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Europe on my mind - Curt Yeomans

So, at the end of today, "I'm leav-ing, on a jet-plane," as John Denver used to sing, and heading far away from the Southern Crescent for a two-week vacation.

I'm not just going cross-country this time, like I have for previous vacations. On no. I'm going across the Atlantic Ocean, and heading to Europe, and I "don't know when I'll be back again."

Because - you know - the plane could crash and all. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm ever the optimist.

So, once I leave work on Friday, I'm heading to the airport, where I'll catch an overnight flight that will take me to Paris. I'll be in France for a few days, and then travel to the United Kingdom, where I'll spend most of my time in London, but I'll also make a day trip up to Belfast.

Finally, the second week will be spent on a whirlwind tour of Ireland, with stops at the Cliffs of Moher and visits to the towns of Shannon, Cork, Waterford, Dublin, Galway and Ennis.

Oh, by the way, I'm also staying overnight in a castle on one night of my visit to Ireland, because, you know, who doesn't stay in a castle when they are in Ireland? OK, it's probably not THAT common, but it's still pretty cool.

So the fun part of this trip will be how well I do in France, because it's nine years since I took a French class and I wasn't that good with the language back then. For all I know, I'll probably go to ask for a soft drink, but end up accidentally asking for a slice of milk and a cup of cake.

Of course, in Paris, I'm going to visit such fabled places as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame cathedral, the Champs ...lysées, and the Arc de Triomphe.

Once I get to London, things will calm down considerably, since they speak English and all.

There, I'm going to meet a yeoman of a different kind -- a yeoman guardsman at the Tower of London, that is. I'll also be seeing Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abby, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, and I'm going to take a trip on the big London Eye ferris wheel.

I'm also staying half a block off of Hyde Park, which is the big public park near Buckingham Palace.

Now Ireland, that's going to be fun. I've been reading up on Irish culture, and some of the Gaelic phrases that I might hear over there -- like: "Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat."

That means "May the cat eat you, and may the cat be eaten by the devil." It's an Irish curse.

So while I'm in Ireland, I'm going to, first, hit up the Cliffs of Moher, which are those steep cliffs on the west coast of the country. I'm also going to visit Blarney Castle, to kiss the Blarney Stone; drink a pint or more of beer at the Guiness Storehouse in Dublin; check out the museum of Irish history that is also in Dublin; stop by the Waterford crystal factory, and see Galway Bay.

I'll probably also visit some of my distant, Irish relatives in the Shannon/Ennis/Tulla area while I'm over there.

All in all, I am really going to enjoy my two weeks away from the Southern Crescent.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.