Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Big Leap - A Family Move to Europe

Sunday ride through the heart of Switzerland- Tour de Suisse preview

For years Tavi and I have had a reoccurring discussion based on an idea. The subject usually is brought up over dinner when the meal is accompanied by a good bottle of French wine. The conversation starts when one of us says something like, “wouldn’t it be great if we moved the family to Europe!” Like most “wouldn’t it be great if “ moments, there is a lot of talk; but then the next morning the day-to-day resumes, and the dinner conversation remains but a dreamy haze.

Liam excited to be in NYC

This spring we made the decision to make the “wouldn’t it be great” into a “won’t it be great!” We started to make plans to actually make the leap and spend a few years across the Atlantic. The task hit us like a tidal wave. What do you do with all your stuff? Do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? We spent over one month selling things at garage sales and on Craig’s list and still ended up with a huge storage unit full of “things.” Don’t ask me what is in there, by now it is all a blur. After we had whittled things down to a manageable quantity, we spent a full week moving and packing our lives into 5 suitcases and two Bike boxes. We took a few language books, passports, and bike maps and off we went in a completely full mini van to LAX.

Checking out Lady Liberty

It was truly an amazing feeling to check our bags and bikes on the plane and realize that we were actually turning this dream into a reality. We flew overnight to New York. We had an eight-hour layover, so we took a cab into Battery Park on a beautiful hot New York City day. As we stood gazing out at the statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, a certain irony dawned on me. So many had struggled so hard to come to America, and now here we were the contrarians heading back to the “Old World.” I suppose as an American- wherever you go you take a little bit of Lady Liberty with you!

The Boys checking out the bull on Wall Street

After another all night flight, we arrived in Zurich, Switzerland with big smiles and a big case of jet lag. We had bought a car sight unseen (will let you know how that goes but so far so good) and had rented a house in the lakeside village of H√ľnibach. Almost immediately we have settled into a routine of cycling, swimming, and meeting our new Swiss neighbors. All the French we studied, at the moment is not doing us any good as they speak Swiss German here. ( We will be in France later in July and then have rented a house in Provence through June of 2011.)

The area we now live in is absolutely beautiful! All around are lush green forests, blue glacier lakes, and snow capped Alps. The Tour de Suisse will be coming right by our house in one week’s time. Liam and I have been out pre-riding many of the sections of some of the stages.

Our plan is to spend the next two weeks in "Swiss training camp" getting ready to ride from Switzerland to Rotterdam for the start of the Tour de France!


Father Son Tour Swiss training camp

The Father Son Tour trek across Europe will start after the Tour de Suisse and we will ride 600 kilometers all the way to Rotterdam. The head waters of the Aare river are just across the lake in the Alps. The Aare runs from here to the Rhein river which then runs all the way to Rotterdam. It is somehow all coming together that this would be the journey that Liam and I will share together this summer out on the roads of Europe!

We are making this journey in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Forget me Not Farm in Santa Rosa, California. The Lance Armstrong Foundation is doing an incredible job in the fight against cancer. The Farm in Santa Rosa is a place where orphaned animals and abused children come together to break the cycle of violence. They do some amazing work with both the children and the animals! If you enjoy the blog and would like to join us in this effort you will find the links to these organizations on this website. For each $5 raised donors will be eligible for some great prizes.

Click below to join Liam in his support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation

Click Here to Donate
Or Click here to join Liam in his effort to support the Forget Me Not Farm
Forget Me Not Farm Granfondo Link

Live strong, train safe, and live well!

Bill and Liam signing out!

2 comments:

  1. Welcome to Europe! It was great meeting you in Lugano and Brandon couldn't wait to look up your blog when we got home. We will enjoy following your travels and rides. Patrick's blog is trainguy-patrick.blogspot.com and mine is www.kateyeview.com. You can get to our emails through the profile pages. Drop us a note when you come to Italy!

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  2. Hello Bill,

    I love the videos on Youtube. When I came to this particular post it blew me away. My wife and I, have been having these same conversations, "wouldn't be great". We are going to Provence this September 24th through October 7th, with our 2 little boys who are 3 and 4 1/2. We live in Miami now, but love to change that. Ours was a 5 years from now goal. I wish there was an email to see if we can meet up in Provence and ride.
    Carlos Baez
    my email is carlos@ my first & last name.com (this way spam machines don' pick up)
    I'm a photographer, www.carlosbaez.com
    my blog is www.carlosbaez.net

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