"Back From Our Second European Trip" riorich55's Profile

4 Countries in 18 Days

NOTE: A link to a video done by a casual VT member. He posted in a forum question and since it might be deleted I've asked if I can post the link here. The Video is entitled "Around the World in Six Minutes"


So at the end of 2011 I had 80,000 American Airlines points so it was time to plan another trip to Europe. Looked at the dates and times and was able to secure 2 round trip tickets to London and back between the period of April 27 and May 15. So with the flights scheduled before the new year it was time to start planning that second trip.

Sue said we needed to get back to Paris and see more of what we hadn't seen the first time around. OK, one destination planned. We both agreed we needed to add Italy and Spain to our agenda this time and since we had to fly in and out of London Heathrow we might as well spend a few days there again as well.

We thought we might get to see a little of the South of France, but that didn't seem to fit in too well with the timeframe we had selected. So the final itinerary was Paris for 4 days, fly to Rome, Rome for 3 days, train to Florence for 1 day, trains to Riomaggiore for 1 day, trains to Stresa, Italy for 3 days, train to Milan and fly to Barcelona for 4 days, fly to London for 2 days and then back home. A combination of some big cities at both ends of the trip and a little more laid back in smaller cities for 4 days in the middle. Worked out to be a nice combination.

Now to work on all those new tips and add all those new pictures.

The Wedding of the Year - 2013

Well, another year brings another wedding for another 1 of our 4 children. Our oldest, Tim married his bride, Courtney, in a lovely outdoor ceremony overlooking a bay off of Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan in August. About 100 guests enjoyed the ceremony, the reception, dinner and dancing that followed. Just before sunset the newlyweds with their official and unofficial photographer (yours truly) stepped away from the festivities long enough to take some photos of the 2. Here is one the unofficial photographer took. And in true VT travel spirit the newlyweds spent their honeymoon traveling in Italy.

The Wedding of the Year - 2012

Another year - Another Wedding of the Year. This time our middle son, Greg married his sweetheart Amy on October 20, 2012 and now Sue and I have our first daughter-in-law to go along with our son-in-law as our family continues to grow. This wedding was a bit more traditional taking place in St Andrews Catholic Church just down the block from my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. After the wedding the bridal party which consisted of our 2 other sons as groomsmen took off for some wedding pictures around Chicago and Wrigley Field.

After the wedding the newlyweds headed off for a week of fun and sun in the Caribbean on the island of St Lucia. As I talked to Greg upon his return he wants to win the lotto so he can travel and enjoy more things around the world. Yes another traveler in the family.

The Wedding of the Year - 2011

For all my close VT friends they've heard me talking about my daughter, Jennifer's upcoming wedding to my now son-in-law Joe over the past year. Well on September 24, 2011 in a beautiful outdoor ceremony Jen and Joe became husband and wife the first of our four children to get married. And as any good child of a VT member they honeymooned for a couple of weeks in Italy.

UPDATE: Now married for almost three years, bought their first home about 2 miles from where we live about 20 months ago and now ready to make Sue and I grandparents for the first time in December of 2014.

We Had A Great Time at the VT Chicago Weekend

On June 17 and 18, 2011 several Chicago VT members hosted a Weekend Extravaganza in my home town of Chicago. Actual and Virtual attendees did everything from a baseball game, to walking tours, a boat tour, free concerts, comedy club, bar hopping for the younger members and of course PIZZA.

The picture above was our group at the meeting point on Friday night. We had additional members join us for the fun events on Saturday. I think everybody had a great time and our notorious finicky weather held out for us in great fashion with temperatures in the 70's and 80's with no rain.

Here are a couple of videos I put together for the pre event.

Everybody is Coming to Chicago - Part 1
Everybody is Coming to Chicago - Part 2
Everybody is Coming to Chicago - Part 3
Friday Night at Millennium Park
Saturday Night at Adobo Grill

Yes, We Really Did Leave Our Hearts There!!

In 2010 I spent a lot of the year traveling with my job on a couple of projects, but the advantage of all that business travel is of course saving up those airline miles and hotel points for a personal vacation. After the project ended in mid-October we took some time for ourselves and went west to California in late October and early November. We saw some sights we had seen before but still love (the Golden Gate Bridge) and some new memories to last us a lifetime (the Wine Country and Yosemite). We were fortunate enough to have 11 days of free time (I know the rest of the world doesn't even get out of low gear 11 days into their Holidays) to explore and once again go crazy filming video and taking pictures (I think we are almost at 1200 pictures including the VT hotel and food pictures).

SIDENOTE: My 2nd son got engaged in the San Francisco area in June, 2011 on a vacation there. My son and my future daughter-in-law took a picture in this exact spot also.

The pages I have started so far include: California, - Sausalito, Healdsburg, Geyserville, Calistoga, Fairfield, Napa, Saint Helana, Glen Ellen, Sonoma, Lodi, Mariposa, Yosemite National Park, and of course San Francisco

Anyway, the picture above sums up what I always think when I leave San Francisco. Sue has been here only once before with me on a business trip and while I spent many days in the bay area in the 80's and 90's on business, I hadn't been back since 1996.


I'm like a new kid with a toy with the camcorder I bought before our first trip to Europe in 2008 and the IMac Computer I purchased after the trip. Here are the videos I have created thus far of our European adventures complete with approved music.









OK, where to start? Travel background. I didn't do too much traveling as a kid, but we did the East Coast Historical Car Tour and did get out to the Rockies, but most of the other family vacations were is nearby midwest locations. With my own family we did the East Coast Historical Car Tour, got up to Toronto, down to visit Mickey in Orlando and did some midwest trips. I did a lot more business trips across the United States and at one time did an around the country 2 week tour where I did a presentation in the morning in one city, hopped on a plane and did another presentation the next morning in another city (It was actually quite an adventure and I only missed one flight).

Being associated with VT since Nov, 2007, I have been visiting a number of other members sites and have been absolutely enthralled at the places everyone has visited and the experiences they have had. It has been really fun getting to know everyone virtually and in person at several Chicago VT meetings. In April, 2008 Sue and I met DABS aka Kristi and husband Dave,, Yooperprof aka Chet, and MJB123 aka Martin.

Where Have I Been Since I Started With VT?

2008 - Short Business Trips: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, St. Louis, Missouri, Kenosha, Wisconsin, Pompano Beach, Florida.

First European Trip with my bride of 33 years to London, Paris, Versailles, Bern , Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Lucerne.

2009 - Business Trips to Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. Wedding in Las Vegas (not ours) and although not an official out of town trip saw a Freedom '89 Multi Media (Dance, Opera Singer, Jazz Pianist, Rock Band) Polish Concert in Millennium Park in Downtown Chicago). The guest of honor that night was Lech Walesa former leader of the Solidarity Movement, Past President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

One Week Vacation to Charleston, South Carolina and Asheville (Waynesville), North Carolina.

There's More to Iowa Then Corn and Pigs

Am I discovering more art in unusual places or is it just because I wasn't really an art lover until a couple of years ago? Anyway, whatever the answer is I'm really enjoying going to different towns to see what type of culture they have. And believe it or not if you look hard enough you will find at least a little bit of culture sometimes in the tiniest of towns.

Not that Des Moines (where this picture was taken) is a really tiny town, but I'm sure most people think of Iowa as just a vast area of corn and soy bean fields and just an overwhelming amount of hogs and pigs. While that is true, Iowa is also very hilly in spots (including Des Moines) and if you just venture outside of your own comfort zone you may be amazed at what you can find.

Besides the California pages Here are some of the others I am currently working on from numerous business trips during 2010 some of them not very big tourist attractions at all but may be of interest if you happen to be wanting to try something different then the norm.

Kankakee, Illinois - About 60 miles south of Chicago off Interstate 57 heading toward Champaign, Illinois and other parts in Southern Illinois.

South Dakota - Wide open spaces, where the buffalo do roam and the deer and the antelope do play.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota - Big enough of a SD city to rate its own page.

Cedarburg, Wisconsin - 25 miles north of Milwaukee. Nice weekend town for some shopping.

Hammond, Indiana -VT Top 15 member DABS real hometown

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Just a quick 2 hour trip from our house and the home of the most sexiest building in the world rated by VT members.

Louisville, Kentucky - Home of the Kentucky Derby and Colonel Sanders.

Fort Wayne, Indiana - Former home to a really nice Abraham Lincoln Museum which unfortunately closed its doors in 2008.

Oyster Bay, New York - Home of the 26th President of the United States and my 2nd Favorite U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt. (Abraham Lincoln will always be my Favorite U.S. President)

Cold Spring, New York - Home of the West Point Foundry which made most of the heavy guns for use by the Union Troops in the American Civil War.

Danbury, Connecticut - Didn't get to explore the area but did stay here and have a hotel and restaurant review.

Coloma, Michigan - Just a quick 20 minute stop at an Apple Cider Bar. ALERT - Cute Kid Pictures.

  • Intro Updated Aug 10, 2014
  • Report Abuse

Comments (573)

Share your travels with the world!

Join Now!
riorich55's Profile Photo


“"There is no better high then discovery"”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 4 3 1
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 4 2
Real Name
Naperville, Illinois
Member Since
Dec 7, 2007

Badges & Stats

  • 667 Reviews
  • 2,679 Photos
  • 109,280PageViews
  • 8 Countries
  • 114 Cities

Latest Activity

See All Activity

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)