But with the way things are going in the world pandemic-wise and security-wise I will continue to settle for watching from home.

My cycling days are behind me due to a sciatic nerve that can lay me out if aggravated. Thanks mostly to 30 years of sitting cross legged at the edge of basketball courts and wrestling mats.

The big appeal of the Tour for me is spending several quiet hours in the morning for most of a month admiring all the mountains, towns, villages, farms and country side in France. I marvel at seeing all the centuries-old castles, cathedrals and houses that line the race route. The architectural designs and the simple fact that the buildings are still around fascinate me. 

Here in the United States we are often quick to tear down older structures and build new. It is a wonder we have any buildings over a hundred years old left standing. Although my house does qualify as being over 100-years-old and some days I feel it is in need of demolition.

Watching the Tour is an enjoyable getaway to view the scenery as well as to watch the competition as it progresses through the 21 stages. While I’m not an expert in the race itself, the more I watch it the more I have become aware of who the contenders for the title are. That can be said of any sport for that matter, the more you watch the better you understand it.

A great thing about watching the Tour de France is getting to enjoy all that countryside without all the hassles. No need for a passport, no long lines at the airport, no dealing with TSA, no long flight and no jet lag. One other bonus is that if I limit my trips to the refrigerator during the broadcast I won’t gain all the weight I would have picked up in those quaint pubs and restaurants overseas. 

With on demand viewing available as well, it is a vacation I can take whenever I want and I can even fit it in around my work schedule and chores. But the most important advantage is, being the cheapskate that I am, it doesn’t cost me anymore than I am already spending on my current entertainment budget.

Vive la France

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