We have been nonstop since we returned from our trip to the U.S. last month. Busy with work, busy with baby (the baptism was this past weekend…photos coming soon!) and now busy with travel. Up next: a road trip through Italy, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands (and possibly France and/or Belgium). Wowza!
We are doing a home exchange with a lovely couple from Amsterdam. To say we’re excited would be understatement of the century. We decided to drive instead of fly so that we could stop in parts of Europe we might otherwise never take time to visit. We’ll be stopping and staying overnight about every 4 hours of the drive on the way up. So far, we’re stopping in Fussen to check out the nearby castles and Bacharach for some small town Germany action.
As for the way back…no plans yet! The great thing about a home exchange is that we have a ton of flexibility. If we love Amsterdam we may end up staying there and then powering through the full drive (about 12 hours) in one day. Otherwise, the plan is to take another 2-3 days for the drive back. Maybe through France. Maybe back through Germany. We want to keep things open in case we end up seeing things along the drive up that we really want to see on the way back.
Is it wrong that I’m totally jealous of my daughter? She’s only 6 months old and already a little world traveler!
In an effort to get this recovering lady some fresh air on Saturday we went out for a nice walk through the city. As expected, it was crowded out, but the walk was still wonderful. The stroller acts as a bit of a battering ram through the tourist crowds.
I was tired by the time we got home, but mentally refreshed from the fresh air. Flus/bugs are the worst because it takes so. darn. long. to recover. I’m hoping that by Livia’s baptism this coming weekend I’ll be back to fighting form.
Wow, it’s been a crazy week. Things were going great: on Saturday I went to a really fun blogger event in the Tuscan countryside hosted by Tuscany Now (which I’ll finally be writing about early next week). Monday was super productive. Then, Tuesday hit.
Casa Hash was hit hard by a no-good, very bad stomach bug. Holy cow. Four days later and I’m only starting to recover. My poor dad got it, too. Thankfully, Rob and Livia managed to avoid it. Needless the say, however, that things have been slow going around these parts!
If there is one big cultural difference that has jumped out at me lately it’s the idea of space. As in, what constitutes having enough space for your lifestyle. It never fails that when we have friends or family visiting from the U.S. that we discuss how we will eventually grow out of this apartment. Having more kids? Apartment too small. Livia turns three? Apartment too small. Business grows? Apartment too small. You would think that we live here.
This is culturally hilarious because when our European friends are over it’s the exact opposite reaction. Quite often the conversation turns to how great our apartment is because we’ll be able to grow into it. More kids? Bunk beds. More space to lounge? Buy some outdoor furniture. I won’t generalize too much because it’s also about individual preference, but you do realize how differently cultures interpret something as simple as space.
Back when we lived in Louisville we heard a lot of the same comments about our adorable shotgun house — as soon as we started a family we would just have to move. This always baffled me because the thought of taking on more spacial responsibility with a young family seemed totally bananas.
I realize now that I’ve had a European outlook on space for quite some time. I grew up in a normal sized home and any time I’d visit “big” houses, I’d be really weirded out by unused rooms. I mean they, like, really bothered (and still bother) me. Why on earth would you want a dining room that you don’t use? Why do you have a den and a living room? As you get older you realize that different things make different people happy, but I’ve known for a while that a bigger house does not equal happiness for me.
File this post under random musings if you will, but I’ve found conversations about space particularly fascinating lately. What about my fellow North American expats here in Europe…what are your thoughts? Europeans, does the American obsession with 4,500 square foot homes drive you crazy?
We’re working on something pretty darn special over here — an amazing, luxurious, inspiring and educational lifestyle bloggers retreat this summer in the rolling hills of Tuscany. We’re in the initial planning stages, but here are some of the highlights:
4 days of blogging, creativity and technology workshops with Kate
5 nights at an exclusive, die-when-you-see-it villa in Tuscany
All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
Styling and photography lessons
Nature walks and tours
Professional photography (ahem, real deal headshots for your blog)
Design clinics and roundtables
Super intimate: only 10-12 spots available | Gals only (sorry guys!)
Seriously, y’all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime type of event we’re planning here. If you’re looking to charge (or recharge) your creative batteries than this is the event for you. No matter your industry — food, travel, home decor, wedding, parenting or general lifestyle — this event will inspire you.
Bloggers of all ages and experience levels are welcome to attend. If you’re a beginner, we can provide a list of free tutorials to get you started and ready to hit the ground running so that you are prepared for the retreat.
If you’re interested in registering for this amazing event, please enter your information below so that we can contact you as soon as specifics become available.