When I graduated from college, all I wanted was to take my dream vacation. "All" I wanted. Listen to me. It's like my dream vacation isn't much to ask for. It took me 11 years to complete my BA degree so I figured I had more than earned my dream vacation. My dream vacation was to travel around Italy. I had always been fascinated with that country for some reason. The language is beautiful, the food is my favorite, the culture is rich. What's not to love about Italy?
I got my wish. I spent a few months studying up on some basic Italian so I could get us around the country. We spent 3 weeks travelling and it was spectacular. We started in Rome, then rented a car and drove through Umbria and Tuscany, Viterbo, Greve, Pisa. Stayed a few days in Firenze and Fiesole. Then we ventured to Portovenere and wondered the Cinque Terre. We took a train to Milan for a bit of shopping then headed over to Venice to explore the waterways. We stayed in tiny little inns and ate in local favorites but strayed as far from the tourist attractions as possible. When I travel, I want to know what it's like to be of the region so I did what the Italians do and stayed where the Italians stay and ate what the Italians eat.
Shortly after our return, my husband decided he wanted to go back to college and of course his request was to take his dream vacation as a graduation celebration. His dream vacation is to travel across France. He graduated last year but we had too many other things happening to consider an international vacation at the time. Well, this year is going to be the year.
The #2 goal for the year is to travel to France.
You know what that means don't you? I get to learn to speak French. Oui! I took some francais in high school but didn't continue with it because I was more interested in espanol. Hubby took a bunch of French in high school though and always loved the language. So....we decided to relearn to speak the romance language together.
We signed ourselves up for a French 1 class at the local community college continuing education program. Class started on January 12th and will continue through mid March then we will have to see about francais deux. If all goes according to plan, we can surely make it through French 1, 2, and 3 before our trip. That should give us enough to have some elementary conversations with the locals and make our way through the country without presenting as the newest stupid americains to polute the country. I have to say that although the French have a reputation of being assholes, I absolutely love them. They're my kinda people. Kinda like New Yorkers. Love em!
We don't yet know where we want to go or what we want to do in France but we do know we need to find some great recommendations that do NOT include tourist activities. Are you French? Been to France? Do you have any kickass recommendations for us? Think hidden jems and accidental pleasant finds that no tourist would ever know to be as spectacular as it actually is. That's the kind of stuff I'm looking for.