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3 weeks "Best of Europe" with 11 and 9 year old part 2

Hofen: Die Lillie, 2 nights
Hofen/Ruette is very nice, although a little sleepy. It's a nice break after crowds of Munich. Drove up to Neuschwanstein, my wife has been wanting to see it for years. Tegelberg luge run is great. There's also more there for the kids to do too. A zip line, bumpercars, wading pool, and a small beergarden. The microbrewery in Swangau also had putt-putt golf.
Drove to Lorrach (near Basel) for friend's wedding

Lorrach: 4 nights
We stayed with our friends for their wedding (which was the original purpose of this trip). Day trips to Frieburg and Colmar were very nice. I'd like to spend more time in each city.
Train to Dijon

Dijon: Odalys City Dijon, 2 nights
Dijon is wonderful (I liked it more than Paris). Very walkable. Nice architecture. Good food. Took train to Beaune one day. It was ok, I'd probably just stay in Dijon next time.
Train to Paris

Paris: Hotel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigiliani (SW on Luxembourg Gardens), 4 nights
I was underwhelmed by Paris. BIG city, crowded, guys selling the same Eiffel Tower trinkets every 5 feet. Oh well, c'est la vie... Seine boat cruise (which kids liked) and museums. My son (11) was very interested in the Louvre. LOTS of walking, 7-8 miles per day without even trying. We all tried escargot, and my son asked for more afterwards.

Took train to Brussels, essentially for lunch. My son had to have mussels in Brussels. Fries, beer and waffles too.
Train to Amsterdam to fly to Keflavik
Rented car and stayed in Reykjavik: Arctic Comfort Hotel, 1 night
Iceland is BEAUTIFUL. I wish we had more than one day. Made obligatory stop at Blue Lagoon. It was actually nice at the end of 23 days to just soak and relax.

Overall I think our trip was a resounding success. My kids were absolute troopers. We had some moments of complaining, but I would be surprised if there wasn't. They are normally good eaters, so that helped. We do "no thank you" bites at home, so they were used to being expected to try things. I think the food was worse on my wife (she's the pickiest eater).

As I planned, I only picked 2, maybe 3 things to do each day so as to not overwhelm our kids and make them rush. This worked out well. Some days we did extra, some days not. Also mixing in smaller towns was good for the kids. They got a little overwhelmed with Munich and Paris. Mixing in the fun activities for them also helped, it gave them something to look forward to.

Would we have seen more if it were just my wife and I? Of course. But this trip was everything we hoped for. On the plane ride home, Wonder Woman was one of the movies. As my kids watched the opening scene where she's walking through the courtyard of the Louvre, they both pointed and beamed "We've been there!!!"

I can't get inside their little heads, but hearing that and them tell stories since then, I know it stuck. I hope this gives them a love of travel and fosters that sense of adventure throughout their lives.

Posted by
1571 posts

Sounds wonderful! I love that your son was so willing to try unfamiliar foods and was interested in the Louvre. Now you have marvelous memories, too.

Posted by
860 posts

Awesome. I took my kids of a similar age to Europe last year for the first time, and while I didn't get much out of them at first, they have referred back to that trip many times over the course of a year, in random contexts. They can't wait to go back!

Posted by
1846 posts

Wonderful report! But this......"I can't get inside their little heads, but hearing that and them tell stories since then, I know it stuck. I hope this gives them a love of travel and fosters that sense of adventure throughout their lives." And "stick" it will. I recently returned from 10 days in Paris with my 18 and 17 yr old granddaughters, one of whom (the 18 yr old) had been with her family and us-her grandparents-on a Rick Steves family tour when she was 7. I was touched and absolutely 'gob smacked' by how much she remembered and fondly referred to concerning our stay in Paris during that trip. They were mostly little things but it literally brought me to tears as I have never been really certain how much she remembered, she was so young at the time. Traveling with children is truly an awesome experience and I do it as often as I can!

Posted by
1530 posts

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip, I enjoyed reading about it. We took our 11 and 14 yr old’s last summer for a month. While we enjoyed it, we like traveling without kids too!

Posted by
112 posts

Love this. We took our kids to Washington DC at those ages. We thought they were oblivious to the sites but they talked about it for ages.
We then took the 2 younger ones at ages 18 and 20 ( the oldest had a job) on a best of Europe trip using trains and the itinerary of Rick Steve’s BOE. We all loved the trip. What I think was the best was their love of travel and the realization that using public transportation is doable. They have each done a stint in Europe through college and multiple trips since this.

Posted by
1958 posts

I love your report. I work with kids but have none of my own. I enjoy reading about how kids respond to their travels. Thanks for sharing.

Hope you will allow me to share one funny story. I was talking to a middle school kid about his family spending 6 weeks in Europe.

Me: What was your favorite place you visited?

Kid: Uhhh... Paris.

Me: Why?

Kid. The pastries.

[Mom puts head in hands and groans]

Me: They are good, aren't they?

Kid: Yes, sir. [It is the South!] What type did you eat?

Me: Uhhh.... honestly... I don't think I had any, but they looked good.

Kid: You really should have eaten one.