Happy New Year!
We have made it back home from our amazing adventure and are settling back into our California lifestyle. Reentry is more difficult than I imagined and we continue to reflect on our many experiences throughout the trip. We had no idea how lucky we were with both weather and health. With less than a week of rain, and Natalie getting the sniffles for two days, we are now all dealing with the flu and colds. Here are just a few things that my family and I have learned from our recent travel, in no particular order.
- The Food is amazing. The bread, meats, cheeses, and gelato just don’t compare back at home. Hence the 32 pounds that I have gained from the trip.
- Walking is fun. We averaged 3 to 4 miles a day, and one day did 11. This is more fun, however, if you are not carrying luggage with you.
- European trains are no longer punctual. Every country had delays and problems, including Switzerland and Germany. Plus, it may be fun for some (me) to look out the window and see the beautiful scenery, but may make others (Kate & Natalie) feel nauseous.
- Picnics are something everyone should make a habit of. It is a great way to enjoy the great weather, people watch, taste great food, drink fabulous beer and wine, and meet new friends. Whether it is watching goats on a Swiss mountaintop for breakfast, the top of a Croatian castle for lunch, or under the Eiffel tower for dinner, there is never a bad time for a picnic.
- Electric dryers are really nice. Even if the weather is lovely, hanging up laundry and hoping that it will dry in time is more of an art than a science.
- Carrousels are very popular and fun in both Italy and France. Even the smallest town will have a place for the children to enjoy a classic ride.
- Wide roads are a rarity, and 2 lanes a luxury. Highways, on the other hand, are almost always smother than our roads back home.
- Parks and playgrounds are a lot more fun when you don’t have to worry about liability and lawsuits. From crazy zip-lines to outrageous rock climbing walls, they know how to make things fun.
- We have too much clutter in our homes and our lives. Having only 1 bag a piece for our travels (and 1 for painting supplies), it becomes quite clear that we have way too much stuff at home. Already we have donated 27 bags to the Good Will store, and we have more to go.
- Slowing down is a good thing. From siestas in the afternoon, to shops closing down for lunch, and stores closing for the weekends, the time to sit back and relax with family is refreshing. In Switzerland the entire family gets together for a lunch break, even during school time.
- Play is universal. Even though you can’t speak a word of the language, a simple smile is all that is needed to make a new friend to play with.
- Art can make a grown man cry. Just look at Michelangelo’s David. Need I say more.