Leaving for A While

As you all know I’m leaving on my trip to Europe. I plan to take lots of pictures and do a post about each day, however I’m not sure if I can post while I’m on the trip. I’m writing this in the Spokane airport right before we leave for our flight. I promise that you all will hear every single detail. It just might not be at all during June. I may be able to sneak posts in sitting at cafe’s with internet but for the time being be prepared for little to no posts for most of June. Here are some of the things I can tell you about our trip. We are going to be on our trip for a day under three weeks. We left our home yesterday and stayed overnight near the airport to minimize stress and our flight leaves today. We are flying all day and then landing in Rome. We switch flights twice, once in Portland, Oregon and once in Amsterdam. We have two full days in Rome and then our tour begins. Below is our tour itinerary. The on our last day we are staying four extra days in Paris and are leaving on the return trip on the filth day.

Here is our itinerary taken from rick steves website.

Day 1: Welcome to Europe
We’ll have a brief “Welcome to Europe” meeting around 3 p.m. at our hotel in Rome, followed by a neighborhood stroll and transportation orientation. Then we’ll visit what may be the oldest standing structure you’ll ever see: the 2,000-year-old Roman Pantheon. Nearby, we’ll have a get-acquainted dinner together, followed by a fountain-splashed stroll through the heart of Rome — stopping to toss coins in the Trevi Fountain — and back to our hotel. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 2: Majestic, Ancient Rome
Today we’ll jump straight into the heart of Ancient Rome. Our local guide will tell tales of gladiators as we stand inside the Colosseum, and of Julius Caesar’s rise and fall as we explore the Roman Forum. You’ll then have free time to marvel at the view of Rome from atop the Victor Emmanuel Monument, sample gelato at the Piazza Navona, climb the Spanish Steps, or explore the city’s colorful back streets. Later this afternoon, we’ll gather for an orientation to the awe-inspiring St. Peter’s Basilica — home to Michelangelo’s Pietà — in time for the 5 p.m. mass (which you may watch or attend). Your evening is free. No bus. Walking: strenuous.
Day 3: Catholic Rome and Tuscany
This morning will set the stage for many masterpieces you’ll see on this tour. We’ll meet our local guide and tour the remarkable collection of art in the Vatican Museum including what may be the world’s single greatest work of art: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Afterward, you may want to explore more of the Vatican Museum on your own or find lunch at the nearby street market. Then we’ll leave the noise and stone of the city for our first, green glimpse of rural Europe: peaceful Tuscany, where we’ll find our cozy countryside hotel. You can sit back and relax over a glass of Tuscan wine while the kids swim in the pool before we all sit down to a hearty Tuscan feast together. Sleep in Tuscany (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 4: Renaissance Florence
Today we’ll have a jam-packed tour of Florence’s sights beginning with a “Renaissance Walk” where we’ll learn what daily life was like in Florence, and how ideas and events here changed the world. At the masterpiece-packed Uffizi Gallery, we’ll see how art evolved from medieval times to the Renaissance, with Botticelli, Da Vinci, Raphael and others mastering perspective and realism. After lunch and some free time to explore the local food and crafts markets, we’ll meet face-to-face with a work of art that was, in its time, like nothing anyone had ever seen before: Michelangelo’s David. We’ll return to our rural hotel late this afternoon where you’ll have time to relax, take a walk or maybe swim before dinner together. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 5: Discover Venice
Today we’ll take our bus straight to Venice where we’ll board a vaporetto boat for a canal ride to our hotel in Venice’s historic heart. This evening we’ll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll through the backstreets of Venice to the deservedly famous Piazza San Marco. Later tonight, your guide will help organize an optional gondola ride. If the moon is out, it will hit your eye like a big pizza pie. Sleep in Venice (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: light.
Day 6: Free Day in Venice
The entire day is yours. You can visit churches and museums, cruise between the different islands, or simply get lost (remember, it’s an island) exploring Venice’s hidden alleyways and canals. Or how about swimming and relaxing on the beach? Your guide will organize an afternoon trip to the sandy beach island of the Lido. No bus (too much water). Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).
Day 7: Over the Dolomites to Austrian Tirol
Leaving Venice, we’ll say “Ciao” to Italy and take the dramatic drive toward the Brenner Pass and Austria, stopping for lunch in the Italian-Tirolean town of Bolzano. We’ll also visit Bolzano’s most famous resident: the 5,300-year-old, naturally-preserved remains of Ötzi the Iceman, along with a museum exhibit explaining how prehistoric Europeans lived and died. Then we’ll take a scenic drive to reach our beautiful Tirolean country hotel, just outside the flower-boxed town of Reutte. We’ll eat a hearty dinner together and sleep near Reutte (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 7 hrs. Walking: light.
Day 8: Neuschwanstein Castle
It’s a short drive and a half-hour walk to “Mad” King Ludwig’s famous Neuschwanstein Castle. We’ll tour this fairy-tale palace and enjoy its panoramic views of the Tirolean countryside. After lunch, you’ll barrel down the Tegelberg luge (kids and adults love this, weather permitting), and still have free time to stroll along trails, bike down country roads, or kick back and relax at our peaceful hotel before another Tirolean supper together. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.
Day 9: Scenic Drive to the Swiss Alps
Today we’ll take a scenic drive, winding our way through forests, enjoying views of craggy peaks and pristine lakes, and stopping for lunch in the cutest town we can find. Then we’ll climb into the heart of the Swiss Alps and our creaky old chalet overlooking the magnificent Lauterbrunnen Valley, where we’ll have dinner and sleep (2 nights) Train: ½ hr. Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: light.
Day 10: Free Day in the Alps
The day is all yours (kids can sleep in)! You can take a narrow-gauge railway to trailheads at the feet of the towering Eiger and Jungfrau peaks, or just wander through the meadows and play Heidi. For more Alpine thrills, you can ride a gondola lift up to the revolving-restaurant-topped Schilthorn at 10,000 feet. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).
Day 11: Beautiful Burgundy
We’ll drive all day to our next home in the French countryside, passing pastures and châteaux en route to the quintessentially French region of Burgundy. Our country hotel has plenty of space for kids to play outdoor games this evening. For dinner we’ll share a buffet of French specialties. Sleep in Burgundy (1 night). Train: ½ hr. Bus: 8 hrs. Walking: light.
Day 12: Medieval Marvels and the Historic Heart of Paris
This morning we’ll visit the construction sight of Guédelon, a 13th-century castle being built (by people in traditional costumes using historically-accurate tools and machines) exactly as it would have been 800 years ago. Then we’re off to Paris where we’ll introduce you to its birthplace with a walking tour of the Ile de la Cité. Our walk will continue through the Latin Quarter before ending with a visit the gargoyle-topped Notre-Dame Cathedral. We’ll cap off our first day in Paris with an evening boat cruise on the Seine. Sleep in Paris (2 nights). Boat: 1 hr. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: strenuous.
Day 13: Parisian Masterpieces
Our day begins with a guided tour of the magnificent Louvre Museum where our local guides will bring the Mona Lisa and other great works of art to life. This afternoon you’re free to round out your Paris sightseeing with a climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe or Eiffel Tower, a stroll down the Champs-Elysées, or do some last minute shopping. We’ll gather for our final dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salut! No bus. Walking: moderate.
Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast
It’s a breeze to reach Paris’ airports by taxi, shuttle or public transportation. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Merci et au revoir!


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