What A Trip!
I am in love with France  What a beautiful country.  Mom and I had a great time and are blessed to have had the chance to meet such nice people on the tour.  I don't think I will ever stop going on Rick Steves tours.  I feel so lucky to have found this tour company at a younger age (Yes - 30 is still young).  Both trips I have been on have made me realize that it's not always the places you are visiting that make the trip, but the organization and knowledge behind the people who create the tours.  Rick Steves attracts such wonderfully open-minded individuals who are eager to meet new people and experience whatever is offered to them.  Again, it's the people who go on the Rick Steves tours that truly make them so worthwhile.

Stereo-Type of France I'm kind of an internal person and don't always show my emotions on my sleeve, so I enjoy that the French are somewhat the same.  We learned that until they have a relationship with someone they wouldn't smile at you on the street.  Completely makes sense to me!  Even William was more reserved at the beginning of the trip, but by the end he was singing French songs to us on the bus and teaching us how to 'kiss kiss'.

The French are also proud of their language and a traveler should never assume they speak English.  Someone on the street may be more willing to help you if you attempt French first.  They will then most likely realize that your French sucks and speak English in response.   A little knowledge on a culture will take you a long way when traveling.

I also fully admit that some of our wonderful experiences are due to Rick Steves 30 years of traveling and finding those restaurants and hotels that are more willing to accept tourists.  That is why the guide books are so important!
I know that I have talked lots about my new friends, but I wasn't kidding.  I consider April, Ted and Ann lifelong friends.  We became very close by the end of the tour.  I was so lucky to be able to join them at the Rick Steves Tour Reunion in January.  April drove in from Portland and picked me up at the airport to stay two nights at Ted and Ann's.  They offered us a one bedroom twin share, it was like being on a tour!  We spent the next couple of days re-living our tour, meeting up with others and sampling a possible future tour.  I can't wait to see them again.
Ted & Ann
Me & April
Fawn & Kempton
Bob & Barbara
At the reunion, I also got to see William again! It was so wonderful.  He even looked through my photobook.  And I ran into Daneila, my tour leader from 2008, she is so nice!  I tried desperately to find my friend Barb, who works for Rick Steves.  Her and her daughter were on my 2008 Europe Family tour, I thought for sure she would be there.  I asked around but no one knew where she was.  She found out from William that I had been there.  It made me sad to have missed her, but trust me it won't be my last trip to Seattle.
I got to spend so much quality time with Ted, Ann and April.  Our first night Ann made the most wonderful minestrone soup with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan and olive oil.  Served with a selection of cheeses and wine from their personal collection.  We stayed up late to talk about wine and traveling.

They even took me to 'Trader Joe's'.  All during the tour everyone kept referring to this place, but I had no idea what it was.  I am so rural that Costco is a 3 hour drive and Wal-Mart is my world market.  I had fun shopping in Trade Joe's.

On our last night we went to an authentic Italian restaurant and Fawn and Kempton were able to meet us.  It was a really nice way to end the reunion.
Thank-you so much for joining me while I remember my journey through France.  I hope you enjoyed following along as much as I did creating it.  I think everyone should take this tour.  It really is a nice variety of so many different places.  And if you can't walk 8 miles in a day, then this tour is for you.  I did it with a bummed foot.

And yes! You can eat creme brulee almost everyday...Mom did!

Special thanks to Ted, Alena and April for providing me with a few photos to include on the site.  (Sometimes your camera is not with you to capture every moment)

If anyone feels like sending me a comment or would like one of my photos, or thinks they want to travel in the future...hit the email button and send me a message.  As Rick says, 'Keep on Traveling'.
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