It started with an invitation to experience a riverboat cruise in France.

It’s been almost a decade since the last time we cruised a river — a sailing down the Rhine with Viking River cruises – and I was understandably curious about what we might see.

So on Thursday morning, we boarded Vantage Deluxe World Travel‘s MS River Venture for a Seine River cruise, with stops in Paris and Normandy. We’re not the biggest cruise fans, but in the past we’ve made exceptions for Disney Cruise Lines and the NCL Nickelodeon cruise and, of course, the Viking adventure in Germany and Austria. We’re happy we did.

But we won’t stop there. We figured that since we’re in Europe already, we might as well add a few days to our itinerary.

So, from Paris, we’ll grab a Hertz rental car then motor into the French countryside where we will be staying in a Parisian suburb for a day or two before heading to a vineyard cottage in Alsace with Vacations Abroad.

Our target area is the region in France along the French-German border.

Then, we’re off to Germany where will be staying at the guesthouse Schwarzwaldhof Susanna in the Black Forest area for a few more days. Among the highlights: a trip to a the largest cuckoo clock in the country. Who knew timepieces could be so interesting?

From there, we’ll cross Switzerland in our 4-wheel drive Hertz car to the Faloria Mountain Spa Resort in the Italian alpine village of Cortina D’Ampezzo. Why drive through Switzerland? Ah, long story. We’ll save that one for later.

This ski resort town is part of the is part of the iconic Dolomites mountain range. There may be an opportunity to do some skiing, but mostly we are looking forward to connecting with some friends of friends and experiencing the Northern Italian Alps.

As if that’s not enough, we are then cutting across Italy to the Hotel Villa San Carlo in Cortemilia and visiting with other friends in the Italian lake country. Fortunately, we have several cameras and will be recording all of this for our new TV show, our Flickr account and for posterity.

What can we say about the Italian lake country that hasn’t already been said or expressed photographically? We’ll think of something.

Our European adventure concludes in Paris, where we will be roughing it with a stay at a Pullman hotel steps from the Eiffel Tower. I’m just kidding about roughing it. It’s one of the most luxurious properties in the city, and I’m already afraid that one of the kids will break a ming vase.

Here’s hoping they don’t.

And that’s it. Oh, did I feel to mention that we only have one week back home before the next leg of our family travel adventure, which takes us back to Utah? I may have forgotten.

See you online.

Arrivees