Sounds really laissez faire and a bit hippyish for me, huh?
Well, I was 7 - almost 8. We lived in Spain. My parents decided that a family vacation was the only way to see Europe. They invited my cousin, J (she was 12 or 13), to come with us. J arrived at the airport having NO idea what trauma she was in for. Do you have any idea how small the back seat of a VW Bug is? Do you have any idea how much smaller it gets the longer you are in the back seat?? Did you know that in 1972 VW Beetles didn't have air conditioning? Now you do.
My mom was pregnant with Auntie Bug - she was due in December. We left Spain and headed for Andorra. It was beautiful and we met some really nice people. Then we went off to France. I saw my first ever nudie beach. Mom wasn't happy about that, but I don't think Dad was too traumatized. From there it was Switzerland and Italy. That's a long way in a VW Bug with your cousin and no A/C.
My cousin will tell you that all we did was look for dolls from all the countries we visited. She lies! We did that and more. We did all kinds of neat stuff. We took a gondola ride in Venice, we saw the leaning tower of Pisa, we played in the snow in Switzerland, we ate a TON of chocolate, we saw the countryside. We saw the mountains. We saw the sea. We went to zoos and museums. We ATE like PIGS!!!
Our favorite breakfast was in France. We must have eaten at least a dozen each. We thought they came with breakfast because the waitress kept bringing more and more. She brought them so we ate 'em. Oh... I can almost taste their buttery goodness now... ahhh... Oh, yes. ahem... We went to pay the bill and they asked us how many we had eaten. Excuse moi? We all looked at each other and shrugged. To this day, we aren't sure how many we ate. We certainly didn't count! We just ate! We took a wild guess. Daddy paid and we took off! We still laugh about how many we ate!
Switzerland was the best - they had the fluffiest beds, chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and SNOW in the middle of July! I got a cucoo clock in Switzerland. It hangs on my living room wall. I smile every time I see it. It doesn't cucoo any more - it needs a good overhaul - but it brings me joy to see it there. I also got a gold cucoo clock and a gold chalet for my charm bracelet. I wanted a real chalet, but I had to settle for that one. It seems I don't come from a wealthy family... nor do I come from a family that just buys chalets because the little girl wants one. Bummer.
Italy was okay. There were a gazillion pigeons everywhere - eew. Venice, although very interesting, was very hot and very smelly. The art was phenomenal. We saw the bronze doors in Florence. We saw paintings and statues and all kinds of neat stuff. Basically, we saw it all! It was really hot in Italy that summer. We ate a lot of gelato. The food in Italy was yummy! The food made up for the pigeons and the smell.
We drove and drove. The more places we went, the more stuffed our VW Bug became. We would get local bread and cheeses for lunch as we passed through little towns. It was really quite an adventure!! Our car was a celebrity - it was yellow with MA plates. It was cute and different and everyone loved it. (Sure, they weren't crammed in it with their cousin all day!)
Yes, J and I still speak - amazingly enough. I'd even say we are still friends! We laugh about the "stupid dolls" and about how we got in "big trouble" for jumping on the beds in Switzerland. If I could do it again, I would, but I'd do it in a VW BUS with air conditioning!
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