My two slender teenagers adjusted their posture and the straps on their new backpacks. I hardly noticed my own pack because t-shirts and shorts were all I really carried. The warm summer in Europe with my family, maybe one of our last big trips there for a while, gave Paris a look and feel of Madrid and Hungary that of Texas.
Backpacking through Europe, kinda cliche, is still the best way to carry your crap across great distances in my opinion. It reminds me of how little we really need, which makes me feel proud, strangely because I swear we were the only people in all of Europe with backpacks. And not a single teenager in my family enjoys standing out.
Common question was where are we going. I'd explain that because we are here to wander around aimlessly I do not really know. Once in a while we would create a destination. In Paris we walked uphill across the entire city to the entrance of the famous catacombs. We were denied entry because of a problem with our having no tickets (weird) so instead we ate ice cream and then wandered around a cemetery nearby. In Croatia I pulled out a rare Dad coupon and detoured our rental car to Rijeka. The single largest port of emigration from the Hapsburg empire, described in a detailed exhibition at the city museum where we were also denied entry but for different reasons, Rijeka fascinated us for its bounty of sidewalk cafes and utter lack of food. Wander on.
There are two Galicias. One in Spain and the other Poland. My grandfather Louis' family left their then-Hapsburg Galicia to try out America. He married my Croatian grandmother whose family also exited Europe via Rijeka. And they settled in Illiana (Illinois-Indiana trickery). I wonder if anybody during that epic migration asked where are we going.