So how did this happen? Ruby and I had made some pretty major purchases over the last few years. Not the least being a new house. "No trips for at least the next 3 years." Said I. "Absolutely. We can't afford any more expenses, right now." Said she. So Elle is turning 16 in 2013. Sweet sixteen. Pretty big deal. Ya only turn 16 once ya know. Notice how that tends to get used less and less as you get older. "You only turn 47 once, ya know!" Nope. Not that common. "What are we going to do for Elle's sweet 16?" So we do what any responsible parent would do. We go to Vegas. No! Wait! That didn't happen... well it did, but that was a few years ago. What we did was, we asked her what she wanted. She already knows she's not getting what she really wants. Elle watches too much TV I think. (Oh, spare me the perfect parent lament. "You shouldn't let your kids watch so much TV." Yeah, right. Just try and keep 'em from the tube. I dare ya.) When she was 13 or so, she announced she was looking forward to her 16th birthday. I bit. "Okay, honey. Why are you looking forward to your 16th birthday?" She nonchalantly replies. "Well, you know. You turn 16 and you get a car." I don't know if she was more hurt or puzzled at my laughing. Anyway, she's 15 now and "Whaddya want for your 16th?" "I want to go to Disneyworld." That's my girl. So Ruby and I.... well.... I crunched the numbers (Ruby's job is to listen to my dreams and then yea or nay them. Surprisingly she 'yeas' more often then she 'nays'.) and we decided that we could (barely) make it work. Okay. I don't want to shock anybody, so everyone better sit down. Ruby is not a big fan of Disneyworld. Okay! Okay! It's out! Is everyone okay? You! In the back. Close your mouth before a fly gets in there. You, over there. Help that lady back up into her chair, okay? Now, I'll just wait a bit until the administering of CPR is done and the ambulances have taken their collective shocked patients off to wherever shocked patients go. The last time we were in Disney. I wanted to make sure that the kidlets got to experience as much as possible. That means rope drop. That means commando style. That means go, go, go. That means that I broke Ruby. But she was willing to go again... not thrilled... but willing. (She's a good mom) Flights from Canada to MCO are not cheap. The last time we flew, we first drove 8 hours and overnighted in Minneapolis... same coming home. Still cheaper then flying out of Winnipeg. Well, I wasn't finding anything cheap. Not out of Winnipeg, Grand Forks, ND, Minneapolis... nuttin'. "Geez." I grumbled. "We could almost fly to Europe for the same pri...." Heyyyyy..... "So, Ruby. Just a thought. A whim if you will. Instead of going to WDW again, what would you say to going to Europe instead??" I had my arguments in order. 1. We've already been to WDW, it'd be nice to go somewhere else. 2. The kids are getting older. Who knows, now that Elle is turning 16, if she'll be able to travel with us much longer. School, job, boyfriend, etc. 3. My parents took me when I was young (10 or so) and I really enjoyed it. All Ruby said was, "Let's go for it." So after much discussion (London, Paris, Cologne, Hanover (to visit relaticks), Munich, Amsterdam) We settled on London, Paris and points in Germany. Both Ruby and I have ties to Germany, so we wanted to show the girls their 'heritage', if you will. Then Ruby says, "I never really wanted to go to London, I'd rather go to Italy." So our Itinerary is Paris, Cologne, Munich/Bavaria, Venice. Anyone want to come along for the ride? I'm warning you all right here, right now. We did not, repeat, NOT go to Disneyland Paris. Yes there was a little Disneyesque bit during the trip... but it wasn't that. (Oh, great. I've just lost the rest of the readers who managed to stay upright after the last shock.) Well, if anyone's still around. I'll tell ya all about it. k?