Monday, November 25

Fall 2019 Day 35 FINAL DAY

We left Sicily and made it to Paris. That was an adventure!  Sicily is amazing, but, organization is not a strong suit. Our flight back from Catania to Paris was insane!  There was absolutely
No rhyme or reason as to where people were standing waiting for their gates. Everyone was in line at each gate but no gates were announced so where do you stand?  Once that disaster was solved, we got on the plane about an hour late. Then we had to wait like an hour because one guy couldn’t board because he left his passport in his checked bag, so they went digging through the bags on the plane to find his bag so he could get his Passport and board. That took about an hour. We were all so happy to see him when he got onboard!  As he was getting settled a guy walks up to the stewardess and tell her that he left his Lithium battery in his bag that he checked. Well, he pilot isn’t going to take off knowing that is the case, because, god forbid something happens, he would get blamed for not doing anything about that. So, the plane was delayed another half hour while they just got his bag and brought it on board. They weren’t about to look through it at that point. Finally, we left and had a lovely flight from there to Paris. We got off the plane and went to our hotel that is in the airport. It’s a nice hotel!  It’s always nice to end your trip in a kinda fancy hotel!  We have club access and a gorgeous room and we don’t have to go to the airport tomorrow because we are already here!  It always makes me reflect on how lucky we are to be able to experience the world like Emily
And I do. Everybody needs a little adventure in their life. Seeing other cultures makes us better citizens of the world. Seeing how similar we all are and how we all want for the same things is a reminder that there is a bigger picture than the laser focus we have right now in America. That’s really refreshing because it feels smothering at times. No matter what you believe or who you support, the constant drone of arguing and fighting isn’t good for anyone. It really is all about living a good life. Being with the people you love, eating well, drinking great wine, eating great cheese and being happy. The other stuff just makes us lose focus on those things. In Europe, they work less hours than us, although that’s starting to change, they seem to always have the things they need and the ability to eat good meals and enjoy their families. We hyper-focus on ourselves and can’t see the bigger picture. We only have one life!  Enjoy it!  Even if you love your job, like we do, working all the time isn’t the way anyone would choose to live their life. Travel!!  Emily and I started our little tour company as a way to show people how easy it is to have the trip of a lifetime. We offer trips that are customizable for way cheaper than you’d ever imagine. And they don’t feel like it!  We stay in nice apartments, in great areas and in great cities!  As you’ve seen, we eat WELL!  We have wine with every meal, good wine!  We see all the amazing sights and so many that you’ve never imagined. We have friends everywhere we go that we have built relationships over the years. They help make the experiences we can offer extra special and still keep the prices reasonable. Don’t wait until it’s too late to truly enjoy our trips. They definitely make you exert yourself. We do a ton of walking, you have to in Europe, especially with all the food we eat. We use public transportation as often as possible, but even so, it’s a ton of walking, 8-10 miles a day most days. But you will go to bed happy and wake up excited to see what’s next!  Unlike most tours, we don’t RUN RUN RUN!  We wake up later, most days, we rest in the afternoons and we try and adjust to the needs of who we are with as best as possible. But we also feel that it’s important that we give you the best tour possible as well!  I hope that any of you who are curious about traveling abroad or travel vicariously through us will think about coming with us some day!  I promise, it’ll change your life!  As our trip comes to an end, I want to thank you all again for caring enough to pay attention to my little blog!  It really has been an amazing journey. I tried to post a video of a best of slideshow but there’s so much it wouldn’t let me! LOL It was 5 weeks ago today we landed in Paris and took the train to Lyon to start it all. It didn’t go amazingly smooth, but that’s travel. It’s not how you start, or how you finish, but all the memories you create in between and this has been as good as it gets!  From Lyon to Beaune to Paris to Avignon back to Paris to Rome to Catania to Syracuse to Agrigento back to Catania and back to Paris what a journey!  Come on in to the store so we can talk all about it!  I always say, a trip never really ends as long as you keep talking about it. That’s really the main reason I write this blog, so all of you can talk to me about the journey but more importantly, so we can relive it any time we want!  I have years of blogs on here now that I can easily access and live those days over and over again. On those long cold snowy days in the winter it sure is nice to be able to do that!  Thanks for taking the trip with us, all who were actually here and all who were here in spirit and through this blog. It means the world to us. Our customers, families and friends mean so much to us and that is truly what inspires us!  Thanks again and we love you all just so very much!!!

Brian and Emily Freund

Saturday, November 23

Fall 2019 Day 34

Last real day!  It’s a sad thing yet a happy thing. It’s been an incredible time and an amazing experience!  We have seen things we couldn’t have imagined. We spent two weeks taking people around France again. We learned more about wine than we have ever learned before!  We drank a lot of wine!  We ate some of the best meals of our lives!  We have seen sights that we had no idea would have the impact and impression on us that they did!  It’s been amazing. Now we get to go home, get our store ready to reopen, spend time with our family and love on our puppy to make up for lost time!!!  That really is the hardest part!  He sacrifices more than anyone with our schedule and then we get to go away without him. He’s the best little guy and he deserves better. We have a lot of making up to do!  We spent our last day sleeping, I’m still not feeling great!  Exploring this beautiful city of Catania!  It gets a bad rap and there are some seedy parts, but where we are is beautiful!  It’s constantly bustling with beautiful people. I’d love to come back to Catania. I look forward to returning to Sicily. A place I knew so little about and really didn’t know what to expect now will be forever a part of my stories of favorite places!  It’s amazing!  Great weather, great food, great wine, tons of history, very proud, kind, generous people, terrible drivers but amazing culture! LOL  Tomorrow we hop on a plane back to Paris and stay at the airport. Monday we come home and see Bubba!  We will be enjoying Thanksgiving with our families before reopening next Saturday! We have lots to bring home, we have to check a bag we are bringing so much home!  That’s a first for us!!  Again, thanks so much for taking this journey with us! We are so proud to know so many people care!  If you are so inspired, talk to us about coming on our spring Italy tour, we have some openings!  Also, we would gladly take a small group on a private tour that we can customize together. We plan everything for you and do all the work, you just come along and enjoy an amazing time!  We have gotten pretty good at it and have really expanded our repertoire of places we feel comfortable taking people!  Most of all, more than anything, I’d like to thank my beautiful, amazing wife, Emily!  She really is the person who allows me to fly and do these things!  Sometimes she is just along for the ride and sometimes she’s the pilot, but always, she’s my purpose in all that I do!  Seeing her happy is the greatest thing in the world and that’s my life’s goal!  She works too hard and we don’t “date” enough, and we live in a crappy apartment and may be there forever for all we know, but, we sure are lucky to have found each other and share these journeys together. I love you Emily!!  Signing off!!