Every five years or so we take an epic getaway. I suppose it’s how we release the built up pressure of the demands of work and life, after using up vacations to visit family and go to weddings (you know how it is). This year’s adventure was more the product of the pressure to travel in Europe before we move back to the States (in two months!). Because who gets excited about traveling with 3- and 1-year-old boys?
Two weeks ago we loaded our 1998 4Runner with suitcases, snacks and a new sand toy set and headed for Spain. We spent more than 40 hours in the car over 2,300+ miles. We survived!
We drove onto a train that drove us UNDER the English Channel. We rode a cogwheel train to the top of a volcano. We crossed the impressive Viaduc du Millau. We squeezed onto a hot commuter train to wander the streets of Barcelona. (The more trains, the more exciting a trip is for a preschooler, by the way.) We played in the sand. We suffered through traffic to visit Montserrat. We braved a late family meal in France’s gastronomic capital, Lyon. We wandered the streets of Paris. We ate Nutella crepes. We wriggled through the crush of the crowds at the Palace of Versailles. We were humbled in overgrown bomb craters atop the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc. We marveled at the sight of Mont Saint-Michel. We were surprised by the lovely town of Bayeux. Then we caught our return Euro Tunnel train just in time to be the last to board.
We abandoned all of our plans to explore covered markets in towns along the way – there just wasn’t enough time. What surprised me most, though, is that I actually fell in love with France. (I guess that Buzzfeed quiz was right.) I still can’t speak French – my “bonjour” is decidedly still very American – but I want to go back. I told my husband that we will have to make a trip to the southern region during Le Tour de France one day and do a proper picnic along the route as we wait for the racers to zip by. The more time we spent on the road, the more natural it felt to be there.
I want to make the time to share photos and details of this trip (and the trip to Switzerland the week before that!) as we prepare to pack up our home and move across the Atlantic again. It really was a trip of a lifetime. And now… the four-hour drive to the Lake District will be a piece of cake!