07/21/2016 - 08/21/2016
After our epic road trip around the Adriatic in 2014, I started daydreaming about other routes that would take us through every part of Europe I'd ever wanted to visit. I settled on a time frame of four to five weeks, since it would be long enough to make the hassle and expense of flying and renting the car worthwhile yet not long enough to make us weary of traveling and managing the kids. This summer we were able to knock out two of my highest priority routes. I've already blogged about our Catalunya and Southern France trip, and this is the story of our month-long round trip that began and ended in Munich and took us to most of the great cities of Central Europe. Originally I had planned an eight country trip which would have begun in Frankfurt and included Zurich and Liechtenstein, but we would have needed at least another week to avoid skimping on the rest of the itinerary and we didn't want Cleo to miss her first week of Pre-K. I sliced the westernmost part of our circle away and moved our anchor point to Munich. We'll see the Rhine and Lake Constance on another road trip. That left us with Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Czech for this trip which ended up feeling slightly rushed but overall a great experience.
Of course, every trip we take seems to spawn two or three new itineraries in my mind so we're no closer to completing our mission of seeing everything we ever wanted to in Europe. My highest priority trip at the moment will begin in Milan and take us through Tuscany, Corsica and Sardinia before concluding in Rome. I hope to get that one done in 2018 (in odd years we go to Asia). I have at least one other trip planned for Italy as well: Rome through Naples and the Amalfi coast to Calabria and Sicily and then back to Rome. Some other ideas in the pipeline are Barcelona to Bordeaux to Galicia to Northern Portugal and back to Barcelona; an Amsterdam round trip that would take us through Belgium to Luxembourg, Alsace, Switzerland and Western Germany; Berlin to Riga and back via Poland and Lithuania; and a couple of extensive trips through the Balkans and Greece and through Scandinavia that I haven't yet given much thought to. By the time we're done with Europe, the only European country I don't expect to have visited is Moldova. But then again, I never planned to go to Poland and now I can't wait to go back.
I think I'll experiment with being a little more succinct on this blog. I wrote up the first two European trips in exhaustive detail with a lot of pictures because I approached the blog as a living photo album that we could go back to to relive the memories of our trip. I like the idea of the kids reading it when they're older, having no real memories of the trip, and seeing their younger selves having fun in those forgotten places. Perhaps it will keep the fires of travel stoked in them when they've gone off to school and moved on from us. I went through a long travel drought in college and medical school simply because I had no idea how much fun it could be to travel on my own or with friends, then rediscovered it in my mid 20's. I've always regretted not taking a semester away in college. However, the downside of the long format is that it is very time-consuming to write, and it's not really accessible to someone who finds the blog because they're looking for a quick overview of an interesting part of the world. We've gone on a lot of trips before and since the Adriatic road trip that I didn't blog simply because I couldn't face the time commitment. I'll see if I can write this trip up in about half the pages and about half the time and decide if I like it as much as the other blogs I wrote. If so, I might blog some of our older trips including the USA road trips. It would be interesting to know what other readers think as well. I know some people come here and read the blog but never comment or provide feedback, so it's kind of like writing in a vacuum regarding what the general public wants to see.