I was goofing around on my parents’ computer this morning, and found that they had saved all the digital pictures from when Trent and I went to Europe in ’04. We had 4 weeks between his finishing grad school and my starting. We used 3 of those weeks for this trip. The pics were taken on my mom’s digital cam, before we even had one, and I know I have the pics on a disc somewhere, but hadn’t seen the disc or the pics in years. We took 2 cameras–digital and film, and some of the really good stuff is on film only, but here’s some jpgs that really took me back! Going through these is really dangerous–it makes me want to TRAVEL! Also? Grieving my pre-baby body just a bit. Wow.


So, we did the backpacking thing. We stayed mostly at bed & breakfasts, but only brought about 3 changes of clothes and I brought ZERO hair products or electronic devices. It was truly the trip of a lifetime–19 days, I think, and basically we chose this trip over a down payment on a house. I couldn’t resist posting a few of the pics I found. Forgive me?


We flew first to London. This was the bed & breakfast we stayed at–outside the city about a 10 minute walk from an underground station. Isn’t it ridiculously awesome?

Then we took the train to Paris and arrived about 4:30 pm. We were staying on the opposite side of town from the Eiffel Tower, but I insisted we skip dinner and go straight there! Seeing it in person fulfilled a long-time dream of mine.

We stayed while the sun was setting that night.

How cool is this?! Starbucks menu in French?!

Sigh. I loved Paris. Spent our last day lunching and lounging in the sun–again by the ET.

On to Florence! We stayed at a B&B that had requested we not flush ANY toilet paper (???) and also had completely inappropriate (and clearly amateurish) paintings on the walls. But more importantly? GELATO!

Florence was awesome.

We were in an internet cafe in Florence when Trent got an email job offer from S Hospital, which was a huge answer to prayer! He still works there and loves his job. Quick day trip to Pisa!

More gelato!

Rome was full of history–but also full of graffiti, litter and humidity.

We did the tour of the colliseum with headsets, which was facinating.

This was our B&B in Rome. (below) It was pretty much a joke. It was basically a guest bedroom in some girl’s apartment. She wasn’t there when we arrived, and when we called her contact number (from a payphone–we didn’t have cell phones then!) she told me in broken English that she left the key at the ice cream shop. We found the closest ice cream shop and tried with my Italian dictionary to ask around, but NO ONE knew what we were talking about. After walking around the neighborhood looking for another ice cream store, we came back and finally one random employee came in and was able to figure out what we were saying and found the key hiding behind the counter. Our hostess, though, apparently gave us HER ONLY KEY, because we went to bed without meeting her, and were awakened at 1am to someone pounding on the front door! Should we answer the door in the middle of the night in a foreign country? She was calling through the door to us, trying to explain who she was, and we finally risked it and let her in. Each morning she had 2 stale croissants sitting on the counter for us. I guess that was our “breakfast.” 🙂

We also went to Vatican City, of course.

After leaving Rome, our last stop was in Venice.

It was such a breath of fresh air that we wanted to stay for another week! We had a fabulous B&B host named Alex, who took us on a walking tour of the nieghborhood. He kept saying “Tell America that ALEX IS COMING!” So, America, consider yourself told!

Hope you weren’t too bored by my walk down memory lane. No return trips to Europe are going to be in our near future, but I am looking forward to planning a little jaunt to Southeast Asia very soon!


  1. Not bored at all! You must’ve read my mind because I was just thinking I needed to get dust off pics of past trips Lee and I took (pre-kiddos that didn’t involve Disneyland or long road trips to grandma’s house). Even back then you had an eye for photography. Go girl!

  2. Ahh! I am so excited!! I am doing a lot of this in January for my 30th birthday!!! 🙂 Going to Paris has always been my life long dream. We think that we are going to Rome for a day also. I went to England and Uganda, Africa in 2001. I love looking back at the pictures. Thanks for posting these up. It just makes me that much MORE excited {didn’t think it was possible} about our upcoming trip! 🙂

  3. London, Paris, Venice…three of my all-time favorite cities–and places I would have never visited had I not become a teacher! I’m guessing you did this trip before the tornado that was GFU MAT hit?! 🙂 Can you believe it’s been almost six years since we graduated?!

  4. Wow, Jen – looks like such a great trip! Ha! I’ve been living in Europe (off and on) a total of 6 years now, and lived in southern France for a year, and have still never been to Paris, Florence, Rome or Venice!! Living on a student budget for too long, I guess… But one day I will make it there. A little bit at at time. Right now my strategy is to go to places that projects I am working on will pay for my trips to — next month, Istanbul! Though we did take a little family vacation for 6 days to Peter’s cousin in Zurich — took the kids on the overnight train, which was so fun (and cheap! kids on the train are nearly free in Europe, but if you fly you have to pay full fare for them!)… yes, a little bit at a time! Thanks for posting these — so much fun to see those places and hear about the places you stayed (loved the bit about the Italian girl you stayed with).

  5. I loved the pics! My Husband and I went to England in 2002. It had been a lifelong dream of mine to go there. I loved the countryside, not London so much. It is so beautiful there. I’d love to go to Paris also, someday. Like you all, our next big trip will be Southeast Asia!! 🙂

  6. I had fun looking at your pictures Jen. We just got home from London and have a similar picture in front of the bridge! Much of Italy is pretty dirty with lots of trash on the sides of the roads. It’s disappointing. Funny story about the key. That doesn’t surprise me! It’s a different world here!

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