Florence

Florence

Seven years ago, fresh off surgeries, ambulance rides, ICU treatments, and a year that would not give an inch, my husband and I took a pause to travel through Italy with his family – a trip that we are still talking about with awe and wonder. The central element of that trip – three days in Florence.  So, naturally, my Brunelleschi-loving husband, and his Botticelli-adoring wife could think of only one city that they couldn’t wait to visit again with our two sons in tow — Florence!

The itinerary: one afternoon, a full day, and one long morning. But, first, we have to get there from Cinque Terre.

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Trains & Public Transit Options: 2017

 

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Taking the train through Cinque Terre, October 2010

As a family of four we will be “backpacking” through France, Italy, and the Netherlands through a series of planes, trains, and automobiles.  Because I know that wireless access can be limited when travelling, I am saving all of the relevant train schedules for June 2017 here so I have an easy one-stop solution for calling an audible on train travel during the trip.

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Packing for Europe with Teenagers

Packing for Europe with a family of four is naturally a challenge. But, a two week trip through three countries, six hotels, and an overnight train, our packing will need to be done in a way that supports  “backpacking” meaning light weight, and streamlined – which will prove even more challenging.  That in mind we plan to take the Rick Steves approach: pack everything up, put it on your back, and head downtown for an hour to find out if the weight is too much. 

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France: Paris

While I generally believe in planning a European vacation with the optimistic assumption that I will return, there’s also a logic in ensuring that a first trip to Europe covers at least a few of the “greatest hits”.  Which is why, our upcoming family adventure will include three days in Paris, even though (gasp!) it isn’t one of my favorite cities.

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Amsterdam: 18 Hour Layover

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Rijksmuseum, Courtesy IAmesterdam

There are three direct flights from Europe to Salt Lake City, through London, Paris, or Amsterdam. Following our time in Rome, I knew we’d have to connect in one of these cities, and based on a great deal I found on Delta, Amsterdam was the best option.  So, I decided to push for one more day of Punching the Travel Fun Button with a layover in Amsterdam.  We won’t have much time, so I opted for maximum convenience in all our planning.

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Normandy: Two Day Itinerary

Travelling by myself, I would not dedicate two precious vacation days to Normandy.  I am neither a history buff, nor a fan of the road trip. But, with a husband and two boys – it seems no trip to Europe would be complete without a little war (literally, historically, & metaphorically) of various interests.  So, I’ve tried to build out an itinerary that combined things I enjoy – quaint villages, wine, charming architecture – with things they’ll enjoy. Normandy will keep off our European adventure with a day of beaches and Mont-Saint-Michel, followed by a day of Memorial Museums and the charming city of Rouen.