I am over the moon excited, yet anxious about planning a trip with my husband and 3 children (17,13,10) this summer to France and Italy. We will be traveling for 3 weeks in the busiest, and hottest months of the year, July and August. Eeks.. But the sense of obligation I feel to pass along to my children the love of traveling, history, culture, and being open to other people and places in our world while they are still in school outweighs my common sense to go at a different time of the year, when they will be missing school days. My oldest is 17, and next summer he will have graduated from High School, and is planning on moving out, and living the independent life he so desires. This is my last chance with us as a whole family unit for this experience.
My first trip to Europe was in 2000 with my husband to Paris and London. I simply fell in LOVE in Paris- aching, longing love for Europe. As you have read in my previous posts, I traveled to Italy in Nov./10 and April/11, and discovered that my heart is part Italian. My 3 children are all in French Immersion school, and as a result are pretty much fluent in french. So I chose France and Italy for us to explore together.
“What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” Erica Jong, “My Italy”
The excitement I am feeling is obvious, but the anxiousness is how I am feeling about not over-scheduling our trip. I want them to experience life in France and Italy. I want to be open to the roads we will be traveling together, and take with us good feelings from what we see, and taste along the way. In order to achieve this goal, I need to put my A- type personality on the shelf, and resolve myself to go with the flow for a part of our trip. My heart beats quickly just thinking that thought. That means that I will NOT be booking a hotel, apartment, or B&B for every night of our trip because that would mean that we would not be able to get lost and find ourselves exactly where we were meant to be; according to the Universe.
We are starting our trip in Paris for 3 days, exploring France, then Italy, and ending up in Rome for 3 days, then flying home to Canada. It is our goal to stay in a hotel, B & B, Hostel (in Carcassonne), and an apartment. We will rent a car, and take the trains. This way our children will be able to experience Europe in many different ways- all on a reasonable budget. In Italy, I want to take a cooking class with my daughter (13), as we both love to cook. But I don’t want to take too many days away from the rest of the family for this activity. We all LOVE to eat. Us girls love to shop; the boys DON’T. We want to experience France and Italy not just as a tourist, but through the eyes of the locals.
So, as you ask me why I am blogging about this? I am appealing for some advice. Remember all will be considered, and some taken. My good friend, Corinne is knowledgeable about traveling in France, so she has made up an interesting itinerary for us for in France. After our first 3 days in Paris, she has us visiting Carcassonne, Pont Du Gard, St. Remy, Les Baux, Gordes, Roussillon, and Avignon. Cinque Terre will be our first stop in Italy, then explore Tuscany, Sienna, Naples for pizza, and end in Rome. This morning I just remembered Pompeii in the mix of places to visit… Not all is set in stone- yet.
If know of a B&B, hotel, apartment, restaurant, market- Anything like this that you would like to share with me, I would appreciate your suggestions, and experiences. I DO NOT like bus tours, and feeling like an animal is a herd. Small groups,and personalization is the best. We are on a budget, so as much as we would like to stay in 5 star accommodations, that will not be happening for us. Middle of the road is our budget, and hoping for air conditioning. Remember, we LOVE to eat, and luckily we are not very fussy. I already have a list started of restaurants we will be eating at in Monterosso, Florence, Sienna and Rome, and of course no accommodations booked yet. Can you see how I think? LOL.
Grazie mille, and Merci boucoup in advance for your words, and suggestions. I look forward to receiving them.