Family Road Trip with 3 Teens – Recipe for Disaster

Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 3, 2015

Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 3, 2015

This week my family of five – 2 parents plus 3 adolescents ages 19, 16, and 14, began a road trip to France.  My husband came up with this rather risky proposition – he decided that we should use the first week of January to drive to the Loire Valley from Rome and visit some castles and eat some French food.

When he announced this at dinner – none of us was enthusiastic – I suggested why not go to Marrakech instead and go camping in the desert.  The kids cheered, and my husband quashed that proposal in 2 seconds flat.  He had already decided and already booked.  Turns out his mother had a done a similar road trip with her family back in the 1950s so we were going to relive their experience.

We all know that husbands and wives cannot get along when one is driving and the other is navigating.  I am sure that some of the worst marital bickering takes place in the front seats of cars around the globe.  Now, in our case it was a ménage-a-trois.  Yes indeed, there was another woman there, the lady inside the car’s navigator.

(Little aside here – why do all car navigators have women’s voices?? Do the people who make these things think that a man might end up punching the navigator for giving the wrong directions if it were a man’s voice???  Do they think people will remain calm and listen more carefully if it is a women’s voice? Someone must have studied this question.)

Heading into France, my husband had the navigator on and had given me a map to study and provide additional guidance.  Somewhere around Grenoble – the other woman and I had a difference of opinion.  Looking at the map I suggested what appeared to be a much shorter route. My husband decided to risk it and listen to me and exited the highway we were on.  There were a few moments of silence from the other woman and Gustavo said anxiously, “Why isn’t she talking to me anymore?  She’s angry. What is she going to do now??”

And then she spoke loudly and clearly, “ATTENZIONE, PROBLEMMI DI TRAFFICO”, that would be  “ATTENTION, TRAFFIC PROBLEMS” in English.    Gustavo declared, “that’s her way of saying she is offended. Now she’s mad.”

Yes, readers, my husband actually was worried that he had offended the  “navigatrice” (feminine for Navigator in Italian).  Then little Mademoiselle Navigatrice took her revenge.  She re-calculated the distance and added an extra 20 minutes to the trip.  Then my husband went berserk on me.  “We’ve got 10 hours in the car and you make a mistake that adds an extra 20 minutes!!!”

I shot back: “she’s taking us far off our route, the map shows this way is going to be much shorter.  Just look at it!!”

Then something occurred to me – the map looked a little old, “Where did you get this map anyway?”  I asked.

“My mother gave it to me.” He answered, still slapping the steering wheel and shaking his head over my screw up.

“Don’t tell me it is the map that her family used back in the 1950s, for goodness sake,” I sputtered, “You have got to be kidding.”

And then I realized I had gone where I should not go.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that you never criticize the mother of an Italian man, and you don’t dare criticize a map provided by the mother of an Italian man,  even if it is from the 1950s and your are trying to get somewhere in 2015.

So I had to put up with his fury for the next hour after which I decided to raise a delicate issue.

“I could really use a rest-stop,” I said once we were past Grenoble and leaving ourselves totally in the hands of Mademoiselle Navigatrice.

“Yeah, me too!!” Chiara declared from the back seat.

“NO!!” said Gustavo, “you’ve already put us 20 minutes off schedule we are not going to lose precious minutes with you having to pee all the time!!!!!”

Of course by the time I did manage to get him to pull over in a rest area, I was desperate.  I charged into the restroom, only to find a Turkish toilet.  Aarrggh.

The next stop – always adding on minutes to Mademoiselle Navigatrice’s arrival time calculations—was to get gas.  We went in to pay and I saw a brand new map of France for 3 euros.  I suggested to Gustavo that it might be a worthy investment.  He said, “No, the map we have is perfectly good.”

Lesson Number One:  Do not mess with an Italian Man’s Mamma’s Map!!

While my husband and I were bickering in the front seats, it wasn’t all sunshine and happiness in the back seat.  My middle daughter Caterina decided to imitate some Disney show called “Good Luck Charlie” and make frequent videos on her phone to send back to friends in Rome.

Occasionally she would pipe up in the back seat saying something that roughly went like this “So, hi everyone, now we are in France and see, that’s my parents, they are getting lost and fighting, and that’s my brother sleeping with his mouth open, and these are my new sneakers with flowers on them, and that’s it for now, baci baci baci”  After giving the three final kisses, she would usually stick her tongue out in some teenage form of communication that I have not yet grasped.

These video performances would occasionally be interrupted by her brother punching her and yelling: “spegni quell benedetto cellular prima che lo spacco cretina!”  (Translated: turn that blessed cell phone off before I break it in two, idiot.”)

In the middle of all this action, my younger daughter, Chiara, has developed a case of backseat narcolepsy – every time we enter in the car, she falls into a deep sleep.  But at every castle she was wide awake managing to appear Rapunzel-like, flaunting her long, golden locks in the middle of every photo.

After hours of fun in the car, we finally arrived at Bourges, where my husband had already chosen a restaurant.  Gustavo has an idea, that I believe he got from his two grandfathers, that when visiting a place one must book the best restaurants at lunch and at dinner.  I have frequently found myself on trips making a futile effort to convince him to skip the expensive 3-course lunch or the expensive 3-course dinner.  On this particular occasion I got lucky, we had to skip our 3-course lunch because, due to navigational difficulties, we didn’t arrive until 3pm and all the restaurants in town were closed.

Stained glass windows in the Cathedral in Bourges, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 2, 2014.

Stained glass windows in the Cathedral in Bourges, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 2, 2014.

Our first tourist attraction to visit was the cathedral in Bourges with its extraordinary stained glass windows.  My son trailed along behind me as I wandered about the cathedral taking photos of the windows for an eventual blog post.  “Mom, you are getting so annoying with that phone, can you just stop taking pictures?” he mumbled in my ear.

We passed a sign quoting Pope John Paul II, “Do not be Afraid,” and all of a sudden my son Niccolo’ was quoting the bible.

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

“Wow,” I said, “Nico, pretty impressive, I’ve never heard you quote the Bible before, not bad.”

“Yeah, that would be Ezekial 25:17,” he added.

“When have you ever learned passages from the Bible by memory,” I said clicking another photo of a very blue stainglass window.

Stained glass window in Bourges Cathedral in France. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 2, 2014

Stained glass window in Bourges Cathedral in France. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 2, 2014

“Pulp Fiction, Mom, the hit man played by Samuel Jackson says it before he shoots people.”

It was then that I began to wonder if I was every going to survive the trip to the Loire Valley.  We had not even seen a castle yet, and I wanted to escape.

At this point I will fast-forward.  With the help of Mademoiselle Navigatrice we eventually made it to our lovely hotel the Beaulieu near Tours.  It is a marvelous place—a small French Castle with large, elegant, beautifully decorated rooms.  It only has one little problem for people traveling with three teenagers, the Wifi doesn’t work properly.

“How can I watch my NBA games at 4am?” Nico asked.  “I need to get on Facebook?” Cate insisted, “What about Instragram and What’s App” Chiara asked querulously.

Day 2 – Gustavo had the whole schedule worked out – up at 7am, breakfast at 7:30, out the door by 8am – three castles with three hours for each – Chenonceau, Chambord and Cheverny.  He just had one little problem – four of us were dragging our feet.  We wanted to lounge around at breakfast enjoying our Café’ au Lait, Chocolat Chaud, Croissant, and Pain au Chocolat.

We finally reached the spectacular castle of Chenonceau and I was told that journalists get a free audio guide.  Gustavo was asked to do a radio interview about the Greek economy so returned to the car.  None of my teenagers wanted the audio guide so I ordered them to explore the castle on their own while I made my way around with the headphones.

Niccolo', Chiara and Caterina on the stairs at Chenonceau Castle in the Loire Valley. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 3, 2015

Niccolo’, Chiara and Caterina on the stairs at Chenonceau Castle in the Loire Valley. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 3, 2015

The audio guide was excellent, providing detailed descriptions of the individuals who lives were influential in the creation and existence of the castle: Katherine Briconnet, Catherine De Medici, Diana Di Poitiers and Louise Dupin.  I especially enjoyed the Frenchman speaking with such a delectable accent in English in his deep, rather sexy voice.

A portrait of the beautiful Louise Dupin who transformed Chateau Chenonceau into a Salon for intellectuals such as Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu and saved the castle from destruction during the French Revolution because of her excellent relationship with the local townspeople. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 3, 2015.

A portrait of the beautiful Louise Dupin who transformed Chateau Chenonceau into a Salon for intellectuals such as Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu and saved the castle from destruction during the French Revolution because of her excellent relationship with the local townspeople. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 3, 2015.

There were 20 rooms with explanations on the audio guide and I made my way slowly through them finally forgetting about family bickering and irritating teenagers.  It must have been about 12:30 when my phone rang and it was my husband, “Where are you he shouted?  We have to go!!!  We have two more castles to see!!”

I told him that I intended to finish the last three rooms on the tour and they could all just wait.  Little did I know that two of my teenagers were having a big snack in the café, that Nico had nearly dropped his sister Chiara into the moat, and Caterina was buying up the entire gift shop for her teachers and friends in Rome.

“No!” My husband shouted, “There’s no time. We are going to leave you here!!”

“Great, go ahead,” I said and hung up.

I turned on my audio guide again and that deep, French voice spoke soothingly in my ear.  I momentarily contemplated the idea of climbing into Diana Di Poitiers four poster bed, closing the red velvet curtains and snuggling down with Monsieur Audio-Guide whispering sweet- historical nothings in my ear.

Diana di Poitiers bed at the Chenonceau Castle in the Loire Valley, France.  Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 3, 2015

Diana di Poitiers bed at the Chenonceau Castle in the Loire Valley, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 3, 2015

After all if my husband was enamored of Miss Navigatrice, what could be wrong if I dedicated some time to Monsieur audio-guide.

I eventually made it back to the car to discover to my dismay that my family had not left me behind.  We were decidedly off-schedule so had to proceed to our restaurant for our 3-course meal. The French food is a refreshing change from daily Italian diet of pasta, pizza, pasta, pizza and some more pasta.  Everything here is covered with rich, creamy, buttery sauces and is delicious.  (My son forbid me from taking a food photos).

Interior of "Les Annees 30" restaurant in Chinon, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 4, 2015

Interior of “Les Annees 30” restaurant in Chinon, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas, January 4, 2015

And then off to see the Chambord Castle.

As we pulled into the parking lot at Chambord, Nico offered his opinion on the extraordinary castles of the Loire,  “seen one castle, you’ve seem them all – potato, potahtoe, tomato, tomahtoe—let’s call the whole thing off.”

I turned around to look at him in the back seat, “What the heck are you saying Nico,”

“Louis Armstrong, Mom, Louis Armstrong,” he answered.

And I got out of the car and went in search of an audio-guide hoping for some sonorous satisfaction.

Gustavo, Chiara and Nico heading towards Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 3, 2015

Gustavo, Chiara and Nico heading towards Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley, France. Photo by Trisha Thomas. January 3, 2015

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Trisha Thomas

Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.

34 Comments

  1. Kathy
    2015/01/05

    Trisha this is SO FUNNY I almost lost my cornflakes. So funny, so true, so real – the world over those of us with teens and doing road trips totally understand and empathise.

    When I was a teenager my parents started bickering at the front door of our house and two hours later, as we hit the rustic campground of my childhood summer years, they were still bickering – especially about which road to take to avoid the traffic. My sister and I sat in the back seat (which was vinyl back then) and broiled in the heat – with no Iphone or Instagram for distractions – so we would poke, pinch and torment each other to pass the time. Or read the odd Archie comic until we got car sick.

    Fast forward 30 years and my own 14 year old son is standing with me on Roma Termini station, chiding me for having my own tantrum. The crowds were unbearable, the taxi line stretched all the way to Salerno and we were an hour behind schedule because I’d accidentally booked us on the Inter city from Naples instead of the super fast Frecciarossa. ‘Mum, stop stressing!’ he said ‘ We’re in ROME!’. Yes.. he was right. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Ironically, when we finally hit the hotel room it was his turn for a meltdown because the wifi code wouldn’t work.

    And I totally agree about audio guides – they can lull you into a blissful other-world. If you have a spare hour, duck in the Doria Pamphilj gallery and spend an hour listening to theirs. His voice was so soothing it was better than a Thai massage and a flirty Italian waiter combined.

    Thanks again Trisha!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/05

      I also remember some real doozies of backseat battles with my sister and brother on family car trips. And now that you have suggested it, I will head straight to the Doria Pamphilj Gallery and get the Audio Guide!!
      Always great to hear from you Kathy and wishing you a wonderful 2015!

      Reply
  2. John
    2015/01/05

    I really enjoyed your comments about GPS guidance. While I do not believe these systems have feelings, I have encountered one that would announce it was recalculating when I deviated from the selected route. While not actually using an exasperated tone of voice, I always imagined that was the tone.

    The female voice may be considered calm and soothing and thus more likely to be listened to by male drivers.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/05

      Isn’t it strange about the GPS creatures talking to us? You are right, when the woman says she is recalculating it does sound so judgmental.

      Reply
  3. Laurel Barton
    2015/01/05

    Trisha,
    Your post brought back so many memories, recent as well as 50+ years ago, warm and loving as well as best forgotten. :-)

    Parents bickering on camping trips in the 1960s, oh my! Being the backseat bickerer with my siblings, and 6 people cross-country in July without A/C in 1963. OUR kids who would not leave the poolside in Hawaii to see Hawaii. We could have left them at the pool at the HoJos in Omaha instead of flying them to Hawaii!

    Bad WIFI as recently as last week in Italy. (This is NOT a third world country!) “Bonnie” our GPS “witch” screwing up on a simple local trip around Rome. I am certain she would be useless in France and I hate her repititious voice!

    But I also remember camping under starry skies, riding a horse thorugh Glacier National Park, magical moonset on the Mediterranean, complete silence while watching lava flow down a volcano we dragged the kids away from the pool to see, and wondrous hikes in the Dolomites.

    The map from the 1950s is priceless, though. You should frame that.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Ha! You have a name for your GPS — “Bonnie” — gotta love it. I swear all these navigatrice can screw up a drive around the block! Yes, I remember some heavy duty trips without AC back in the 70s. I forgot to mention in the post that as we left our hotel to go out to dinner, my daughter Chiara was lamenting the lack of Wifi and she said, “This is terrible, I’ve never felt so alone in my whole life.” I responded –” but sweetie, I lived my whole life “isolated” like this because there was no internet when I was growing up and it was so much fun. She didn’t get it. Anyway, despite your difficulties it sounds like you had some fabulous vacations from the lava in Hawaii to horse back riding in Glacier National Park –wonderful!

      Reply
  4. Alan
    2015/01/05

    as the saying goes ‘You can choose your audio friends but you family you are lumbered with!’ Most enjoyable, there is something about the misery of others that lifts the spirits no end. ;-)

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      You are right about that!! Can’t choose your family and boy was I wishing I had my audio-guide friend during the 10 hour drive today from Lyon to Rome!

      Reply
  5. Joan Schmelzle
    2015/01/05

    Many chuckles from this story. Have done the castles, but with no teenagers and not on one day. I believe I was probably lucky–right? My first out-loud chuckle was the Turkish toilet, which I remember from my first time in France 54 years ago. What helped the chuckle was remembering the maybe 60ish lady in our tour who was in the stall next to me. I heard her say “What marvelous aim!”
    Then I had to chuckle at the teen comments and be thankful that the teenagers I knew best did not have the technology to drive me nuts in many years of teaching. And, of course, all my teenagers really belonged to someone else though I loved most of them. I haven’t gone on any journeys lately with my teen “greats) nieces and nephews, but they all have their “connections” with them ready to use if “needed.”
    Thanks for the enjoyment.
    A presto

    Reply
  6. Adri
    2015/01/05

    Oh my, but I was laughing so hard I was crying! There is something so universal about these road trips and family interactions. With the pathfinder parents up front and the kids in back battling it out, it seems that a road trip might best be billed as “where the best family fights occur.:”

    I recall my first trip through the Val d Loire. I was traveling alone in France, and rather than stay in Paris I decided to go and see some of the chateaux. They were all glorious, but Chenonceau remains my favorite. I am so glad you and your family made the trip. I bet you will talk about it for years to come. Funny, but i got so caught up in the Val de Loire, I never made it back to Paris proper and so I missed the Louvre.

    I did not realize just how much of a “take charge” kind of guy Gustavo is. And I still can not get over your son, the quote master. He is really darn amusing. I love that his bible quote turned out to be from Pulp Fiction. That is too funny,.

    I guess you are all back to work now, and I wish you all a wonderful 2015. I look forward to more on your trip to France.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      I am so glad I made you laugh. I was trying to make myself laugh instead of cry. Gustavo is definitely a “take charge” kind of guy -and he doesn’t like anyone messing with his plans — but of course everything always gets all screwed up. Nico — the quote master — is the total opposite of his energetic, hyper-organized father. They both have their positive qualities but it is not easy trying to balance both of them on a family vacation. (Not to mention the personalities of my two daughters and myself). Chenonceau was definitely my favorite too — perhaps it was the audio-guide! I can’t believe you never made it back to Paris and the Louvre. Oh well, the Chateau are certainly impressive!

      Reply
  7. mary jane
    2015/01/05

    love the story, Ive been there, done that too : castle in Divonne , fancy dinner with two little ones at 10 p.m. they were falling asleep at the table.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      I bet you never want to do it again either! Funny about traveling with kids — no matter what the age– it always seems to be a challenge/adventure.

      Reply
  8. John
    2015/01/05

    Oh my so many memories of trips with kids. One in particular. We were driving from Cambridge MA to Washington DC. Knowing how you and your sister could fight and tease we decided we would keep you both up all day, have an early dinner, and put the two of you in pajamas, put down the back of the VW station wagon to make beds so you would sleep all night. We left Cambridge at 8PM sure you would both be asleep in 30 minutes. But oh no, you two (no Stephen then) bickered,, teased, complained, blasted parental cruelty for a record setting 8 hours, driving your Mother and Father to near insanity fury, despair etc. Then as we passed the sign Welcome to Washington, the Nations Capitol. You both fell instantly into a deep sleep, and could not even wake up enough to say hello to your waiting Grandmother. So consider this is just your turn!…L/D

    Reply
  9. John
    2015/01/05

    Oh my so many memories of trips with kids. One in particular. We were driving from Cambridge MA to Washington DC. Knowing how you and your sister could fight and tease we decided we would keep you both up all day, have an early dinner, and put the two of you in pajamas, put down the back of the VW station wagon to make beds so you would sleep all night. We left Cambridge at 8 PM sure you would both be asleep in 30 minutes. But oh no, you two (no Stephen then) bickered,, teased, complained, blasted parental cruelty for a record setting 8 hours, driving your Mother and Father to near insanity fury, despair etc. Then as we passed the sign Welcome to Washington, the Nations Capitol. You both fell instantly into a deep sleep, and could not even wake up enough to say hello to your waiting Grandmother. So consider this is just your turn!…L/D

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Oh my goodness — I vaguely remember that trip. Or maybe I remember you and Mom telling the story of that nightmare trip. Ten hours with two brats raising cane in the back must have been miserable. Yes, I suppose I am getting my just rewards!

      Reply
  10. Janet M
    2015/01/05

    LOL, I love your writing, it captured the universal essence of the family trip.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Thank you Janet!

      Reply
  11. lisa | renovatingitaly
    2015/01/05

    Trisha you had me laughing out loud the entire post. Brilliant.

    Your kids are gorgeous and yep Sam and I almost divorced due to the navigation of a six berth campervan through Paris. It was a nightmare. As for childhood vacations my brother would always end up vomiting on me at some point and we would always stop for Kentucky fried Chicken on the way back from my cousins in Geelong. Ahhh the good old days hey!

    Still chuckling and love the old map, my Mum once gave me her street directory and it was something like twenty years old and didn’t have the freeway in Melbourne on it.

    Just loved this post xxx

    Buon Anno to you and your stroppy family, yep you should have hidden in that delicious bed xxx

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Ah Yes, the vomiting problem. My middle-daughter used to inaugurate every family trip by tossing her cookies. I used to travel with changes of clothes, wet-wipes, plastic bags…ah, it was dreadful. I suppose I should be glad that phase is over!
      Buon Anno to you to Lisa — looking forward to reading lots of your inspiring posts in 2015!

      Reply
  12. Chris
    2015/01/06

    Great story! Try adding 2 dogs and a diva 4 yo to a family trip. We will probably wait awhile before we attempt such an adventure!

    Love
    Chris

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      We actually momentarily considered the idea of bringing our dog because we could not find anyone to take him. Fortunately, Gustavo’s sister stepped in and took him at the last minute or we really would have lost it. As far as the 4-year-old Diva is concerned — Yes, I know that can be very hard work — especially when thrown in with teenagers. I definitely do not recommend a road trip for your family!

      Reply
  13. Lega Medcalf
    2015/01/06

    A very funny read. Jim has the GPS turned on every time we take a trip to Massachusetts (which we have taken hundreds of times) and SHE is always putting in her two cents worth – telling us what to do! It does drive me crazy and when it is my turn to drive, I enthusiastically pull the plug.

    It probably has something to do with the fact that I once navigated Jim to Marlborough, NH instead of Marlborough, Mass. It was very early in our relationship so he was very calm but stunned.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Jim is definitely not an Italian. My husband would have left me by the side of the road if I took him to Marlborough, NH instead of Marlborough, MA. But despite our navigational errors, I still prefer trying with a map (as long as it is up to date) to battling with the annoying navigator. I am with you– pull the plug!

      Reply
  14. Ciao Chow Linda
    2015/01/06

    Hilarious. I especially loved your son’s comments and how they are a throw back to pop culture and films. So very funny.
    I could relate to so much of this, from when I had teenage kids and we’d take road trips. Re: voice on the audio guide – I read your comment to Kathy and yes, that fellow who is a descendent of the Doria Pamphili family – when he speaks on the audio guide there, I am completely enchanted by his voice.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      How funny about the audio-guide at Doria-Pamphilj. If it is the descendant, that must be Jonathan Pamphilj – who is in a “civil marriage” with a man, so not as stimulating for my fantasies, but nevertheless, you have all piqued my curiosity — I must go hear what he has to say and how he says it.

      Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Oh, and I forgot to say — it is so interesting about my son and films and music — all his points of reference, his intellectual compass, are completely different from mine. You would think, being my son, there might be more similarities, but there really aren’t. I have seen “Pulp Fiction” but it would never have occurred to me in that particular circumstance, and I have a vague knowledge of Louis Armstrong, but his songs would not come to mind while thinking about a Chateau in the Loire. Thanks for your comments Linda!

      Reply
  15. Yvonne
    2015/01/06

    I do hope there will be further instalments of The Family on Vacation?

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Further installments? I think not. We just got back to Rome after a 10 hour drive from Lyon and it was not pretty. When we were winding our way through the hills and tunnels around Genoa my husband and son broke out into a serious argument and — as they say in Italian — “ho sbrocato” — which I think means “I broke a vase” — in other words, I lost it. I pulled off the road and told the whole family to shut up or there was a big risk that I was going to slam the car into the side of the tunnel and then it would be all over for all of us. I have to say it worked. Everyone was silent for about 15 minutes!!

      Reply
  16. Mandy
    2015/01/06

    Tricia, I laughed the whole way through, we have exactly the same problems, every time we go on a road trip the first thing I check is if I have my rescue remedy !!! Our GPS is also a lady but Bassimo has definitely called her other things. Apparently you can change to a male voice but I think they prefer to scream at a women or two !!!!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/01/06

      Oh, I am so glad to hear I am not the only one who wanted to strangle Mademoiselle Navigatrice!! She was driving me insane by the end and putting a serious strain on marital relations!

      Reply
  17. Michelle
    2015/01/06

    The line “snuggling down with Monsieur Audio-Guide whispering sweet- historical nothings in my ear” made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the lovely post!

    Reply
  18. Gwen Thomas
    2015/01/09

    I think you should do a post on the people behind the audio tapes. That is all I am going to comment on as I don’t want to get into trouble being the big pestering older sister here:-)

    Reply
  19. gavin peters
    2015/01/13

    trisha…wow you deserve a purple heart, I mean taking teens on a road trip is really pushing the boundaries of sanity..of course there will be all the memories but the price we pay!.

    Reply

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