Dave & Sandy in Europe - Part Deux

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This adventure really started 40 years ago, just after we got married and I was working at ISU. I had the summer off and we made plans to tour Europe for six weeks. Now, don't get the wrong idea, we were not jet-setting first class all over the continent. No, we purchased a book by Frommer entitled, "Europe on $5 and $10 a Day," and we tried to stick to that amount. We drove to our friend's house (Jack Vetter) who was attending Syracuse University Law School. We stayed with Jack and his wife, Pam for about a week before they took us to NYC's Kennedy Airport where we boarded an Icelandic Airlines flight (they were the cheapest!) to Luxembourg, with a stop in Reykjavik. Iceland. We traveled all around Europe that summer and made it back to the States just in time to watch "Tricky Dick" Nixon resign his Presidency. I wasn't a Nixon fan. In fact, I was pretty liberal at that time of my life, but weren't we all when we were young?

I was 23 and Sandy was 21. I posted a picture of us back then. Long hair and all (on both of us!) We had first class Eurail passes and started in Luxembourg, then to Amsterdam in Holland, Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Bruges in Belgium, Paris (where we actually found a hotel for $5 a night...which included breakfast!) and Nice in France, Genoa, Pisa, Rome, Florence, Venice in Italy, Geneva, Bern, Lucerne in Switzerland, Innsbruck and Vienna in Austria and Munich, Frankfort, and Giessen in Germany. We visited Giessen because Sandy's brother had a girlfriend while stationed there in the Army. We sort of used that has home base and did excursions to other countries from there.

This trip we have lopped off Italy. That sounds like a separate trip in the future. Sandy has been preparing for this trip since she retired two years ago. She's been taking French (like six years in grade school and high school weren't enough!) and Art History where she's developed a great relationship with her teacher at Heartland Community College. She's been going around telling people she's a college coed again!

We plan on seeing some of the places we saw on our first trip and some more which have become of interest to us in recent years. We will start in Amsterdam. Sight of the start of our European River Cruise last year. And also the sight of where we fell asleep on a train and lost our brief case full of things like our passports, camera, iPhone, iPad, etc....no big deal!!! Head to Antwerp, Brussels (where we plan to have dinner with a former Redline Express Dancer, Wendy Williams Vastine and her husband. They live just outside Brussels.) Then it's Bruges, Ghent, and off to Paris for 5 days. Besides the main attractions in Paris, we plan a day trip to Normandy to view the American Cemetery and the place where the Allies invaded Europe on D-Day June 6, 70 years ago. Glad we'll be there a little earlier...could be a zoo in June. Then to the South of France, Marseilles. I want to do some Nostradamas history (he was from there) and maybe some Mary Magdalene history as well (she supposedly came to this area in France...you remember the DaVinci Code.) Actually reading a book on Mary Magdalene right now. The more I read, the more I am convinced that she was "the most beloved desciple" and Jesus intended for her to lead in his absence. (Now my daughter, the MDiv will argue that point with me, but I still believe it!)

From there we're heading north to Geneva, Switzerland. We'll be meeting up with good friends, Alex and Annie Remmers who live in Geneva. We actually bought Alex and Annie's house when they moved from Bloomngton to Pittsburgh. Sandy wanted me to make sure to ask them if we could use their washer and dryer! We're packing light this trip! Then to Interlaken, where Sandy found a great mountain train trip. Then Luceren, where Sandy and I spent a great day on Mount Pilatus overlooking Lake Lucerne one sunny summer day 40 years ago. Then Innsbruck, Austria, Munich Germany for some beer at the Hofbrahaus and a solumn trip to Dachau Concentration Camp. Then on to Rodental, Germany, home of the Hummel Factory. And finally, Berlin which is new to us. Back in the 70's it was not easy to get to as it was behind the "Iron Curtain." Then a fast train back to Amsterdam and the next day home.

I told Sandy I think the airfare over there and back this time equals about what we spent the entre six weeks in 1974. And if you think I'm kidding, we kept a journal back then (before computers allowed us to blog!) and one entry said, "Holy Crap! We blew our budget today, we spent $28!" Hotel accommodations are better this time around too.

We've been spending the past week or two getting ready and trying to think of everything we need to take. But if we forget something, as Sandy says, "That's what charge cards are for!"

Charge cards are interesting in and of themsevles. We ordered a new charge card to take with us because we read about how Europe is way ahead of us in cards. They have computer chips in their charge cards which take the place of the magnetic strips on the back. They are much more secure than the mag strips we use here. I found the Chase Saphire Preferred Card (unfortunately with an annual fee) has the computer chip in it. Good side is that this card does not charge international transaction fees.

So tonight, we are packing and worrying about what we may have forgotten! Be that as it may, we are on our way tomorrow. I'll probably send this from ATL tomorrow. We fly from BMI to ATL tomorrow afternoon and then an overnight flight to Amsterdam.

  • A Good Start to a Great Trip
  • Upon Further Review - We Are Not Going Home Today
Trip Start Apr 27, 2014
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Trip End May 17, 2014


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