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Son Thanks Mom With Epic 20-City European Vacation

A son decided he wanted to do something special for his mom, and this is a story that’s 20 years in the making.

For the last two decades, Carla Brooks cared for her now-late husband after he suffered a stroke. He passed away last year, and she found herself not really knowing what to do with her life at that point—her days had been consumed with caring for her ill husband.

Her son, Barton Brooks, decided there was no time like the present to make up for all that lost time.

“It wasn’t a huge shock when he passed away, but after caring for him 24/7 for nearly 20 years—she was just lost,” he said in an article on the TODAY show website. “She was sad and lonely (obviously), but there was more of a melancholy about what she was supposed to do next.”

As Barton thought about ways to thank his mom for all that she had done for his dad, he recalled an adventurous trip his mom took back in 1962. Apparently, Carla discovered her then-fiance was cheating on her (uh-oh), so she grabbed the money earmarked for their wedding and took off on a solo European vacation. Barton thought it would be fun to take his mom on a similar tour of Europe, but updated for 2016.

So, Carla, Barton and his fiancé, Greg Goodbrod, all set off on a European adventure! Here are some of their travel photos.

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“I decided to use those (1962) pictures as a guide and take her to some of those locations—try to re-find that young woman,” Barton told TODAY.

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TODAY reports that the trio landed in Paris on Sept. 29, and since then, they have since visited Switzerland, London, Talacre in Wales, Budapest, Prague and Munich.

Other destinations on the itinerary include Alsace in France, Strasburg in Germany, Vienna and Salzburg in Austria, as well as the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Venice.

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Carla, Barton and Greg visited Talacre, Wales, on Nov. 7, which marked the one-year anniversary of Carla’s late husband, Karl’s, burial. The visit was particularly meaningful because Karl’s ancestors hail from Wales.

“The most meaningful day was in Wales when we had the memory day for Karl,” Carla told TODAY. “We spent that day at the lighthouse where his great grandfather was the lighthouse keeper 150 years ago, and we’d been there together before—he loved it there.'”

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Now that you’ve seen some of the places they’ve been, here’s more of the backstory on this family, as told by Barton. Also check out their website and blog.