Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grand European Road Trip!

We road tripped our way from Paris to Sweden, hitting a whole handful of countries in a small handful of days. I have to give my kids some serious credit - they are amazing on long journeys. And because of that, we had a delightful time. 

Here are a few photo highlights of our Grand European Road Trip


This city was just as great as the movie In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes. (which is, in my opinion, a great movie)


I'm just going to go on and admit that I wasn't too big a fan of Amsterdam. It was lovely, yeah, I'll give it that. And swarming with stoned college kids, which can sometimes be very entertaining...

But THE BICYCLES! I figured, as a non-driver, I'd love a city in which everyone rides cute little bikes with cute little baskets and panniers filled with groceries and such. But being a mom, walking around with two kids in a world where people riding bicycles have the right of way and live in La La Land while they ride - lemme just say, we were all nearly killed a thousand times. 

The Anne Frank house was the highlight for me, although several times I had to find dark corners to ugly-cry where people wouldn't see me. The Diary of Anne Frank inspired my diary-writing days, from seventh grade through high school (though the fact that I only ever wrote silly, shallow stuffs about boys always caused me to rip my diaries apart and throw them away in embarrassment). Being there reminded me of myself as a young wannabe novelist, and it was incredibly moving. But as a mom with two dreamy, creative, and smart daughters, not that much younger than Anne when she lived behind the bookshelf, I was moved a million times over. 

I went there kid-free, and when I was done, Gracie cheerfully chirped, "Did you just have the best time EVER at the Anne Frank house!?!" I had to answer by hugging and hugging my girls - no words, because I was very close to another round of ugly-crying. 


Which I don't really have pictures of, except this one with Annelie, on the ferry to Denmark. 

We weren't in Germany longer than a day of driving, and only stopped a few times to stretch our legs at rest stops.  But Gracie was wow'd. When I told her we were in Germany, she blinked. 

GRACIE [eyes wide]:  We're in the real Germany?

ME: Yup. The real Germany.

GRACIE [shakes head slowly]: No, but I mean, GERMANY Germany?

ME: Yes, Gracie. Germany. 


ME: Yep, that one. 

GRACIE [shakes head firmly]: No, we're not. 

ME [sighing]: I give up.

Eventually it sunk in. We stopped at a rest stop and Gracie played with a little German baby and was delighted. Especially when the baby - who had just been in Spain with her family on holiday - said, "Hola!" 

Now Gracie is convinced that the national language of Germany is Spanish. 


My new favorite city! 

Hans Christian Anderson!

We didn't have long to spend in Copenhagen, but I will definitely plan a trip to this city again. I loved it! My pictures don't even begin to capture how cool this city is. The modern section reminded me of the fun, artsy parts of San Francisco (my old stomping ground, of which I will always be partial), and the historic section flashed me back to my years of reading Hans Christian Anderson tales (my fave!) - with my aunt, when I was small, and with my kids as I've grown. 

But the highlight for me - the Little Mermaid statue, looking out over the Copenhagen harbor! This statue is like Mecca for the mermaid obsessed. I had a children's atlas when I was a kid, and the page on Denmark was my favorite, because of this statue. 

My own little mermaids loved Copenhagen, as well!

And that concludes the road trip portion of our Grand Eurpean Adventure! Now we're in Sweden, and in Sweden we will stay for two weeks longer - then it's back to our home sweet home.



Krystalyn Drown said...

Oh, I love seeing pictures of your trip. It looks so amazing!

Alyssa S. said...

Nearly run down by stoned Dutch bike riders. Awesome! SO infinitely jealous that you saw THE Little Mermaid (statue that is). And I want some Belgian chocolate. And some Swiss stuff too :) I love German babies who speak Spanish...hee hee

Julie Dao said...

The Little Mermaid statue is SO BEAUTIFUL. I would have ugly-cried with you so many times at the Anne Frank house. So glad your adventure was as amazing as it looks in your pictures!

mshatch said...

what fun pictures! Your girls are so lucky :)

Lindsey Hoskinson said...

Marisa, I have SO enjoyed reading about your adventures on your trip- what a fantastic opportunity for you and your girls. So jealous!

Sharon Lesicko said...

Awesome Marisa, - I felt the same way about the Anne Frank house, and I can't believe you remember the fairy tales. I'm touched. What a great adventure for you and the girls. bye

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