So earlier this summer we spent one month in Europe. At this point we've been home for a little over a month. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the trip and here are a few thoughts:
- Food: Without a doubt, the home cooking we were treated to in Austria at Ben and Missy's house.
- Place we stayed: Innsbruck, Austria
- Famous thing we visited/ saw: Michelangelo's statue of David.
- With the exception of France, everywhere we went people LOVED our kids. They wanted to hold Etta, dance with Aven, have little conversations. I was pleasantly surprised.
- Air conditioning is rare and so are window screens. Europeans seem to happily coexist with insects of all kinds.
- Traffic laws aren't enforced in person, typically only by camera and drivers seem to see traffic laws more as basic guidelines. But, we only saw one accident the entire month, and we drove about 2000 miles. I was impressed with the craziest sanest driving I've ever experienced.
Things I miss about Europe:
- The dirt-cheap gelato and pastires.
- The more open attitudes toward breastfeeding and nudity. Not that I want to run through the streets naked, but people definitely didn't have the hang-ups about it that we have here. While at Seefeld Lake, some motorcyclists sat down near us, took off all their motorcycle gear and ate their lunch in their underwear. That would be an arrestable offense here.
- The old-world architecture. Seeing 800-1000 year old buildings everywhere you look is a good reminder that America is just a baby in terms of how long it's been a country.
Things I don't miss about Europe:
- The smoking. I'm pretty sure that almost everyone smokes all the time in Europe. The waitress who served us at a restaurant we ate at in France even smoked while setting our table. It was pretty gross. By the time we came home I was SO ready to not have to smell cigarette smoke ALL THE TIME. All the anti-smoking laws we have here are a blessing.
- Pay bathrooms. I didn't mind paying so much as I was annoyed at the number of bathrooms that required exact change. I didn't always have time to find exact change in the middle of Aven having a four-year-old potty emergency.
- Our beloved Dacia Lodgy, the car we leased for the month which was manufactured in Romania. It was awful, just awful.
Things I would do different if given the chance:
- Pay more money to stay closer to the city centers in both Florence and Nice.
- Spend more time at the beach in France.
- Spend more time in Venice. Ian is disappointed with our very unsatisfying five-hour whirlwind tour of the city on the water.
Overall, despite the very large price we paid to go on this trip, we are still incredibly glad that we did. It was definitely life changing.