The travel sirens have called to us again. Last year, we went around the world in 184 days and visited 30 countries. The purpose of the trip was “sightseeing”. We wanted to see for ourselves, up close and personal, those places in the world that take your breath away when you see them in a photograph , video or movie. The round the world trip was everything we thought it would be. We saw breathtaking man made sights like the Sydney Opera House, Angkor Wat,Hagia Sophia, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Chartres , the Colosseum in Rome as well as natural sights such as the Swiss Alps, the Austrian Lake District, the Mediterranean Sea, the Seine, the Danube, the Croation Coastal Islands, The Bosphorus Straits, the Chao Phraya River, Waiheke Island , Moorea and Bora Bora.
This year, we want to immerse ourselves in the culture of a country to get to know it the best you can as a visitor. We are not thinking “EAT, PRAY , LOVE”. It will be more like, “What is this on my plate? ” ” Did you miss the turn again?” and “Think I should pee? No, it will only be a short drive.” We have chosen France and Italy. Our plan is to leave on May 4, 2014 and return on November 1, 2014. We will fly to Paris and spend a week or two. We hope to see our French friends, Alain, Dominique, Yann, Peggy and Aude. Then, we will rent a car and drive to the south of France where we plan to find and rent a house for 3 months. Our preference would be to locate near a small village or villages where we can visit the local farmers’ markets, take French lessons and cooking classes. Then, assuming we can tear ourselves away from the south of France after 3 months, we hope to drive to Tuscany, Italy and do the same things all over again–rent a house, take cooking classes and who knows maybe take Italian lessons. Of course, like our trip last year, we have made no advance plans after Paris and renting a car. Our plan is to go to wherever the travel sirens call us to go each day.
We are hoping to share this adventure with as many of our family and friends that will come to France and Italy to stay with us. We would be happy to provide you with a place to sleep and share some food and wine with you. Of course, your airfare will be on you! Come and see us. It will be fun. For planning purposes, we will be somewhere in France in June and July and somewhere in Italy in August and September.
So, this weekend we are “practice packing”. We are “discussing” luggage, do we take carry on luggage only like we did last year or something larger? We will let you know who wins or how we compromise. The “discussion” is not only over carry on luggage, but also over whether we check our luggage, and that may depend upon whether we take TSA approved quantities of shampoo, conditioner, cologne, perfume, shaving cream, contact lens solution, and all those bottles and containers of mysterious liquids that are suppose to make us beautiful, or buy all of these liquids, creams and gels once we get to Europe.
We hope that if you can’t visit with us in France and Italy, you will follow us on our blog. We would love to have you and would love to hear from you often. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Love, Norm and Rita