Subject: Re: European Vacation 2006
Hey Jim & Judy,

I have personally always had trouble understanding that kind of schedule. Any one of those countries alone would deserve you stay for a full 3 weeks (or more).

With just a few days in each location you will mainly have time for a few of the larger tourist attractions. Tourist attractions doesnt make a culture - if they did you could just see pictures of it and then say you have been close to that culture. You certainly will not have time to get a sense of the culture or the people you are among.

You mentioned you have been to Europe before so I bet you know what I mean when I say that each country in Europe is a lot more different from another than the different states are in the US. If you really want to get even a sense of the country, its people, and its culture then I would really recommend you slow down.

I would think about the schedule and plan at least 1 week at each of your locations. Your kids will get a deeper sense of the country they are visiting. It will be less tiring - and more enjoyable. Remember the jet lag - the first few days are tough.

This opinion is for a large part also based on the fact that to me learning about a different culture is much more than spending a few hours at the biggest tourist attractions. It is about hanging out at the cafe's and talking with the locals. It is about exploring a city without a map - and trying the food the locals eat. It is about finding the shops the locals like, the specific likes and dislikes the locals subscribe to. The more local folks I have gotten to talk with when I travel - the happier I am. On a really good trip I will have made some new friends to stay in touch with. Sometimes the biggest cultural teachings I have gotten by simply hanging out at the pool and meeting people. Then getting invited to their homes - and sharing a meal with them. I will have found out what they dream about, how they live their lives etc. On such a trip I might even have to dry my eyes a bit when I leave a location. After all - I leave new found friends behind. My own world as I know it have fallen behind for a few weeks and I have gotten introduced to another world entirely. Try to do that in a couple of days?

Well - it is of course just an opinion - offered freely. It is completely possible that you look for something different when you travel.

Warm regards, Malene Sonoma CA.