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Summer and Grandma Go to Italty (Rome), Austria (Salzburg) and France (Paris)

Summer and Grandma Go to Italty (Rome), Austria (Salzburg) and France (Paris)

Oct 14th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Summer and Grandma Go to Italty (Rome), Austria (Salzburg) and France (Paris)

My granddaughter (Summer) and I went on our European trip during the first two weeks of July. We have been planning this trip since Summer was about 4 years ago - and we were watching the Sound of Music for the umteenth time. She told me that she wished she could see the church where Fraulein Marie was married and I told her that someday I would take her there. At that time, Summer was my old grandchild (I now have six). In any event, we decided that we would go when she was old enough to appreciate the trip and remember it. Summer and I live close to each other (in southern California) and we are close in other ways as well - for example, Summer loves to read and loves history and travel. By the time she was five years old, she could name all the countries on the globe at my house. So I knew that she would be ready to appreciate Europe at a young age. My goal was to take her to a few countries where we would spend a few days and not mad-dash around, but instead spend time seeing a few things thoroughly. She is a picky eater (!!) so I also wanted her to try to appreciate the cuisine in the various countries we would visit (and she did - she was a sport and tried many things that she probably wouldn't have tried at home). We finally decided to go to Rome and Paris in addition to Salzburg. Our trip was 2 weeks, so I didn't think we could do justice to any additional locations.

We traveled light since we would be using trains once we were in Europe - we each had one roller bag and a tote-type bag.

I've been to Europe a number of times, but had only been to Rome once and had not been to Salzburg. I've been to Paris about 8 times previously.

I was up until about 3 am (and up at 5 am to pack) getting work done that needed to be done before we left. I am a consultant and I had pending reports, etc. that had to be completed - in any event, I was tired, but ready. I drove to my daughter's house to leave my car there, and then my daughter, my son-in-law and Summer and her brother John Thomas were to take us to the airport. on a Saturday morning.

We stopped at a Starbucks to get coffee (the airport we were leaving from was about 1.5 hours away from my daughter's house). We arrived at the airport in plenty of time before our flight.

Unfortunately, once we arrived at the airport, we discovered that Summer had left her purse at Starbucks. To make a long story short, in spite of her dad making a heroic effort to retrieve the purse and get back to the airport in time to catch our flight to Chicago, he didn't - and you guessed it - we didn't get to leave for our trip until the following day. Needless to say, we were a sad group - Summer was crying, I was really ticked off, etc. I managed to get a grip on myself and because I travel so frequently on American Airlines, they rebooked us for the next morning from LAX (and didn't charge me a dime - thanks American!). My daughter and son-in-law dropped us off at an airport hotel by LAX before noon, Summer and I checked in and we were left alone. In retrospect, even though this wasn't a very auspicious beginning to our trip, I was so exhaused that it was probably just as well, because we had a nap, a wonderful dinner, went to bed early and got to the airport - and were even upgraded on our flight. So-we decided to forget it and agreed that someday we would probably laugh about it (which we have already done).

The rest of the flight was uneventful.

We spent 4 nights in Rome (that is where we lost a day), 4 in Salzburg and 5 in Paris. I introduced Summer to Fodor's when we were in Rome (if you are reading this Ira, she got a big kick out of your light bulb - and I told her you recommended the hotel we would be staying at in Paris). One of the requirements of the trip was that she was a report about the trip and I told her that I would post it. She didn't think that anyone would be interested in reading her report, but I thought that you might so I'll proceed to post it. in an ensuing message.

Our trip was wonderful - it was great having two weeks to spend with a granddaughter that I love so much and helping help to see and appreciate a much bigger world. Summer is now talking about spending a year or two of college in Rome (she wants to learn to speak Italian and she is very interested in history).
Lynn_Gibson is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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SUMMER'S REPORT (I'LL MAKE COMMENTS IN CAPS) Hello everyone! My name is Summer and I just went to Europe. Iím 11 years old and my Grandma Vicki took me on a special trip thatís been planned for about 7 years. After going through security we got on our plane to J.F.K. Airport. What a long flight! After getting to New York we managed to get in a quick message to my Mom. On we went to Rome airport, (tip for excited children: Catch a few winks on the airplane or youíll be sorry). After a sleepless night we arrived in Rome airport. We got our passport checked and we were off. Luckily my grandma had called ahead of time and had arranged a ride. After the ride to the hotel which I spent dozing on and off, we arrived at the Daphne Inn. A nice staff worker helped us with our bags up three flights of stairs where we went through the breakfast room and arrived at our room. Before I laid down to pass out my Grandma suggested eating breakfast. After filling myself with pastries it was ciao for the afternoon. After waking up at 2:00 pm we went sight seeing, but not for too long. We had a nice dinner and we went to bed. We woke up refreshed and renewed and roaringí to go. We found a tour bus recommended by a friend and went all over Rome. I saw the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, and many more exciting things. We saw the Pantheon for about 1 minute and then I was hungry. I had great calamari and Spaghetti Bolognese. It was probably the only time I was that hungry in
Italy. As we came up the three flights of stairs I have a feeling me and grandma were thinking the same thing ďI need to sit.Ē I tried to get in a little reading, but I knew it was useless. I needed sleep. The next day was some what the same but, there is no identical day in Rome. I walked more that day because we were trying to find the Vatican and go hopelessly lost. By some miracle there was a cab waiting that took us on a street close to it. I enjoyed having a small dish of seafood with pasta. When you get in line at the Vatican donít drop anything or itís gone forever. After we got in we saw the tombs of the popes. Also there in the tombs is the body of St. Peter. I was exhausted after the walk so we saw the Michelangelo sculpture La Pieta and got on our bus to get back to the hotel. As it turns out it was my turn to pick dinner. I went to the first floor lobby and asked for a recommendation. I got one for a pizza place about a 10 minute walk.
It took us about 15 though because in Rome stoplights are suggestions, not the law. As it turns out it was a great meal where I was saved by the bell before I had to eat ham and honeydew. As it was our hotel was close by the Trevi Fountain we walked by it every evening. After the meal we walked up the stairs once again and climbed into our nice warm beds. Wake up Summer! We ran down to the train station and hopped on the train to Orvieto. The scary part about trains is you never know how much time your going to have to get on the train. We didnít talk much and we basically sat there and slept on and off. When we got there we climbed in a cab and went up to the actual hill town. We went to all these shops where I got a lot of gifts for relatives. We also had a great time when we ate at this restaurant where I had the best spaghetti ever. It was lots of fun when we went into the church and saw all the historical artifacts. It was beautiful. In mid-afternoon we left and saw our last look at Orvieto. We went back to the hotel for our last afternoon and evening in Rome. We went to dinner and met two people at the next table and had a nice talk with them at the end of dinner we walked up the stairs to our room for the last time. As we packed our bags partially I thought of everything we did in Italy and what was to come. Finally I went to sleep. Ding, Ding, Ding! Oh my gosh were late. As we scrambled around to finish packing we knew the clock was ticking. We went as fast as we could down those steps with our luggage (note from Grandma Ė we packed light, thank God!). There we were in the piazza looking for a cab. We found some on the street and got in one. When we arrived at the train station we ran to our loading stop. The train was late!! We jumped on the train luggage and all and made it to our first class box. Relieved to be on our way Salzburg we sat down and quietly ate some breakfast the hotel had packed for us. After a little bit I conked and didnít wake up for an hour. We had a long way to go. I loved going to the dining car and buying food for my grandma and me. We had a great time on the train just looking out the window. I had brought my MP3 player to Europe and listened to it on the trains a lot. I had a nice black bag that held a lot of entertaining things in it. I had Books, a Magnetic kit, and more. Talk about prepared! Our only major switch from one train to another was in Innsbruck which was nice. Austrian trains are much more on time then Italian trains. We got on and off train in perfect time we arrived at Salzburg train station in the early evening. It was not as hot as Italy was which a nice change. Tired we once again got in a cab and drove off to our hotel Weisse Taube. The desk worker showed us to our room on the first floor. We climbed into the elevator with our luggage while she walked up the stairs. We went into our room and sat on the bed. We discussed where we wanted to eat. Funny enough there was a little Italian restaurant next door. I had some pizza while Grandma had a plate of vegetables with parmesan cheese on top. When we were done we went back into our hotel room and I took a bath. The room was really nice with a mini-fridge with cokes, lots of storage, and a TV. At night I started reading a book to Grandma that she would listen to until she was just too tired. When we woke up the sky was blue and it was a new day. We looked around and saw lots of things. We went around town and saw a whole bunch of shops from a-z. I never expected Austria to be as cold as it was so while there my Grandma had to buy me a jacket. During our trip we visited the fortress, Mozartís house, and a lake town called Mondsee. It rained one afternoon and evening while we were there, but not much and it didnít spoil any of our sight-seeing. We ate at great restaurants and went on the Sound of Music tour. It was so much fun seeing where they filmed the movie. We saw the houses, Churches, and our tour guide was hilarious. We didnít spend a lot of time in Salzburg but it was still great. We once again got in a cab and went back to the train station and blew a kiss to Salzburg. We were on a train again only this time we made a two hour pit stop in Zurich. I ate a tuna sandwich with a little bit to much mayo if you ask me. Soon we were in Paris where I saw the beautiful Eiffel tower. We stayed at the Hotel Bonaparte in Paris. I had amazing meals there including fish, steak, fries, and desserts. Once again we took a tour bus around the city. I saw beautiful sights including Place De La Concorde, parks, Notre Dame, and many more. I even went to Giverney and saw Monetís house and gardens. I took a whole bunch of pictures there of the lily pond. Finally on our last day (Bastille Day) we went to the Palace de Versailles where my favorite princess (Marie Antoinette) lived and played. I loved the palace and the Petite Trianon but my favorite places were the gardens, the Grand Trianon and the queens play area (Le Hameau). They were so beautiful that I didnít want to leave. We left around 2:00 pm because I had about 7 blisters on my feet by then. When we got back to the hotel I filled the tub with cold water and went swimming. It was fun laying out on a towel in my bathing suit in a hotel room. We packed everything for the last time and made sure everything was all secured. We climbed into a airport shuttle and we went to the airport early the next morning. We went through security and rode all the way to Dallas Airport. We went through customs and security and then we ate. We finally made it back home with gifts and all and we rode off into the night in my momís car. Thatís my story and I hope youíve enjoyed it.
Lynn_Gibson is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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I didn't make any comments in Summer's report - but wanted to let you know what it was really interesting to me to see what she enjoyed doing. We didn't sleep very late - we were usually up by 7 or 8 am. Summer enjoyed having leisurely breakfasts, lunches and dinners and I was surprised that she enjoyed having dinner between 8 and 10 pm in the evening. We would usually be out and about most of the day, come back to our room and rest and get cleaned up and then proceed out to for a late dinner.

We walked a lot and thus were able to eat (and I could drink) whatever we wanted. I ended up losing about 8 pounds on the trip and Summer lost a couple of pounds as well. Note - we were not trying to lose weight (I certainly didn't mind, however) and I ate whatever I wanted, including dessert. It was the exercise that did it.

I have traveled to Paris a number of times, but never went to the top of the Eiffel tower until this trip, and surprisingly enjoyed it very much (despite the long wait to get to the top). I like small museums better than big ones, and was surprised by how much Summer loved the Louvre - we went there twice.

On one of our days in Salzburg we went to a lake and went swimming - which was a lot of fun. (The town was Mondsee and they had water slides, etc.). It was so much fun to just spend a day relaxing.

I'd love to take Summer on another trip, but I have five more grandchildren all waiting for their trip. One of them is talking about China - so who knows where future travels will take me?

It was great fun seeing Europe through the eyes of an 11-year old.
Lynn_Gibson is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Great report from Summer! I just wish she had used paragraphs to make it easier to read. I had to laugh about swimming in the bathtub.

I remember getting blisters in Paris. Unfortunately my room only had a shower, but I remember sitting on the toilet with my feet soaking in the bidet. (Sorry if this is TMI!)
irishface is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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ira
 
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Hi L,

Thanks for sharing.

>...and were even upgraded on our flight.

Smart GD of yours.

ira is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 03:59 PM
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Summer's report is my favorite I've read on the is board! What a great experience for you both!
sequess is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 04:29 PM
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What a delightful trip report! I'm sure Summer's first trip to Europe with her grandmother will be one she treasures for the rest of her life.

Summer is certainly a lucky grandaughter, and from her report I can tell that you are a lucky grandmother. Thanks so much for sharing with us.
lucy_d is online now  
Oct 14th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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the is = this
sequess is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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Summer wrote a wonderful report and so did you. I took my daughter to Europe when she was 12 and we had a great time. She is now 17 and has been to Europe 4 times. Summer is very lucky to have a grandma like you and you are very lucky to have a granddaughter like Summer.
hester is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Topping for those who missed Summer's delightful report!
lucy_d is online now  
Oct 16th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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What a delight!!!!
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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JN
 
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Very cool report. How exciting it must have been for you and your grandma to be able to travel to three of the world's most beautiful cities.

I have a question for Summer: Did you know that the Salzburg archbishop sought to a city that was so beautiful that it would be considered the "Rome of the North"? Do you think he succeeded?
JN is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 03:18 AM
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JN - I need to get Summer to answer this and I will. I'm out of town right now (for work) and will have her respond when I get home. I didn't know that information about the Rome of the North - but Salzburg is such a lovely city. We really enjoyed our time there.
Lynn_Gibson is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 03:58 AM
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I loved reading about your trip to Europe with your granddaughter.
She was obviously very interested and enjoyed the trip . What memories you have given her!

WE will be taking our three granddaughters
next end of July into Paris and Bruge for a week. The parents will then meet us in Amsterdam and we will all continue for another 2 weeks. We are so excited about this .

Again, thank you for sharing and thank your granddaughter for her sharing, which I might add ----she did so well .
merrytimes is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 04:37 AM
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Thanks so much for posting Summer's trip report. It was nice to see her point of view.

We are bringing our 11 year old grandson to Europe for an extended spring break next March. Last night we sat down and watched all the Rick Steves DVD's that cover the cities we're visiting, Normandy, Paris, Rome and Venice, with our grandson.

He was picking out the things he wanted to see, and those he could pass on.

I notice food was very important to Summer! It is a small concern of mine, but he noticed the huge piles of french fries on plates and was happy with those!

Thanks again for posting!
Images2 is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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Super report Summer! Your report appeals to me greatly because I too enjoy dining at leisure more than any other activity when I'm traveling. Sounds like the two of you had a very memorable time. Thanks for sharing!
Katie_H is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 06:26 PM
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Summer - I really enjoyed your trip report. You are right about the traffic rules/laws in Rome just being a suggestion! Happy travels!
kybourbon is online now  
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