We're nearing 100 days until departure.
Welcome to our new blog! We are a west coast, USA family who have been planning our dream vacation for over a year. This blog will serve as a place to post photos, communicate with our friends and family while on the road, and to document our much-anticipated trip.
In a nutshell, we are leaving in June for nearly seven weeks. We will be driving through Germany, France, and Belgium, our primary destinations.
Since we are travelling with young children (ages 4 & 6), we have carefully planned destinations that will hopefully fit all of our needs. We will spend a lot of time in rural areas and plan to save the large cities for a future trip.
Here are the highlights:
Munich - 3 nights
Regensburg - 3 nights
Berchtesgaden - 3 nights
Near Fussen (southern Bavaria) - 4 nights
Annecy, France - 4 nights
St. Cyprien - 6 nights
Argelès-Gazost (French Pyrenees) - 3 nights
Bordeaux - 1 night stop-over
Aubry-le-Panthou (Normandy) - 7 nights
Mont St. Michel - 1 night
Bruges, Belgium - 7 nights
Longuich, Germany (Mosel River) - 3 nights
Frankfurt - 1 night
A little more about each of our stops:
STOP 1 - Munich!
We were lucky enough to use priceline.com to score a hotel in Munich. On our first try, we got four-star accommodations for $60. Woohoo! We have used Priceline often in the US but never abroad.
While in Munich, we hope to acclimate to the time change, visit several beer gardens, and pick up our new BMW! I'm really impressed with this book:
The book even lists beer gardens that are kid-friendly! Some have pretty amazing playgrounds. We will use public transportation to get around town. I hope to spend time in the Englischer Garten and at least one big museum or palace. On our last day, we will pick up the car on the way to.....
STOP 2 - Regensburg!
We chose this location for three reasons:
1) It's not far from the Playmobil Theme Park in Nurburg.
2) It's close to the Weltenburg Abbey and Brewery. We'll take a cruise on the Danube to get there.
3) We're staying at a small brewery in Adlersberg just outside of Regensburg.
STOP 3 - Berchtesgaden
This corner of Germany is of interest because of scenery, salt mines, hiking, boating on lakes, and proximity to Salzburg. Plus we get to stay in this gorgeous B&B!
STOP 4 - Near Fussen/Weis Church southern Germany
We can't bring our princess-loving daughters to Germany without a stop near the big castles. We're staying at a family farm near the Weis Church. We have been in this region before but hope to discover some new gems: Linderhof, Ettal Monastary, hiking, swimming, etc...
STOP 5 - Annecy, France
I'm drawn to pictures of this lovely resort town on a lake. It's also close to Chamonix - the gateway to the French Aps, including the biggest one, Mt. Blanc! I hope to spend a couple days taking different lifts to scenic wonders. We'll also be sure to rent bicycles, eat fondue, and find an acropark. Acroparks are all over France and usually include treetop walks, zip lines, and other adventures! The hotel where we're staying has a piano in the lobby. I'm hoping they'll let me play a bit!
STOP 6 - St. Cyprien, France (Dordogne Region)
This will be our first long stop - six nights. We're staying at a B&B out in the country that has close access to a water park, castles, canoeing, prehistoric caves (we already have one reserved!), and great food/wine. I'm especially eager to explore this region.
STOP 7 - Argelès-Gazost, France (Near Lourdes in the Pyrenees)
This stop is especially important for my DH because he'll see the Tour de France in the mountains! While he does this, the kids and I will explore the region. I have information about a monkey mountain park (apparently, the monkeys just roam around), another acropark, as well as swimming opportunities.
STOP 8 - Normandy, France
We're spending an entire week in an adorable little cottage. This was the first accommodation we booked over a year in advance! The rural cottage even has a pool. We look forward to exploring WWII sites, cute villages (Honfleur to name one), and delicious food (mmmm, cheese!). We'll also stop one night near Mont St. Michel - something I've always wanted to see.
STOP 9 - Farm near Bruges, Belgium
This will be another weeklong stay. We booked this one very early as well. It's extremely kid-friendly with its shed filled with bikes, game room, friendly animals, and outdoor play area. We look forward to exploring Ghent, Bruges, the seaside, countryside, and searching for some of the world's most sought after beers!
STOP 10 - Longuich, Germany (Mosel River)
My dad actually stayed at this little winery/B&B a few years ago and highly recommended that we give it a try. This is near the end of our stay so we'll be in a mellow mode. The exception is DH's plan to drive the Nürburgring Nordschleife Touristenfahrten! The kids and I will take a boat on the river, check out more castles, and bike a bit.
Lastly, we'll head to Frankfurt for a night where we hope to visit with family and fly home!
That's the longer version of our itinerary. You should see my three-ring notebook and stack of guidebooks! Can you tell I'm excited?