Regardless of my enthusiasm, I experienced nausea and deep-down-in-my-bones-exhaustion every hour of every day that we were in Berlin.
We chose to spend the last 3 weeks of our time in Europe in Poland because our bff Sherrie had told us how beautiful it was and, most importantly, how cheap it was to stay there. And indeed, Krakow was a beautiful city to spend a few weeks in. By the time we got to Poland, the leaves were already changing and my favorite season was underway. Side note, one thing I absolutely adore about the United States is our appreciation for - no, our zeal for - anything and everything pumpkin during the fall. I mean, Fall is like a holiday unto itself, with all of our supermarkets bedecked in red and orange leaf garlands; squash and squash varietals everywhere; cornucopias dotting the consumer landscape; the smell of clove, orange peel, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice permanently in the air. Unfortunately, it seems like in the rest of the world, besides the leaves changing, there is no fuss given to the grandiosity that is Fall.
- Don't pack heavy toys. A couple of Des's favorites, 1 or 2 small books, and the iPad is all we really need.
- You don't need more than 3 shoes; Billy says 2.
- Don't bring any more jewelry than what you normally, permanently wear (wedding ring, small earrings). It will get lost.
- No matter how nice your apartment is, it is more important that you enjoy living in your neighborhood. There's no point in traveling when you're more comfortable in your apartment or house than out of it.
- Stay put for at least 3 months if you can help it. Although I'm so happy we visited Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, and Poland, I think it would have been better to have stayed in Budapest longer and to have visited these places, having our apartment in Budapest as a home base.
- Make friends! Some of our favorite memories are not of the museums we went to or the restaurants where we ate; it was spending time in the homes of our new friends, sharing a meal, and getting an insight into their culture.
- Give your kids more credit. They may be inflexible in their own little ways, but they can also surprise you with their courage, their resilience, and their audacity.
You can find Part 1 (Helsinki) HERE and Part 2 (Amsterdam) HERE.