My Love for International Travel- and where it all began (part two)

The Family overlooking Innsbruck

Read part one of this post here.

After two weeks in Jolly Ole England, we headed to London to start our 10 day bus tour of Continental Europe. We had booked it with Cosmos, a well-established tour company in Europe. The group we were on had people of all ages on it, including a couple of families with children our age, which made the group experience even more enjoyable.

Lindsay on our Rhine River Cruise

Our stop the first night was in a very rainy Brussles. My only memories of Brussles were a vague recollection of The Grand Place, Brussles’ amazing central square.

The next day we headed South into Germany, where we boarded a boat to do a castle cruise on the Rhine River. It was cool seeing all the castles on this stretch of the river from the comfort of the boat. 10 years later, on my first solo trip to Europe, I would take this same cruise again.

Mom drinking the pitcher-sized beers at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich

The next day, after spending a couple of hours in Munich, our group headed out for dinner and a night of traditional German music at a beer hall. My favorite memory of this night was eating the giant pretzels at the Hofbrauhaus. This was another experience that I would duplicate on one of my European trips- this one in 1998 when I visited with my friends Tone & Keath.

We headed south from Munich into the Alps. Our first stop was in Innsbruck, Austria, (see the first photo of this post) where we took in amazing views over the city from the hill in front of the Olympic downhill ski jump. I also bought the stylish hat seen in the picture, which I wore religiously for the rest of the trip.

Our next stop, in Venice, was possibly the most memorable of the trip. Venice was so unlike anything I had ever seen before, not a surprise since it is truly one-of-a-kind.

The buildings, especially those around St. Mark’s Square & the Doge’s Palace, were so ancient and unlike any I had ever seen in America.

My most vivid memory from Venice was the gondola cruise. The specific thing I remember was how dirty the water of the canals was. Being 14, I told all my friends (and anyone who would listen) stories of seeing raw sewage floating by our boat. Upon revisiting in 1997, I was pleasently surprised to see how much the canals had been cleaned up.

Lunch on the shores of Lake Lugano

From Venice our tour headed north into Switzerland. A few years before we had visited Yellowstone & Grand Teton, so I had seen majestic mountains, but we were all impressed by the seemingly endless panoramas that the Swiss Alps offered.

My favorite memory of Switzerland was the evening we spent at a restaurant/concert hall, trying fondue and listening to a presentation on the traditionally Swiss art of yodeling. I can’t exactly remember when before the trip I had developed such a fscination with yodeling, but I was so pleased to actually get to hear some of it.

The next day was our last on the continent, and unfortunately, we spent driving through a driving rain going from Switzerland to France.

The last day on the bus was a lot of fun. I sat near the front and practiced some French with our guide, Guiseppe, who was fluent not only in French, but also English and Italian, and had a pretty good knowledge of Spanish and English.

We did have some good fortune on our last day. Despite it raining hard all day, we had a couple hours of clearing in Paris, which allowed us to visit the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees. In the evening we had a traditional French meal, and I remember being adventurous enough to try both frogs legs and escargot.

We headed back to England via the ferry from Calais to Dover. We spent our last few days in Britain visiting Edinburgh, Scotland with the Ollingers.

All these years later, despite many of the details beginning to fade, I remember how much my imagination had been captured by the things I saw on that first trip to Europe. Ten years later, I would visit again on a bus tour, followed by visits five out of the next six years. It always amazed me on those subsequent visits how timeless Europe can be.

I have my parents to thank for implanting that love of international travel and adventure that I found on that first trip. With the addiction that traveling has become, I sometimes think they wish they’d not started me down the path of being a dedicated traveller. I’ll cover my theory on “The Genetics of Travel” in a couple of weeks.

See Part One of this article here. 

One Response to “My Love for International Travel- and where it all began (part two)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Husband, now I know why your mom cried…and I wasn't even there.


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