One of the mysteries of the universe to me is how does a trip idea spark into reality. I decided, it usually starts with people talking smack. Bantering back and forth, upgrading to one-up-man-ship, general family stuff. Then there is that nanosecond that one person says something meaningful and the concept of “I bet we could do that” appears. A spark! then it is just a logistic puzzle.
Chase, our first graduating grandson had been told many times he could travel when he was older and when he had a destination in mind. At one family gathering, he opined that he would like to see how cars (fast cars of course) were created. That, to him, was a worthy reason to travel. Some internet research showed Maserati, Ferrari, BMW, Porcha had factory tours . . . wow, I bet we could do that; go to Germany and Italy.
The dinner included Jonathan and Janet, who joined the car banter and one-up to join the with a full family destination. We would fly through London or maybe Paris. Houses on Airbnb are reasonable, if we timed it properly, we could leave following Chases’ graduation. A rough budget was concocted, and they said, I bet we can do that. And spark! It was all done except the logistics.
Yes, there were a lot of logistics. The only unbeatable one, however, is the unforeseen cancer diagnosis that David faced and the associated chemotherapy. The doctors, STRENOUSLY, said no travel, no foreign adventures, no – don’t think about it, just no. Janet’s mother, Evelyn, decided to join. We wouldn’t want to waste the senior citizen tickets to all these juicy destinations.
We opted for a house just outside Paris. It did require a 30-minute commute into the city each day, but it also allowed us to get to know a small town, the French bakery on the corner, the pizza place by the train station and many trips to the grocery store for our daily provisions. Our first day we started with a Seine River Cruise to get the view of the whole city and we had our first of many crepes. Paris is, after all, one of the most appealing, glamorous, and romantic of all the cities. The Eiffel Tower was a must; the view from the top is spectacular. The Eiffel Tower at night is another must because of the golden light. Our mistake was that we forgot to notice the train stopped running at 11, and it was a long taxi ride home.
The Arc De Triomphe, Versailles, the d’Orsay, Moulin Rouge and Palace of Versailles are some of Paris’ other famous landmarks. Paris is loaded with interesting and attractive sights. Paris, France: truly a memorable experience.
The Chunnel to London, the Eurostar high speed train, is certainly speedy; the journey took 2 and a half hours.
Every city has some history. London possesses more than 2,000 years but yet it is totally modern. Walking down the street brings you face to face with icons: the Thames, landmarks like Big Ben, theTower of London, and St Paul’s Cathedral.
There are the distinctive cabs, shopping at Harrods (Versace), enjoying high tea in Notting Hill. A day trip to Windsor to watch the changing of the guard and the best of all Trooping of the Colors (the Queen’s birthday) at Buckingham Palace.
London has the best theatre scene in the world, we saw The Lion King at the West End the first professional theatre event for the grandkids! What a place for your first experience.
But this trip began with need for speed and fast cars. Stuttgart, Munich and Marella, Italy are home to some of the best car companies in the world. Car production lines have two components: the body assembly and the power train assembly. Eventually “they marry” and voila you have a car. Each company does things different, some consolidate the clients’ accessory choices in a moveable rack that accompanies the car through the assembly process, they have various automation or robotic technology Lamborghini makes their entire care by hand. All had a museum highlighting the history of the company and their classic cars. And every single day, Chase smiled more than I have ever seen. A spark! I’m so glad we did that.