a mothers and daughters' trip to remember

Surreal sums up a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip that me, a longtime close friend, and one daughter each, embarked on in the early summer days to France and Italy. A total of 18 travel days to Paris, Nice, Florence and Rome. None of us could have asked for better travel companions outside of family. Robin was our fashion and shopping guide, while Anne Lois and I translated menus and maps. We all pushed through language barriers together. I’d do it all over again (but would pack even lighter)- and now dream that there will be a next time.

A few highlights: a shopping day in the Marais in Paris with an airbnb hired stylist, top of Eiffel Tower sunset with champagne, a return to our Travel School Project apartment in Nice, taking Robin grocery shopping with a rolling cart in Nice, eating Indian food in France, Elizabeth and Anne Lois getting sunburned on the pebbled mediterranean beach, a train ride to Florence and then pulling rolling suitcases over the cobblestones to our apartment, frequenting Artiganale daily for coffees and G&Ts, eating street sandwiches on the curb with pigeons, waiting to see David, getting car sick on the roads through Tuscany, meeting up with Carla in Rome for guided tours, a group sunset and dinner bike ride through Rome and throwing coins over our shoulders into the Trevi fountain!

As a photographer, one can feel naked without a camera. Of course, I packed my “big girl” camera, but quickly realized that I didn’t want to carry it around all day. I had already traveled to our places multiple times before and this time, it was time to just soak up friendship, laughter and adventure. I did overuse my iPhone camera which worked like a champ. We now have beautiful coffee table photo books to recall the trip. A mothers and daughters’ trip to always remember.

a week in lisbon, portugal

Our family unanimously voted for a spring break, one-stop destination trip for 2108. Lisbon was the winner!

Each of us knew that we were headed in various directions for the summer, so we took advantage of a chunk of time to visit a major city in Europe. Lisbon had been on our radar after hearing several favorable first hand reports. Excitedly, we secured an apartment off of VRBO that had a city central location, a knock-your-socks-off view and enjoyable outdoor space. We choose to balance sightseeing and leisure time (maybe a bit of school work). Plus, we got smart and hired a tour guide for a couple of days- thanks to Laura Clark at Brownell Travel in Mobile, AL.

We visited the Old Quarter, Castle of Saint Jorge (which our apartment’s garden backed up to the castle wall), Bairro Alto and Belem with our assigned guide, Jorge, and driver, Samuel. We did a traditional Fado dinner one night and a walking Petiscos dinner tour another night. Later in the week, we toured Sintra and Cascais again with Jorge and Samuel.

Our kids have been raised on travels. They enjoy immersing into new cultures, trying interesting foods, and exploring world history. The trip to Lisbon including nearby towns, proved to be a perfect balance. I also have a newfound appreciation for a “staycation” vacation abroad. It’s a great opportunity to briefly live like a local and tune one’s ear to a new language. It gives the body time to relax, soak up culture, and explore new things. I’m so glad Lisbon won the family vote.