Last night we returned from a ten-day trip to London and Paris, our very first trip to Europe, made possible by a miraculous and generous turn of events. Mr. McBody’s cousin and family were returning to France for the first time in ten years (he lived there for years, and she is from France) and they invited us to come along. At first it seemed completely impossible, what with our family logistics and everything. But then his completely amazing and wonderful aunt and uncle offered to fly cross-country to take care of Nana and Juniorette in our absence, no small feat, given everyone’s complex schedules, driving requirements and the like. It seemed like an offer we could not refuse.

So we went! I thought long and hard what to do about all the Food I was going to be encountering while I was there. On one hand, I didn’t want this trip to be an excuse for a total free-for-all. On the other hand, I wanted to be able to experience new and wonderful things. So I decided beforehand that I would do a lot of walking, that I would continue my no-sugar #7daychip challenge, and that hopefully it would all work out in the end.

I’d say it did. My Directlife activity monitor was probably stunned by the dramatic uptick in activity, and on a completely new time schedule. I averaged about 120% of my daily target while I was gone, and considering I was averaging around 80% in the weeks before I left, that was great. I managed to eat no sweets in London. In Paris, there were many, many temptations and I decided to forego them, because once that particular domino fell, I knew that was going to be that.

Until the last night. After five days of perusing all the sweet offerings to be had in Paris, I decided that what I really wanted to try was some famous Berthillon ice cream. After having a nice dinner for our final evening, we walked to a tiny island where all the ice creameries are. They sell ice cream by the “ball” and we chose vanilla, dark chocolate and coffee.

I was very excited for this moment.

I had a small spoonful of each flavor. It was very, very yummy. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have felt deprived if I hadn’t eaten it. But I was glad that I had. I did notice that after eating that ice cream I suddenly felt more “curious” about other sweets. But I stayed away.

The best, most awesome and wonderful thing that I ate in Paris (other than the cheese of course) was the crazy delicious falafel I discovered in the Marais (Jewish) neighborhood. This even beat the nice, white-tablecloth dinner we had.  It was so good, we even went back the 2nd night in a row and ate more falafel. YUM YUM YUM.

It was a long time to be eating out every single meal. In spite of all the walking (basically from morning until night) I did gain a few pounds. But it’s no more than I’ve gained (sometimes in a weekend) on other vacations and I know it’s manageable.

EDITED TO ADD: After 24 hours post-flight, the weight gain is ALL GONE! I am down to my pre-vacation weight! YAHOOO!

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am so grateful that we had this opportunity. But you know, there’s no place like home. I was so happy to wake up in my own bed today, and to go to our very own farmer’s market. The food in France is truly mind boggling, but so is the fresh beauty of a California farmer’s market. We took Aunt J there this morning and she was ECSTATIC to be eating raw oysters on the street, just like she remembered growing up as a little girl in New Orleans.

I’m just relieved and happy to be home. I am excited to get back into a workout routine. I want to lose my vacation pounds before Fitbloggin, and I want to be nice and ready for the 100th Bay to Breakers coming up. It was so awesome to get away, but even more awesome to come back.

I want to thank JackSh*t, Karen, Tracey and Tara for keeping the home fires burning by guest-blogging for me in my absence. I hope you’ll go back and read their fabulous posts and leave them some comment love.