Whenever we tell people that we’re moving abroad the first question they ask is: What are you going to do? Without skipping a beat, my answer is always: travel!
Given the close proximity of the countries in Europe, and the insanely cheap price of travel (at least by Canadian standards), I’m really looking forward to spending the next few month travelling and exploring as much as possible.
Although I’m excited to travel everywhere, I thought I’d narrow it down. So here they are, the top 10 places I’m excited to explore in 2015/16:
Spain. This might seem like a no-brainer since we’re going to be living there for a year, but I’m really excited to explore Spain. I’ve never been so I’m looking forward to travelling throughout, discovering all that Spain has to offer; from Asturias to the Altea, and everywhere in between.
Portugal. We hadn’t planned to start our adventure in Portugal, but when we found an insanely cheap overnight direct flight from Toronto, our decision was kind of made for us. So, we have 10 days to explore this beautiful coastal country. After spending a night in Lisbon, we’ll take the train up to Porto for a few days of exploring (and drinking wine!) and then it’s back to Lisbon where we’ll wander the capital. We have a couple of day trips planned to Sesimbra, Cascais and Sintra. I’m very excited; we haven’t had a real vacation in a while, so we’re both looking forward to relaxing ad taking in all of the beautiful Portuguese sights–and I’m embarrassingly excited to ride the funicular in Lisbon.
France. My family travelled to France in 1996. I was 10 and had no appreciation for where we were. We rented a farmhouse in the south and other than our daily trips into the city for cappuccinos (hot chocolate for me), I didn’t speak a word of French. The few times I did, I figured it was just my parent’s way of reinforcing that French Immersion was worth it. We did a bit of sightseeing—well, they did, I lay in the back of the car with my nose in a book… So, long story short, while I’ve physically been to France before I didn’t really experience France. Now that my French is rusty (seriously 10-year-old me, you had it so good back then!) I’m looking forward to going back and exploring Paris (and, if I play my cards right, taking in a match at the French Open), Nice, Cannes, and everywhere in between.
Germany. I’ve travelled through Munich and Berlin, neither was in the winter. This year, I’m obsessed with the idea of visiting Germany to experience the famous German Christmas Markets, and so much more.
The Czech Republic. 20 years ago I was in Prague visiting family. But given that I was 10, I didn’t really get to experience all the things Prague has to offer (nor did I really appreciate the things I was seeing at the times – seriously, 10-year-old Kate, you should have paid more attention!) So, both Dave and I have agreed this is one of our dream destinations.
Croatia. Have you seen photos of Croatia?! Need I say more. Croatia seriously looks like paradise.
Italy. Most of my travels in Europe have been in the north, so this time around I’m looking forward to exploring the southern countries, taking in the history, and indulging in the food.
Greece. We toyed with the idea of spending Christmas in the Greek Islands (my vote would be for Santorini), but even if that plan doesn’t come to fruition I plan on spending more than a few days exploring Greece. From the food to the history to sailing the islands there’s a lot I want to see of the Hellenic Republic.
UK. London has always been high on my travel list–my love of Wimbledon might be to blame. But aside from watching tennis, I can’t wait to wander throughout the UK–from Cardiff to Aberdeen to Dublin; who knows, if we play our cards right we might even make it to the Shetland Islands in time for Up Helly Ya (which coincidentally is happening on Dave’s 30th).
Netherlands. Up until a few years ago, the Netherlands wouldn’t have been on my list. But once I discovered my love of cruising around a bike, Amsterdam quickly shot up my list. I look forward to touring the canals, and possibly taking a river cruise.
BONUS: Stockholm. Always the planner, I already have it in my agenda to attend TBEX Europe 2016 in Stockholm. I first visited the Swedish capital back in 2012 and I completely fell in love with it and have been dreaming of going back for the past 3 years. So, when I saw that TBEX Europe was taking place there, I knew it was meant to be. While I’m looking forward to further exploring Stockholm, I plan on spending a few extra days in Sweden travelling south to Malmo. Becuase I’m a huge (nerd) fan of The Bridge, I am more than determined to incorporate a trip across the Øresund Bridge into my itinerary. When looking into travel options, I was surprised that it took the same amount of time to fly as it did to take the train, so to maximise the Swedish sights, I’ll most likely take the train, which passes through Linkoping. If Dave’s not busy attending his graduation ceremony, he’ll definitely be joining me on this adventure.
BONUS BONUS: Dave’s decided his wildcard choice is Lithuania; while it probably wouldn’t be one of my top choices, I’m definitely up for the adventure!
Anyone else planning on attending TBEX Europe this year (or is it too soon to ask)? Any other must-see places I should add to my list?
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