Now that I’ve had time to cogitate a bit on our travels, I’ve come to appreciate a few of the lessons we learned along the way. The first and most important is: Flexibility. A mom and two grown daughters, traveling around Europe with just backpacks, we were bound to encounter a few unexpected snags. But for the most part, we were willing to roll with the punches (not that there were many of them, really) and adapt to whatever fate threw our way. This ranged from Dawn brushing her teeth in the bidet in our convent room in Rome because Bethany was using the sink for laundry, to eating take-out Chinese our last night in Ireland because we waited too long to get to town and all the pubs had closed their kitchens. All part of the adventure!
Another lesson (and small triumph!): enough walking can more than make up for LOTS of ice cream (and fish & chips, and Guinness, and croissants…) I was delighted–and very surprised–to discover on my return that I hadn’t gained any weight at all, after two weeks of decadent eating. The walking is the only explanation, since I’m sure I must have been consuming roughly twice my normal quota of calories. In fact, I actually lost a pound (since rediscovered, alas).
Finally (for this post–I’ll post other lessons as I think of them), it really is possible for three women to get along for two weeks without killing each other, even when you’re talking two sisters and their mother and more than one case of PMS along the way. We committed to regular attitude adjustments, so if any one of us started getting cranky (this was most common if we made the mistake of getting hungry), at least one of us would speak up and say, “Hey, this is an adventure, remember? We’re in freaking EUROPE! To eat ICE CREAM!” Amazing how that reminder could turn a frown upside down.
Next: our picks for Top Three Ice Cream spots on this trip!