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Thoughts on Travel through Europe

We've been to Europe twice in the last four years and are planning to visit eastern Europe next spring. For those of you who have never been, I'd like to explain why.

America has some of the most spectacular scenic spots on the planet: Yosemite, Lake Powell, Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde and the California Redwoods. Many of these places are in my backyard so we get to them on long weekends; others are on our list to visit again when time allows. If you have children, trips to those spots of great beauty and to the historical centers of the country will give them lifelong memories while teaching them about the land we live in.

But we have hit the time in our lives when we realize that physical strength has its limits and long flights will become harder to endure and long walks will make the joints hurt a little bit more. We see a time not too far down the road when we will be travelling much like we did when our children were little: making time for afternoon naps and getting to bed shortly after sunset. So while we still have the strength to stroll through the towns of Europe and enjoy foreign travel, we will.

Our experiences in Europe have been amazing. Our first trip was designed for us to bond with our oldest son who was studying in Germany. It became our second honeymoon. My greatest desire was to spend a day watching the sunlight bounce through the stained glass windows of Chartres but as I sift through the fondest memories of the trip, it was Mt. Saint Michel, the Dordogne and Venice that had the most visceral impact. The time was so much better than I anticipated: the food was tastier, the conversations more jovial and the experience more life-changing than I could have predicted.

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