Europe, March 2019

I’m writing this not because I think anyone else’ll want to read it, but just so I have a record. My boys might one day want to read about it, too.

When I was a kid, Mom and Dad took us on a road trip from PA to Florida and back one February. I think we did this twice (or perhaps I’m remembering a different road trip, to Iowa to visit dear friends). Mom insisted that we keep a trip journal on each trip. I don’t know if that was Mom being Mom, or something the school encouraged us to do. She made us write in it every day, and I remember being kind of annoyed, because I was at that age, but I did it. I still have it, somewhere. And it turns out, she was right to insist. I’m happy to have a record of those trips.

Anyway, when Mom passed last year, a modest windfall of money came my way. And I thought, what better way to spend some of it than on a trip abroad. Other than the Bahamas (and Ross’s high-school-sponsored skip trip to Montreal) my boys haven’t been outside the country. Our vacations with them were relatively modest: the east coast beaches, or central PA. It nagged at me that we should have done more to show them the world. This seemed like the right time to make it possible.

I don’t remember how we got talking about Germany, but the boys spoke enthusiastically of the Nurburgring, about which they were very familiar owing to hours and hours watching Top Gear episodes, and also from playing racing video games. This seemed as good a destination as any to plan a trip around. Their “Bammy Rose” was a car enthusiast; the year before she died, she talked of wanting to take the boys to the Mecum Auto Auction show, which was scheduled for a stop in Harrisburg. Unfortunately, she died the week before the auction, and they never got to go.

Steve spent time in Germany in recent years – a summer in Berlin, and multiple trips working on documentaries – so with his expertise and my credit card, together we planned a trip that I am certain my mother would have approved of.

I renewed the boys’ passports in January, and we scheduled the trip over Seth and Ross’s college spring break. This meant taking Eli out of school for 6 days, much to his utter delight. We hope this doesn’t negatively impact his admission to Yale. Seriously though, there are lots of ways to learn about the world that don’t involve sitting at a desk in a classroom. I am sure all the boys learned a lot from this experience.

Read on for some details from my own trip journal and some photos… each day has its own page – there’s a drop-down menu at the top above the spoons banner.