Sunday, April 2, 2017

Travel-Planning. Where To Next?

We've already booked our return flights to and from a European city a direct flight away from our city of departure. We've also booked eight nights' accommodation, and train tickets; research is currently underway to determine how best to spend the remaining time -- nearly two weeks, not enough for all the temptations of our Lonely Planet guide, but nonetheless sufficient for a good taste of a country we've never visited.

More on what country that is, and on which ones we'll visit along the way, in my next post.

But first, I thought I'd let you know what potential trips were jostling for my attention: "Pick me, Pick me," they clamoured, and each itinerary had a convincing argument.

For example,  I've been hankering for a trip to Great Britain, a hankering that goes beyond London's wonderful offerings to the chance of meeting Social Media friends in Scotland, Wales, and England. I'd want at least five days, preferably a week, in London, and if I'd made the trip this spring, I would have been able to see the David Hockney show at The Tate Britain. I'd also have worked hard to include a trip on the night train from Scotland (where I'd have run with Margaret) and I'd have had to swing over, at some point, to see relatives on the northeast coast of Yorkshire. Then another big swing to stay in Elizabeth's holiday cottage to enjoy her beautiful Welsh hills. And somehow manage a cross-country walk of several days' duration, with stops at comfortable inns along the way. At some point, I must visit St. Ives in Cornwall; ah, it's impossible, all the places I want to get to, but some version of this, heavily edited, is in my Future Plans for Travel notebook (I don't actually have such a notebook yet, but there's a very messy one archived hopefully in my noggin).

As well, for several years now, I've been reminding Paul that we want to do one more walking trip of at least a week's duration, something akin to the Grande Randonnée we did back in '91, 150+ kilometres walking a hilly circuit in the Auvergne, carrying all our necessaries on our backs -- this time, perhaps we'd cheat and book some support for an inn-to-inn walk. . .   And we'd like to spend more time in Spain, which we've only barely visited (a couple of days in San Sebastian once; a few in Barcelona; several passages through by train from Portugal to France).

And speaking of Portugal, I'd love to get back there. . . .

Taking the train from Paris to Berlin last year, spending a few days exploring that city with our granddaughter and her folks, we vowed that a future trip to Germany was a must, and we promised it would be a considerably longer trip.

Of course, with our daughter and her family in Rome, Italy's always going to be a draw now, and there are so many places there we have yet to visit. . .

And what about Croatia? Only a hop, skip, and jump from Italy, with a fascinating history, beautiful landscapes, and a stunning coastline, delicious foods and apparently very good wines, all at more affordable prices than the countries we've been visiting so far.  And featuring a chance to meet Dottoressa, the reader and occasional guest blogger who's come to feel like a friend

Or Greece?

What's it to be? Feel free to guess, but I promise to draw the curtain back on our choices next post. What I'd love to hear from you before that, though, is something about the Travel Wish Lists you construct your trips from, whether those trips ever materialise or remain satisfying armchair ventures via books or movies, TV travel series, or glossy travel magazines. And when it's actually time to book a flight or a hotel room, how do you match destination(s) to the realities of the time or money or physical fitness/energy available? Are there trips you've had on your Wish List for years and years, trips that get passed over regularly for more realistic options, or are you willing to travel less often to save up for the kind of magical adventure Sue and her husband just got back from? On the other hand, perhaps you have the ability to find adventure and interest in much more accessible travel, perhaps even within 100 kilometres of your home. I want to hear about that as well.
Comments section is open, waiting for you.  Have at it!

34 comments:

  1. Well, this was fun! I took a look at the Vancouver Airport site and my guess is Dublin! Or second guess Zurich. It seems to me that you have been to the other countries on the list of direct flights. I look forward to the reveal in your next post.

    Anyhoo, to be honest, we have mostly travelled to places where we have friends and/or family. However, when my husband retires we plan to take a trip to Japan - that's only a couple of years away. (And technically that's also to visit friends; we have long wanted to visit the student that we hosted in 2001/2 - she now has 5 children!!) This year we plan to go back to Germany and possibly also Budapest. I don't really see us being as adventurous as Sue and he husband though!

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  2. When I've started to travel with my parents,long time ago,we had a lot of plans,every year a country or two.
    (after we've traveled through all of countries of former Yugoslavia,visited small and bigger cities,every part of Adriatic coast,hiking around lakes,hills and mountains,visiting all our Roman Catholic Marian churches and monasteries in Serbia,Kosovo and Macedonia....)
    We've managed to visit Italy,beside our shopping trips :-) (Rome,Naples,Capri,Pompei,Venice,Florence,San Marino.....),Austria and,oui, Paris,Switzerland,Monte Carlo,Nica....
    Than happened all at once that we had to built the new house (because Goverment decided to need our old house and courtyard),than started my very demanding university ,I got married,started the specialization,had a son,the war started......you've got the picture :-)
    My father became very ill some twenty years ago-so,there were only a few trips without my son (Sardegna,Corsica...). we travelled a lot through Europe and it was beautiful.
    Due to his internships and study,I visited London a lot-it is one of my favourite cities.
    My father is in a very bad condition ,so there would be no travel plans for now.
    Before the trip,I do a lot of research and a lot of planning. Due to my limited (in)ability to walk,every step has to be carefully planned.
    I always wanted to visit Japan and Kyoto, and Istambul-they would stay only wishes (and armchair travels)
    Looking forward your next post-you have a beautiful spectrum of wishes
    Dottoressa

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  3. When you wrote "a direct flight away," did you mean a non-stop flight away? (Direct flights are not necessarily non-stop.) Your answer will help me in guessing...!

    I travelled the world constantly for 8 years, and that gave me a pretty good idea where I most want to return. Africa, France, Finland, New Zealand, Canada.... As far as places new to me: Cuenca, Ecuador and the mountains of Chilean Patagonia. No tours, my husband and I will just fly and start exploring by train, bus and/or car. Trips of 19-21 days are optimal for us. For the foreseabble future, however, we will continue spending most of our travel time in and around Berkeley, California or New York City, where our kids live. For as long as our two older dogs are living, we either will take them with us or, if flying is necessary, only one of us will travel at a time (while the other stays home with the dogs). And the truth is, I travel every day through reading and conversation.

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    1. Hi Leslie, I felt the need to echo your last sentence as I do the same! I also travel daily to places I love purely in my imagination! :) Lucky you, visiting California regularly ...I'm there at the moment and so enjoying exploring areas I haven't been to before.
      Rosie

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  4. Right...I would love to visit all the Scandinavian countries and include Finland in that following a stopover in Helsinki a couple of years ago. Once that is done - I'm off to the Far East, starting with Korea and then working my way through Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand etc. When I've unpacked that suitcase I shall head off to Samarkand, hopefully on horseback. Having recovered from all of that, I will travel to Rome once a month for a year. Just for fun I will re-visit Sardinia where I went as a child. A stay in Amsterdam, using the train services to visit other parts of surrounding areas will be a pleasant autumn jaunt and I shall then spend May and June in Greece. I think that is it. All I need is a cool lottery win and a new suitcase. Done!

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  5. Like Leslie in Oregon , we don't like to leave our dogs for long now . I'm going to Prague with my sisters this year & hubbie will be visiting WW1 sites in France with a group of friends . We may leave the dogs with sitters & have a few days in some European city . There was a great deal of travel in the past , organized by us & traveling independently . Most of Europe at first but later further afield . Highlights were safaris in Africa , three trips to India , many fly drives to the US , beautiful Bali & Thailand . Like you , we love walking & Crete was great for that . The foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal were spectacular & not difficult . But then Majorca has a wonderful network of old paths & tracks . Spain inland is really special with amazing cities plus unspoilt towns & villages . Our favorites were Cordoba , Ronda & Cuenca . Now we dog walk in Scotland & love that too . It will be interesting to see your itinerary .
    Wendy in York

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  6. I'm thinking Britain. If you are considering walking in Britain, take a look at HF Walking Holidays Site. They have lovely guesthouses throughout Britain and you can do guided or self-guided walks. I do a variety of trips myself and some other more local trips with my husband. Before I am too old, I would like to visit South America but it would be on a tour as I have no friends who want to go. I'd like to take my daughter to Shetland to meet the relatives and she would like take a river cruise on the Danube. Travel takes time, planning and money as well as emotional
    and physical resilience. I'll look forward to the reveal!

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  7. I have had a 'plan' in mind for ages...I think you can fly Van to Milan direct. Take the train across northern Italy to Venice, visit Commissario Brunetti a while :), then to Croatia (the thought of you and D together gives me such joy!), then back to Rome for visiting with family.

    Unless you're 'just' going to Paris in which case I will meet you there, next month.

    Can hardly wait to hear what you are going to do...

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    1. I think I was overexcited when I wrote this, and it might not make sense.

      The 'plan' I outline is for you, and Pater. Paris is for me, IRL. My wildest travel dreams involve peace-making on the world stage, time travel, and more money than I could ever imagine.

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  8. Me too. Too many trips in me head. South America was a biggie for Stu, but I was not that enthused. Then we went and had an amazing time. Italy next for Stu and me, I think. I've never been and it's my turn to choose. A two week trip to England is maybe in the works with by buddy Elizabeth. Maybe this fall. And about Croatia... if you go without Pater...take me, take me. I'd love to meet Dottotessa too.

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  9. Travel is so wonderful. I love your list. Our flights are booked for this year. Landing in Frankfurt....staying in southern Germany for about four nights and heading to Belgium..Bruges for sure. We then drive around northern France following the coast to Normandy into Spain and back to our usual stomping grounds the South of France.
    We will be poking along and mostly making it up as we go along.
    Looking forward to hearing your plans and picking your brain.....

    Ali

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  10. I would suggest the UK is your destination but will wait and see...
    it is such fun planning a trip and you have been fortunate to travel quite a bit these past few years.

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  11. I'm guessing London. If it is, do go to the Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) at Dulwich Picture Gallery (such a gem of a gallery, good cafe, and an easy short train trip into south London, and Sussex Modernism at Two Temple Place. They were on our list for a cancelled due to illness trip to London last month, so if you can see them that will be a slight consolation!

    Oooh, a travel wish list! Lovely to read other people's lists. Mine would be: Haida Gwaii, the Faroes, Svalbard, Mongolia, Bhutan, New Zealand, and closer to home: long walks across the Sussex Downs, the Scilly Isles, Shropshire and the Welsh Marches, the Outer Hebrides, Coll, Tiree, Orkney and Shetland. Can you tell I like border lands/places on the edge of the world? I've been to Shetland twice and long to return.

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    1. London is also paradise on earth for anyone who reads in English, but I don't think you want to accumulate a great many books at this stage of your life, when you can also borrow so many books from the Vancouver system and university interlibrary loan...

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    2. It's so true, Lagatta -- book-buying is such a temptation, and I could spend hours and hours and hours -- oh, let's be honest, days and days -- in London's bookstores. But at this stage of my life, my bookshelves in our condo already overflowing and the library just across the street. . . . I'm glad I force on myself the restriction of "carry-on" only, or I'd be in trouble... ;-)

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  12. I am not quite sure whether the options mentioned in your post are still on the table or have already been discarded in favour of something completely different. Therefore I refrain from guessing and patienly wait for the BIG DISCLOSURE.
    My Future Plans for Travel Notebook has three sections:
    1. Places I have visited before and would love to see again: London & Oxford, Wales, Scotland (Glasgow!), Lima, Costa Rica, Mexico City, the South of Italy, Rome, Venice, Lisbon, Istambul, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Basel...
    2. Places I have never been before: Greece, Sweden, Canada, Poland...
    3. Long distance hikes: the "European Long Distance Path" from the Danish border to Switzerland (or even scross the Alps), along the Welsh Coast, across Scotland...

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    1. Eleonore, we have several long distance ways in Scotland. There's the Great Glen Way, from Fort William in the west up to Inverness in the north east, following the line of the Great Glen Fault through rugged scenery and up Loch Ness; the Speyside Way, following the river Spey through mountains and past whisky distilleries to the sea; the West Highland Way (what it says)....My daughter and I had hoped to walk across Scotland from Iona to St Andrews this summer, following a pilgrim way, but the route isn't developed yet for through walkers i.e. those doing the whole thing in one. It's coming, tho. Instead we're walking the St Cuthbert Way, from the abbeys of the Scottish Borders down through Northumberland to the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne. Let me know if you plan a Scottish visit at any time - I'm training as a tourist guide at the moment and could give you some tips!

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    2. Thank you very much, Linda!

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  13. Must confess to a complete fascination with Dottoressa and her life:the posts she wrote, the clothes she describes wearing, the cultural events she enjoys in her city, her gorgeous turn of phrase here and there...wish I could meet her. You have formed a friendship, so I am hoping you are visiting her country and brushing up against her life for a short while. Whatever you do, know it will be richly enjoyed. You know how to live, Frances. I am admiring your pluck and desire to embrace life.
    The photo-last post-of your grand-daughter, hands on tutu-ed hips made me laugh; such purpose and determination in one pose. A photo that shouts a thousand words.
    A.in London

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    1. A.in my favourite city in the world-thank you so much :-)
      I don't think that I'm leading an exciting life (except visiting hospitals a lot with my father lately :-)) at all now-grass is always greener on the other side,as usual
      Dottoressa

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  14. Interested to find out where you're off to next Frances! I've thought about emailing you re some connections I keep spotting in your posts ... We both travelled from Yorkshire to Glasgow in our early teens ...visited Redcar Race course ...my first date with my now husband! and had parents/grandparents who grew up in Middlesbrough!Wondering if we may have any other connections?
    Having said that I didn't have to travel independently across the Atlantic first! Also, like you, having married at a fairly young age I'm considering that I should try some independent travel at some time as I was always very independent and keen to explore new areas pre marriage ...
    Hope you're having a good week.
    Rosie

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    1. So interesting, Rosie. Yes, if you find a minute do email me (fsproutATgmailDOTcom) and we can compare notes).

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    2. I will do Frances! Travelling in California at the moment so it may be a couple of weeks but I'll certainly be in touch. Interested to explore any possible connections!
      Rosie

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    3. ps I'd love to meet Dottoressa too!
      Hi Dottoressa! :)

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    4. It would be great! I'd love to meet you,too
      D.

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    5. It would be lovely if we could all meet up somewhere, sometime. Maybe London ..
      Rosie

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  15. Dottoressa, You may feel, with care-taking of your father, that life presently lacks excitement. Have been there; I understand. But,I notice, as the casual reader of your comments for some time, that you squeeze every bit of richness from life in general:the cultural events, time with friends, etc. that is humanly possible. You add a good deal with your warm, insightful comments to posts here, letting your strong spirit come through.
    It is not everyone who can write so the reader can "hear" the writer's voice, but you definitely have that knack.
    Maybe one day you will be visiting your favorite city again and we will meet. In the meantime, it has been a pleasure to meet you here!
    A. in London

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    1. To which I will add "Hear, hear," Dottoressa!
      Well said, A. in London.

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    2. Such a lovely comment A ...I second ...or third! that

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    3. Thank you,thank you and thank you all :-)
      Looking forward to visit London and it would be great to meet you
      D.

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  17. We just returned from a 16-day trip via transatlantic cruise to Portugal, with which I am now besotted. For those who've not yet been to Lisbon and are considering a trip there, may I recommend one spot to visit -- the Culbenkian Museum. It's digestible (in size), restful (with dark, cool gardens), comprehensive but not overwhelming (5,000 years of the founder's carefully curated collection and modern collections). Such a lovely museum!

    https://gulbenkian.pt/museu/en/

    Ann

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    1. I love Lisbon, and would love to get back there. Never got inside the Gulbenkian but wandered the courtyard garden one hot day as a break from an amazing Book Fair held on the adjoining street

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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