Wow.

It has really been a month of living and travelling the world!  I likely have a few more grey hairs and few more pounds to show for it!  But also, many more memories, laugh lines and family moments to remember.

Europe is almost over -so far ….my summary would go as follows…

Countries

Luxembourg (Luxembourg city)- laid back, small, safe, green areas, cool old part of town, three tiers (the start of the hills!) – BEST elevator system to get between the tiers, cool fountains,

Train travel = safe, relaxing, easy, time for cards

 

Germany (Munich) – very very big city, dirty’ish’ city streets, loads of young people out at all hours, beer and beer gardens (smokey, loads of grease, not my ideal spot!), easy to use train system, safe enough, Olympic park very large and accessible and beautiful, most fun at a water park and diving platform centre!

Beer gardens.

Austria- (Salzburg)- VERY laid back, very safe, too much meat fat at beer garden meals (no salads anywhere!), gorgeous river through town – good for running/biking, biking along flat paths available EVERYWHERE!

Biking everywhere!

Italy (Venice) – busy, narrow streets, loud people (local and tourists) everywhere, safe, cool canals and bridges and life without cars.

Italy (Rome) – SO OLD, easy to walk everywhere, safe enough (esp with the military tanks and men with machine guns at every “tourist attraction”,  history, culture, Most fascinating tours – Colleseum, Forum, Vatican

Italy (Florence) – pasta, pizza, walking tour – fun with kids backpack, leather everywhere, safe, loud (locals and tourists)

cooking pizza with Lulu

Italy (Pisa) – I liked the tower…but the town didn’t appear to be much…a day trip (or 1/2 day is good –buy your tickets for the tower ahead)

well-worn twisty slanted stairs

Italy (CinqueTerre) – chill, gorgeous, tremendous hiking, cool off in the Sea….that’s my kind of place.  Foccacia and pesto – also better than seafood for me!…oh and we found our first Italian Sangria here….so two thumbs up!

Venezia from the hiking trail

houses perched on the sides of this hill along hiking trail

France (Nice) – opulent!  Wowsers….money, yatchs, cars, houses, shopping….money money everywhere.  A stop over was fine – not a place for me.

yatchs yatchs yatchs

skipping stones into the Mediterranean Sea in Nice

France – Riviera, south coast – very pretty with green/blue water, very very dry inland – like a desert.  Twisty tight roads when off the freeway (which is anything but FREE…3euro to 29euro we paid at the “ticket” booths along the way….OUCH.  The car is great – just enough room, but Wilson, Lulu and I are prone to car sickness — so we fight over who sits in front seat or back middle to see out, who drives (I get to win that one!) and who navigates.  We knew this part of the trip was just travel days –but they are 5-7hrs in the car, it is warm 28deg and sunny….so full a/c and some arguing over “chill time” with the iPads or homework or audio books…..ah, the family car vacation!

Saint Tropez

France (Dordogne-Saint Cyprien) – awesome!  This is my idea of small town all decorated for a festival.  Noone is up on the streets before 8am.  Hardly anyone after that even.  Very safe.  The running in the am was brilliant. The red wine too!  History – caves and neanderthal dwellings. Castles – very cool – Beynac and Castlenaud.  Daytrip to some seriously HUGE caves at Padriac.  Lulu and I didn’t last too long underground – it isn’t a comfy place for me —not to mention the whole Thai cave drama that just unfolded.  The highlight of the Padriac caves is getting into a boat in the underground lake! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!  Rich seriously was unphased by this…in fact was like…”what happened in Thailand exactly?”….I need to get him listening to more CBC! (or me less :)…we did see a bat though!…eeek

sunrise on a run -Saint Cyprien

Phase 10 fun in the ancient stone house – Saint Cyprien

everybody quick – vacuum the car (along the one way – thank goodness) road at our front door (I am taking the picture from our second floor window

window pictures – Saint Cyprien

VERY twisty turning roads and the speed…I can’t believe they drive 80km on a road only meant for one horsedrawn wagon going in ONE direction.  The highway limit is 130km/h! (without speeding) and the motorcycles rule the road –anywhere, anytime, as fast as they want.  Actually – the only thing that trumps the motorcycle on the road are pedestrians….you step onto the “zebra” (crosswalk) and EVERYONE STOPS for you to cross!  I did most of the driving….and therefore the Rich navigating stories begin!

France (Loire Valley – Langeais) – Princess Castle stay – super fancy bed and breakfast for us Trenholms!  Nice to visit Bruno and his wife for a home made supper and practice french – all of my family are better than me…but my vocab isn’t bad and I can follow along (if you give me the subject!) . Castle visits – Chateau d’Usse –a bit of a disappointment – but it did look like a princess castle!

..not our super fancy bnb….but a fantastic tree house at Chateau Langeais

L’ange est reveur bed and breakfast

…the princess! and the bed!

 

 

…the breakfast!

Chateau d’Usse

Sleeping Beauty’s story in the castle tower

France (Brittany/Normandy – Dinan) – again -my kind of chill place!  Gorgeous running – UP to the old town and through cobblestone streets and along ramparts no less….or quiet morning along the river!  Very safe.

First daytrip to the coast included a cool fort right on the sea!

Our daytrip to Juno beach was the highlight for me.  The war history (thanks Rich for the audiobook on the drive over) was a good update (or first time absorbing it)….and then to see the pictures, videos and memorabilia…and to share with Wilson and Lauchlyn that Great-Grandpa Bruce was fighting here in France in 1943 in a Lancaster bomber.  We took lots of pictures and wrote a nice memory page at the end.  The walk on Juno beach in the wind and mist and seeing the tanks they “brought up from the depths of the Sea where they were lost during battle” and the bunkers built by the German forces….all very moving.  The France, especially in this area by Juno beach, LOVE the Canadians.  All Canadian young people work at the museum here.  It was nice to talk to an Ontarian and a New Brunswicker!

Canadian Airforce uniform

..our thanks!

France (Paris) –dropped the car off at Orly airport.  Now staying in the outskirts of Paris (our first Uber drive to our air bnb – uneventful – we will use again!).  Eiffel Tower and shopping with Lulu await (after her beauty sleep!) and the boys get some French pastries.

Sleeping Beauty

The princes going for food…someone in PJs still

Sloppy Joes for bfast? Why not?! (best Mom ever!)