I was not originally going to share this quite yet, because I don’t want to “tempt the fates” and all of that….but then I decided… You know what, Universe? I’m not playing your games anymore. I’m confident that things are going to work out this time, in my favor.
So, I’m going to say it out loud, now that it’s official:
We booked flights to Europe yesterday!!!
If you’ve been reading the blog a while, you’ll know that we had an epic Ireland-Paris-Amsterdam trip planned for March 2020. To be precise, March 12, 2020. The travel bans (not to mention the global explosion of covid) basically all hit the fan in the U.S. on March 11. I won’t rehash all the gory details of that insane week- the massive headaches, confusion, worry, financial loss, stress, AND immense disappointment that accompanied cancelling our trip, very last minute, after months and months of planning.
We then rescheduled for August 2020, because that was months away, so clearly this “covid” thing would be long gone by then… 🙄
Anyway! I think the time has FINALLY come where this can be possible. The Omicron wave has already peaked and fallen drastically in Ireland, things are basically fully back open and everyone is vaccinated/boosted/ etc. in our group.
It won’t be an identical trip to the one planned in 2020. (We were supposed to do a week in Ireland at my sister’s house, then Paris/ Amsterdam with my parents (with my sister and oldest niece joining us for the Paris part)). Well, this niece is, of course, now 2 years older- and in school now! And for some other reasons as well, the timing just wouldn’t work to do that with them this time. So we are going to save Paris/ Amsterdam for another time.
The main focus of the trip is to see my sister/husband/ their 3 kids + let the boys and Ivan (who have never been there) see and explore western Ireland, where my sister lives. The kids are EXCITED with a capital E. Like, SO EXCITED!!!!! My nieces (6 and 4) are also absolutely thrilled and cannot WAIT to see their older cousins, and it’s so cute. My parents will be over there too at the same time, so it will be a whole family affair!
I made this little countdown for my nieces and emailed it to them…I thought they’d have fun X-ing off the days:
Then, after the first week in Ireland, my parents + the 4 of us will do a little offshoot trip, kind of “on our way home”, if you will (except it’s in the opposite direction 😆) to Dublin and then Rome! (I’ve been to Ireland twice but have never actually spent any time in Dublin! And of course the boys/Ivan haven’t, either.)
The Rome part ended up being Ethan’s choice. Since we decided Paris was off the table, we were trying to pick another reasonable destination that we could tack on, given that we are already paying for flights across the ocean. Ethan is already 13 1/2 and we feel like our time to travel with him (while he’s living under our roof, anyway) is getting shorter by the second…..😭 We are feeling this strong URGE to just soak up every bit of travel with them that we can.
So, we asked him, just to see what he would say, “Ethan, if you could go anywhere for a few days, where would you want to go?” And he said, “Well, I think….New Zealand? Or maybe New Zealand AND Australia?”
😂 We laughed and were like, “Okay, let us re-phrase that. Where, on continental Europe, within a reasonably short/ practical flight from Ireland, would you want to go?”
To that, he answered- Greece. Or Rome. (He is really into Greek and Roman mythology and history stuff and has read A LOT about those topics…so this didn’t really surprise me.) We looked briefly into Greece but it looked extra expensive and flights were weird/complicated for our dates. So we settled on ROME!!
Ivan and I already went to Rome on our big 10th anniversary Europe trip in 2017, but that’s okay. I think Rome is actually a perfect choice! It’s exciting, it’s famous, it’s historical (obviously) and it’s big- but yet it is extremely walkable and I think very “do-able” (for the highlights, at least) in just a few days. Plus, the boys have heard of/ know about the major sites- the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican/ St. Peter’s Basilica/ the Sistine Chapel, etc. (There are some places in Europe that I’m sure are amazing, of course, but wouldn’t really mean much to the boys if they don’t know the history at all yet or aren’t as “famous”.)
We will be going over the boys’ spring break in March, plus taking them out of school for about another week to stretch the time. Fortunately, their school has always been very supportive of parents taking their kids out for travel experiences- besides, the kids will probably learn more experiencing Ireland/ Italy that week than they would in a text book. AND- they go to a Catholic school, so if we could get a pic of the Pope, that’d be a pretty sweet souvenir. 😉 (He does Papal Audience on Wednesdays, and we will be in Rome on a Wednesday!! His March calendar isn’t out yet, though, so I don’t know if he’ll be in residence in the Vatican on our Wednesday or not.)
So that’s my news!! I’m so excited, as you can maybe tell by my big word dump above. 🙂 This trip will be almost 2 years to the day from when our original one was cancelled.
Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 26:
Name a person in the past you are grateful for:
I am grateful for my very first Spanish teacher! I actually didn’t study Spanish until my freshman year of college, after taking French in high school. My first semester Spanish 101 teacher was this adorable young woman from Argentina, who didn’t speak a lick of English. It was sink or swim!! She just really inspired me to go for it with learning Spanish and kind of kickstarted my whole interest in the language. I ended up double majoring in Spanish (with my Nursing degree) and I think back on her often.