Bo in Red Square

After Sochi I went on a bit of a whirlwind tour of Europe. I should warn you–don’t ever invite me to come visit unless you mean it, especially if you live somewhere like Moscow, London or Paris. I’m quite likely to take you up on the offer, as a few of my friends recently learned.

Moscow StreetAfter my Sochi>Moscow flight I took the train into the city center and met back up with Olga, my assistant director from the Olympics. Moscow was exactly as I’d pictured it to be–freezing cold and snowy. Walking from Belorussky station down Tverskaya Street towards Red Square, we stopped in a shop every 20 minutes or so to thaw before continuing on.

We finally made it & I stood in the center of the square taking it all in while Olga waited patiently in the doorway of the nicely heated mall that sits opposite the Kremlin.

KseniaRedSquareAfter lunch in the GUM Mall, we took a metro to the Tretyakov Gallery. From there we walked to a jazz bar which ended up being the perfect spot to meet up with my friend Julie’s childhood Russian pen-pal, Ksenia. Add that to the chapter on random small-worldness. Or as Julie put it on her Facebook post, “The world is only as big as you let it be, y’all.”

The next day after a rather death defying cab ride in the snow to the airport across town, I hopped a $100 flight to London to meet up with 3 different people from 3 entirely different areas of my life; the Olympics, WDS, & a family friend who is currently serving in the USAF stationed north of London.

ChefsTreatmentLondonMy time there was a real treat–strolls along the Thames, a tour of the Air Force base, getting the chef’s treatment at a member’s only club, happy hour on a roof high above the city, mastering the Underground, eating fish & chips in Hyde Park, and crashing a house party full of people dressed like the Great Gatsby.

Eiffel TowerAfter saying goodbye to London, I sat on the Eurostar to enjoy a window seat through the Chunnel to Paris. Here I met up with some friends of Capt. Randy’s who I had the pleasure of sailing with last year. Their apartment is right on the main drag, so after a night catching up with Paris Dave & family, I spent the next day wandering aimlessly around the city. I walked past the Arc de Triomphe, the Grand Palais, the River Seine, Place de la Concorde, and through the Tuileries Gardens to the Louvre.

I got a tour of the US Embassy and had a croque monsieur before making my way inside the Louvre to visit Ms. Mona Lisa. After learning about the semi-secret underground entrance to the Louvre I was able to avoid the line that forms outside and within no time I was following the hoards of people down the well trodden path through the Denon Wing of the enormous museum to one of the world’s most famous paintings.

Only, when I got there, it wasn’t the tiny creepy lady’s smile that got my attention. When I turned around (maybe or maybe not for a selfie) I was much more taken by the painting on the opposite wall. I remember my friend Randy telling me about it a while back, but I still wasn’t prepared for it.

Wedding At CanaThe Wedding at Cana is the painting people should be lining up for. It’s about eleventy-hundred times the size of the Mona Lisa & is so much more colorful and happy. I later learned that it was a depiction of the wedding where Jesus performed his first miracle, my personal favorite, of turning water into wine.

I’m not sure why it isn’t more popular, but I figure it’s because the artist, Paolo somebody, never got the chance to be a Ninja Turtle. Anyway, disappointing as it may have been, I’m glad I went to see the Mona Lisa…otherwise, I’d have never gotten to experience the Wedding at Cana.

Bo is currently based in Orange Beach, Alabama working towards checking #31 off his bucket list. If you’d like to be a part of the adventure, consider sponsoring a mile. To get more info on the curriculum, sign up here.