I know it’s strange, but I really love planning trips. You have all the magic of travelling, without the stressful aspects (jetlag, airport security, ensuring your bags aren’t over 23kg, etc) that can put you in a bad mood while you’re away.
I think that I finally have my post-HSC plans sorted. I had my mind set on a Contiki tour for a while, and eventually found a trip that was perfect for me – a lot of the tours visited similar countries, but few visited precisely all of the ones I was hoping to see; Spain, Czech Republic, Venice, Germany – it was hard to find one that covered such varied ground. However, I found the right tour, and I was ecstatic. I still am. Admittedly, the time spent in each country isn’t particularly long – I was especially sad about the limited time spent in Paris. But while looking on the Contiki website, I discovered something amazing – a tour that focused on London and Paris, running for just over a week. Absolutely brilliant.
The way I have it planned at the moment, I’ll leave Australia on November 10th or so, to arrive in London by the 12th, for the commencement of the first mini-tour. Then 3 nights are spent in London, with 5 spent in Paris. During this mini tour, with more freedom in Paris (the Paris extension of the tour is unsupervised), I’m hoping to do things that would have taken too much time had I only been doing the one, longer tour – perhaps visiting Monet’s house at Giverny, or queueing up with the masses and heading inside the Musée du Louvre, or making the thrill-seeker inside of me happy with a trip to Disneyland Paris. Whatever I end up doing, I know it will be amazing, because after 9 years, I’ll be back in Paris. There’s certainly a reason it attracts more tourists than any other city, and I’m intending to find out why. I also hope I can pick up some French while I’m there – lately, I’ve been regretting the fact that I dropped French at the end of year 8, and it’d be wonderful if I could speak a bit of a foreign language again.
Once that tour is over, it’s back to London for 3 days, and then on November 23rd, the second, longer tour departs. This tour, called Winter Wanderer, starts in London, and then goes to Paris, Lucerne, Lyon, Barcelona, French Riviera, Florence, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Munich, Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam. So many amazing cities packed into this 24 day trip! I’m hoping it will be as amazing as it sounds. I am so glad I discovered this tour – I’m so happy with all the countries it goes to, whereas with the other tours, I would have had to settle for not visiting a country I really had my heart set on.
I realise I sound terribly spoilt, but I’m really grateful that my parents understand how important this is to me. They’re really to blame for my love of travelling – because of Mum working in Ireland, the first time I left the country was at the age of 4! Since then, I’ve travelled a fair bit – multiple times to the USA, a couple of times to various European countries like the UK, Ireland, France, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, with stopovers in Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong in between. Honestly, all that exposure to so many countries and cultures from such a young age – I really do believe it’s all affected how I am as a person – in a good way, I hope. It’s certainly meant I have the travel bug something terrible!
I hope that now I have this all sorted, we can book the trip soon, and I can put it to the back of my mind with a label marked “Do not open until after the HSC!” which will, for me, be an early Christmas indeed. November 4th could not come soon enough – now all there is to harness this, use it as motivation, and make sure I get a mark in the HSC that we can all be happy about.