Thursday, 4 August 2016


Carolyn.  We spent the last 6 weeks of our trip in Europe:

France, 3 weeks, June 17-July 9 (Paris, Provence, Nice);
Italy, 2 weeks, July 9-23 (Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan);
Germany, 1 week, July 23-31 (Berlin, Dusseldorf-area).

Back in our early planning days (more than a year before we even left Canada), we originally put Europe at the end of our itinerary, because we thought that after 11 months of traveling in countries that were culturally very different for us, it could help our “re-entry” process to visit a region more culturally familiar.

As our planning developed (still before we left Canada), we found ourselves with the new idea that we might move to Europe after our trip, to live and work for a few years before returning to Canada – so with this in mind, having Europe on our itinerary at the end of our trip was a good idea to “scout” possible locations that we could live…

In reality, we arrived in Europe somewhat exhausted from the previous 11 months.  We played tourist a bit, and enjoyed some classic sights that we had never visited before – but the truth is that we all feel a bit “saturated”.  We have been so lucky to experience so many new things on our travels…and now…it seems we are having trouble absorbing anything more…

Cooper summed this up well, regarding his birthday in July.  We were in Florence, Italy and we asked him the day before what he would like to do for his birthday.  His answer:  “I do NOT want to visit a museum, or historic site, or art gallery, or church!” (What did we do?  We all went to a local public swimming pool and enjoyed a great afternoon in the water).

Actually, the temperature in Florence was around 38-40 degrees, and we often felt as hot and uncomfortable there as we had felt in India.  Paris had been a welcome 19-20 degrees when we arrived in mid-June (unseasonably cool for them), and Germany was more comfortable 23-29 degrees.

For us, the best part about our time in Europe was that we got to reunite with people we knew! On five separate occasions, we met with friends and/or family.  We were much more excited about these precious personal interactions than to see anything more on the tourist track.  Looking forward to being back in Canada soon!

Toronto friends Loriann & Kevin, whom we met at their vacation villa in Tuscany!

Reuniting with Gisella & Fortunato, at their Tuscany farmhouse where we stayed 7 years ago - we kept in touch over the years, and they love Cooper.

Visiting cousins Bernie & Susan in Herne, Germany - where Vern's Dad was raised.

Meeting Vern's cousin Andrea -- 31 years since their last family reunion in Germany!

Dinner with twins Bianca & Bettina in Meschede, Germany -- friends whom we know from their annual hiking vacations in the Canadian Rockies.

To see more pictures from our trip so far, click here

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