Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ahhh Europe

On July 5th I leave for Europe for 25 days. I've never been across the big pond. The itinerary involves England, France, Italy, Spain & Portugal.

Yesterday someone asked me to do something in the middle of July and I said,"I can't. I'll be in Florence." I said it with a straight face but after a few seconds I started to giggle like a fool.

I always knew one day I'd get to the classic cities...Paris, London, Rome. In my dreams I've always imagined myself sauntering through open markets, sipping coffee at open cafes and visiting classic works of art.

I don't know how my dreams will hold up doing the trip with hubby and four kids.

I know many of you are world travelers and have experience in Euorpe, so any advice? Those who have never been (like me) is there something specific you've always dreamed of doing in Europe?


conley730 said...

I hope to go to Europe one day. so far, I've never left the U.S. I hope you have a great trip!

Wendy Roberts said...

Conley, I'm sure one day you'll make it there. Maybe (like me) it'll be sooner than you think! I always imagined it would be in my retirement years.

Anissa said...

Ah...I'm so jealous! Though with my two little ones, the flight would probably kill me. ;)

I absolutely love Europe. The history is palpable. You're going to have such a great time!

My advice is to dress local so you blend. Skirts over shorts. No white tennis shoes. Europeans dress up more than we do here in the US (don't know about you Canadians;)). I'm all about trying to blend in, it makes for a more authentic visit. In Russia, people would ask my husband for directions. Guess he looked local. :) I tend to look like my Dutch family and could fit there with no trouble.

Let's see...England. Of course London. Don't know if you'll have a BritRail pass or what, but I loved the Lake District. Very picturesque. Though kids might be bored.

I honeymooned in Italy. Venice at night is awesome. Such a different feel from the day. So if you have a chance, stay a night. The tourists drain out of the city and it's just really cool in the piazza. Watch for pickpockets in Rome, especially in the neighborhoods around the train station. Gypsy women and children. Walk the other way. Otherwise, Rome is fantastic in its sights. All of Italy, really. The food in Florence is the best! Make sure you try a few restaurants there. I'm not a beef eater, but my husband said the steak there was amazing.

Just be ready to be amazed by the art of Italy. It's everywhere. I spent most of my time gazing at ceilings!

Have a wonderful time, Wendy! What a great way to spend the summer!

Tori Lennox said...

Oh, your trip sounds heavenly! I've only been across the border to Mexico. Not that exciting. *g*

Are you taking a laptop with you so you can keep in touch?

Wendy Roberts said...

Anissa, I love your suggestions! Venice sounds amazing.

Yes, Tori, I'll be bringing a laptop but I'm not sure of the internet in a lot of the locations.

Eileen said...

I lived over there for awhile. My best advice- you'll never see everything accept that now. Instead of rushing around take the time to sit at an outdoor cafe and just soak it all in. You'll have a great time.

The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick said...

OMG, I'm SO envious! I've been to Europe twice, but oh, so long ago. Both times in my twenties, so I'm much overdue to return. Sigh. I fell in love with England (London and Bath especially). You can do many day trips by train from London. Make sure to go to Hampton Court Palace just outside of London. The kids will love the tall garden maze and the grounds and palace are so beautiful and decadent. Italy, of course, was my other favorite -- I am Italian, after all. Especially Venice, Florence and Rome. Although a bit pricey, you can't go to Venice without taking a gondola ride. Oh, and make sure you have a lightweight shawl or cardigan to wear when going into cathedrals, as women aren't allowed in with bare shoulders, or at least weren't when I was there. And, like Anissa warned, beware of the gypsy families, mothers and children mainly. I had run-ins with them in Florence and Rome, although I'd been warned about them. They like to surround you and pick at your knapsack if you're wearing one on your back, or go for your purse. I'd invest in a money belt to wear under your clothes to hold passport, credit cards, extra travelers' checks. They all understand the firm word "no," though. Well, that, and quickly hightailing it away from them with a vice grip on all your belongings. ;-) As for the ghost pictures you like to feature on your blog, trust me, you'll have ample opportunity to capture your own shots with all the amazing history over there. I had several experiences during my travels. And, do take many breaks. There's never enough time to see all that you want to see, and after about the tenth cathedral and museum, you can easily hit burn-out. Don't try to do the Chevy Chase vacation version. You want to remember the trip vividly! :-) Have loads of fun and a very safe trip, Wendy! Oh, and I'm available to tag along and carry luggage if you need me. LOL!

your number one sis said...

Love your new intro. sis, my hubby and I are hoping next year to visit his brother in Brussels (not with the kids). Speak to you soon!