Hi from Rick: Family Travel Lasts Forever
|The "kid years" rush by so quickly — but family travel memories last forever.|
When our children were in grade school, their teachers agreed each May that time in Europe with their parents was a richer educational experience than a couple weeks of school. Now, a decade later, our son studies Italian and French along with drawing and photography at Notre Dame. His summer job: tour guide. Meanwhile, his sister is on pins and needles, hoping she'll be chosen for her high school's summer program in Morocco.
Their enthusiasm for our world can be traced back to French waiters sneaking the kids more deserts than we'd ordered, staying up late to play soccer on the square with new friends in Rouen, hiking on the scary tide flats surrounding Mont St. Michel, and ordering banana-and-Nutella specials from the corner crepe man. Every kid knows the Eiffel Tower...but how many can tell you about climbing its erector-set switchbacks in a wind storm, or greeting Lance Armstrong with cheering French masses under the Arc de Triomphe, or helping feed hyperactive hunting hounds at a château on the Loire? Travel etches memories forever in our minds. And travel memories gained at a young age become a cheering squad for a broader perspective and an enthusiasm for embracing our world. As parents, that's why Anne and I traded away so much European tranquility for the thrills and spills of experiencing Europe as a family.
So, I'm happy to announce in this month's Tour News that we've expanded the "family" part of our 2007 tour program to include Family Paris, Loire and Normandy in 10 Days. Our "grown-up" tours have always welcomed families with teenagers, but this tour (with a kid-at-heart assistant guide) will be open to families with kids as young as eight years old — and everybody under 18 gets a $200 discount.
If you have a chance to take your kids or grandkids to Europe independently this year, by all means do it — you'll never regret it! If you'd like a little help, we'd love to have you — and your banana-and-Nutella-eating sidekicks — enjoy a slice of Europe with us this summer.