Traveling around Europe as a family and roaming the back roads slowly, finding delights along the way, is one of our greatest joys. Late May or early June is the perfect time to start a road trip around Europe beginning from deep southern Spain as it heats up and heading north. If you want eternal spring or endless summer, then it is important to follow the weather as you explore Europe, as perfect weather makes a trip a lot more fun. Summer comes very early to southern Spain, but even as far as south as Provence and Barcelona, it will be cooler and usually having more rain even in May.
Due to my injury last year and long recovery, I was more confined than usual this past winter in Spain, so I can not tell you how my heart sings to be "heading out on the highway, looking for adventure" once again. I'm always happiest when we are traveling and love the thrill of the new. I love it that we are unplugged more and out in nature more. I love the rhythm of the road that makes me feel more alive. It IS more of a challenge in many ways, but the simplicity suits me and it feels like a permanent family vacation and sweet summertime sensibilities!
I'm still recovering, so this year will be slower than usual, but that is fine, because we have a very exciting year planned circumventing the globe. Actually, I'm still planning it as we go, as we are lucky to be able to follow our bliss. So far we have been to Granada, our favorite hot springs and Barcelona. This is our ninth time to Barcelona and Granada and we like this campsite in Barcelona for a long-stay and the owner and regulars here treat us like old friends. We plan to explore more of the Pyrenees, Andorra, Provence and Paris, probably adding Versaille this time and Loire Valley ( we have seen, but Mozart has not). We also want to get to Lake Como in Italy ( which we missed last year because we just couldn't leave Cinque Terre) and back to Switzerland to explore the Alps there. I still want to explore Mallorca, Corsica and Sardinia, but they may have to wait until next year to do them justice.
It was hot when we left, so we were surprised to see so much snow on the Sierra Nevada mountain range near Granada in June!. It felt great to soak in the cool pool and gaze at the snow peaks. I love absorbing the beauty as we roam, from castles to wild flowers, to distant farms that look like earth's quilt to turquoise lakes. I wonder about the people and villages we past and sometimes imagine what it would be like to live in some of the homes that are out in the middle of no where. We gab, sing, read, play games as we go and sometimes just sit in silence. Mozart usually likes to take a long nap which makes the trip go faster for her. She puts her snacks and books under her pillow and has long mastered the art of sleeping with her seat belt on.
We'll see more of cities as we go with their great cultural advantages, but I think it is rural areas and little villages that I love most about Europe. Our summer 2010 Grand Tour is off to a great start! Hope you enjoy the photos! These are just a few of the reasons why slow travel and overland makes for a special Grand Tour of Europe.