Already running behind in my journaling. We have already made it to England, our 4th stop in our journey. The problem is I’m having too much fun to stop and take the time to write it all down. Oh well, luckily my crew is a lot better than me at keeping up on our memories.
The first few weeks went by slow. Not in a bad way, we have just been seeing and doing so many things. Every day is crammed with eating new food, touring the sights, and discovering new cultures. The transitioning from country to country has been challenge, but we are slowly getting into our groove.
Once we arrive into a new city it is quite the show. The 4 Americans wearing oversized packs, taking people out, just trying to get off the train. Once we do make it off, we stand on the dock looking like lost travelers. Our challenges ahead include figuring out where our accommodations are located, if we are going to get there by bus or train (Clark doesn’t do taxi’s), where the information/ticket booth is located, making it through the crowds of people, and eventually out of the station to begin our trek.
Paris, our 2nd stop, was a cheesy experience. Yes, I said it, but it’s true. Every day I would have baguette sandwich stuffed with lots of cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes, and basil….yummy! It was nice staying in Creteil, which was just on the outside of Paris. I think we were the only Americans around and we weren’t hard to spot. The stigma that the French are rude couldn’t be farther from the truth. Everyone we ran into were super friendly and always willing to help. The sights were spectacular as well. My favorite was the Palace of Versailles, with its vast gardens, priceless artifacts, and rich history. My least favorite place was the Louvre. It’s not the world’s most famous and expensive artwork that I didn’t enjoy, it was breaking a bone in my foot that ruined it. I guess I can’t read a map and walk down stairs at the same time. Oh well, it was off to the emergency room for some x-rays and pain pills, then off to the next country.
Amsterdam was next and it sure was nice being in a country that speaks English. Not that Paris was that difficult, but when you are staying outside the tourist areas it is easier to speak, read signs, and order food when it is English. Our place we stayed at was in Northern Amsterdam, across the river from downtown. It was situated on a canal where Tamara and I spent our mornings/evenings on the patio drinking coffee/wine, just taking it all in. While hobbling around town with crutches was a little difficult, it was well worth it. Not only were the people of Amsterdam fascinating, but so was their history. We had a chance to visit the windmills in Zaanse Schans and learn how vital they were to the local’s survival. We also visited some small towns where we watched them make clog shoes and my favorite…cheese! The most moving was definitely the Anne Frank house. I remembering studying about the horrific things her and millions of others went through, but it was a lot more real and emotional to see it firsthand.
It has been interesting traveling with my family 24/7 for over a month now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my gang to death. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend every waking moment with them. Besides the occasional whining, it has been amazing. Being able to bond with my children and experience the world together has been unbelievable. Just as amazing has been the time spent with Tamara. I look forward to each day I wake up next to her, knowing it is going to filled with love and laughter. All right, Tamara and I are off to the pub. Luckily, kids are allowed!