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What an incredible trip!

Planned and waiting for 2.5 years, the introduction to Europe for our sons ages 28 and 25, was perfect. Simply perfect and magical. We were thrilled to be back and they were mesmerized by it all. We went to Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome. My husband told them to be prepared for Rome, it’s a punch, and it was for. them. Their favorite was Venice and now of course I wish I had planned more days there. (only 2 nights, I thought they’d get bored). They had a blast on Allesandro’s bar crawl, what a great guy. But I guess the good thing is the oldest is already talking about going back with his GF when they get married. I think the reason they loved it so much was not just the unique beauty, but the slower pace and no cars to worry about. It was not busy when we were there, unlike Florence and Rome. We arrived by train and took a water taxi….what a visual treat that was.

They loved all the cities due the different flavors. We all agreed it was really a whirlwind tour, but they are glad they did it this way the first time because they loved all they saw. It was so much fun seeing Italy again for the first time through their eyes. The fast trains were a great experience, too! Not just the trains themselves, but the whole station, standing on the platform, finding the right train.

It was our first time to Florence, so that was a great for me. We will definitely go back at a more leisurely pace. Loved our Tuscany tour and looking forward to receiving our wine from the vineyard.

I’m already feeling that it was surreal and were we really there? We were so tired that the 9 hour flight to JFK was wonderful just sitting and watching movies, eating and doing nothing. LOL.

I’m feeling just the tiniest bit blue this morning that it’s over. But I think making my music video with all our photos over the next few months will help.

I won’t travel to Europe again until they lift the testing requirement. We were able to put it out of our minds the first week like ostrich’s, but the last couple days there was definitely a little black cloud there. But I’m still thinking of where to next. We’ve only been to Italy. ( I’ve been to France 40 years ago and hardly remember a thing)

Posted by
5181 posts

I’m glad to hear all your planning paid off and you had such a special time with your sons!

Posted by
8405 posts

Congrats on a wonderful trip. Very happy for you. It was a long time in the planning, and a wonderful gift to your son's

Posted by
861 posts

Thank you! I really believe researching and planning makes the difference in these types of vacations. If you enjoy it, it can be so much fun. Not just finding the right info, but being able to discuss and talk about it with like-minded folks. That’s one of the reasons I really enjoy the RS forum board and the FB Italy Planning board. Everyone is mostly so nice. TripAdvisor’s has alot of great info, but people can be really snarky at times.

Posted by
2472 posts

What a fabulous Experience for everyone. I too get a little blue after I return. Especially when folding the laundry and thinking when I wore certain items. The first time we took our girls to Europe they were in high school. We started in Croatia visiting their grandparents then took the train to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. It was so much fun and they too fell in love with Europe. We have since taken them to Croatia 2x again, with spouses, and on an alaskan cruise, with spouses and children. Next family trip will be Ireland when the youngest grandchild is at least 5. Anyway, there are so many countries to choose from for your next trip that it will be interesting trying to decide. Don’t get overwhelmed, narrow it down to 2 or 3, do some preliminary research, then decide. And have fun doing it!

Posted by
6359 posts

Welcome home. Pleased to hear you had a wonderful trip and that your sons got their first taste of European travel. Your planning for 2.5 years paid off. Bravo.

Posted by
1730 posts

How wonderful! There is something special about traveling with adult children. We have done it twice and while the planning is more demanding, it is so fun to experience and then relive it together.

Posted by
962 posts

Aww, this was so nice to read. Your happiness really comes through.

Posted by
9717 posts

Oh gosh! SO happy you had a great time! And that the kiddos did too!

And yes, it sounds like you were still wowed, lol.

How did your clothes, shoes, packing work out?

Posted by
861 posts

Thanks all!

Pam, packing was actually pretty good. The only thing I took that was a big mistake were a pair of peep toe wedges for night and my sneakers. I only wore 2 pairs of walking sandals. I thought I’d wear my sneakers but I find them too hot in warm weather. The peep toes I wore one night, but were out of place and not easy to walk in. Since we did carryon, it was a waste of space.

I would have left my packable hat at home and bought one there. I took 2 jackets, but needed only one.

Posted by
9717 posts

Oh, that is good to know about your shoe experience! I saw your update on your shoe thread too.

Posted by
211 posts

So glad to hear Alessandro is still doing his bar crawls, that evening was a highlight of our trip in 2017!

Posted by
190 posts

Love the trip update, thank you for sharing! We generally take one trip to Europe a year (well, during normal times), and I feel like we've barely scratched the surface - there are still so many incredible places to visit - but we keep going back to Italy because it just feels like home. I don't know how else to describe it. It really is magical, and I'm so glad you had an amazing trip.

One thing we've started doing recently, to combat the post-trip blues, is to plan an evening where we have food and drinks from the country we just visited and rehash our travel memories. I have everyone who went on the trip upload all their photos to a Google shared album, then we hook up a computer to our smart tv using an HDMI cord, and play all the photos using the Google album slideshow feature. It's so much fun to relive the trip and gives us something to look forward to after we come home.

Posted by
861 posts

Erin, thanks for sharing your post-trip help! We have good friends over there right now and are looking forward to having an evening with them when they get back. We went to almost the same places, so it should be fun. We ordered wine from Tuscany, so will share with them. We will need to have an Italian dinner!

I think my youngest son feels frustrated at “scratching” the surface. He feels like he really never knew exactly where we were and felt like we were going around and around. He’s one that when he travels will probably do no more than 1 city at a time.

Posted by
190 posts

Lulu, I know my husband can sympathize with your son. I am the Official Trip Planner for all of our family trips - I love the planning and also am a little bit of a control freak, so this is the best route for everyone - but sometimes it means that my travel companions simply show up, and don't really know where we're going or why until we get there. So now we also do a pre-departure meeting, where I put together a slide show with information on every city we're visiting, the famous sites, and (most importantly) the best things to eat and drink. We also have learned that traveling at a slower pace, and planning as if we will return, help out a lot!

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40 posts

My motto now is slow down when travelling. We’re going to Italy this October and I’m the travel planner and book our accommodation. I do confirm with my wife before finalizing the trip. This trip will be by train and bus with no rental cars so I don’t have to drive nor find parking in Italian towns. I don’t want to rush our time in any town and we don’t need to see everything, so typically I’ve booked 3 nights in each primary destinations: Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Dolomites and Rome so that we can do 1 day walking / hiking and 1 day just sight-seeing in the town, sitting having coffee, watching life happening, reading a book or trips around them and 3 nights checking out the food. Travelling will take most of each day between towns but that is part of the experience. Not driving, I will be able to see the scenery. At the start, we are taking a 1 week guided tour through Umbria, involving about 8 km walking per day.
We don’t plan to take our children on any European trips but we are trying to coordinate holidays with our grandchildren who are 5, 8 & 10 in 2 families, which is tricky. We did take my mother on a 3 week trip to France in 2001 after my father died. He had never wanted to go to France but she was up for any new experience.
As RS would say: Keep Travelling.

Posted by
1781 posts

hey hey lulu348
what a fabulous trip with your gang. always have to chuckle when "kids" travel with mom & dad. couple years ago we took my best friends daughter, 31 years old at that time, to venice, amsterdam and paris. we had so much fun.
lots of memories and laughs.
after this trip they will want to go go go more. conrats mom on this adventure.
aloha