The idea for this summer’s travels began last fall. I’m not exactly sure what the tipping point was… or why exactly we decided to go. Except that we couldn’t find a good reason not to. When I called Troy saying I had the idea to take a sibling trip he said, “I’m in.” I said, “But you don’t even know when or where!” He said he didn’t care.
I don’t know if Briana or Karston really cared either but since Karston has been twice, it was easy to persuade them that they needed to share the experience together.
And Vanessa, she was busy busy busy with finishing nursing school. But she agreed that graduation called for an adventure. And Italy has always been on her list, so I bribed her with it.
And that’s how I got my younger siblings to travel with me for 3 weeks this summer. The boys couldn’t take that long off work, so the last week was a ‘sister trip.’ Three weeks is kind of a long time to be away from ‘real life’ but we loved it.
We spent the remainder of the calendar days between the idea and the trip doing research and trying to drag the rest of our family members onto the idea. There was interest, but not plausibility. So it ended up being us five. So Karston made the hashtag #5goeuro.
In summary: 1. We started in Czech Republic (Prague)
2. then to Austria (Vienna, Hallstatt, and Salzburg)
3. a stop in Germany for the Neuschwanstein Castle on the way to
4. Switzerland (Zurich, Lauterbrunnen, and other small towns)
5. next, Italy- where the boys left us and the ‘sister trip’ began (Venice, Cinque Terres, Rome, and Florence)
6. and finally Spain (Granada and Barcelona).
My take-aways from this trip:
1. You don’t have to plan everything. But you really should book your tickets to major things, like limited access castles.
2. Europe has too many tourists. There is still space for unexpected adventures. Just, be kind to yourself and don’t go in the summer with everyone else.
3. Europe is not kidding with those stairs. It definitely pays to work out before you go!
4. If you run out of hairspray, braid your hair.
Not this, that.
4. Eat the food. Cake in Vienna. Gelato in Italy. Hot dogs when you’re too poor. Foods are memories too.
5. Look up. Look around. Soak in the details that make the place. Like rooftops and doors.
6. Do travel to a bunch of countries in one trip. But do the walking tours. Or the bike tours. Or the adventures. The history you learn will all start to weave together for each place and give you a fuller picture of what Europe was like back when it all began.
7. And do travel with your family. They usually share your kind of comedy, know when to give you space, and chip in to make the details go smoothly.