I said it before I could stop myself. It was 1988 and I looked around the Christmas dinner table and saw the happy, contented smiles of my wife, my mother-in-law (age 67), father-in-law (age 75), and my mom (age 69), and let the ripple of their interesting conversations flow over me. The candles flickered, the Christmas tree lights gleamed, the wine flowed, and I thought “Why does this moment only happen once a year?” And then, before I had thought out what I was doing, I said, “Why don’t the five of us go to Europe together in the spring? We will rent a car and hit the best towns, have a chance to eat great food, visit cathedrals, see some museums, and live la dolce vita without any pressure.”
The seniors thought about my proposal for half a second and all three embraced my offer. My wife looked at me as though I had announced we were going to raise a herd of llamas in the attic, but she is a good sport and after a few minutes she fell into the spirit of the adventure. A European Odyssey: Traveling with Parents tells the story of not just that first European trip with our parents but the five subsequent trips that spanned sixteen years. A European Odyssey offers advice for traveling with seniors lovingly, independently, and comfortably while maintaining everyone’s sanity and nap schedule.
A European Odyssey fills a void in the travel memoir category because it approaches travel from an Adults-with-Older-Adults perspective not found in bookstores today. It features the travel-hungry son and dutiful daughter as they sincerely have fun with their older parents in familiar as well as new places throughout Europe. A European Odyssey gives the reader a view of Europe from the perspective of older travelers who often see places through a different historic lens. We successfully traveled as a family to major cities such as Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Prague and to smaller places such as Assisi, Beaune, Verona, and Zermatt. A European Odyssey will appeal to the eager world traveler as well as to the sentimental soul.
As an award-winning architect, I have traveled and worked in more than twenty countries in Europe, Asia, and North America. It was my love for travel and my ever-present wanderlust that caused me to propose the original invitation to my family at the Christmas table years ago. I loved planning each trip, each accommodation, and each daily itinerary. And I loved the experience of traveling with my extended family, as I illustrate in A European Odyssey. This chronicle is not a travel guide or a how-to book, but as the author I do share my suggestions for traveling comfortably with elders at a pace the less-than-elderly can enjoy.
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