It’s been a few weeks since I paid for my flight, but I’ve been a little reluctant to make it official. If, to me, it’s official once I write a blog post on it… well, then, I guess this makes it official. On April 17th, I head back to Europe, to backpack around the continent, almost 15 years since my epic 2 month trip in 1998.
Here’s a little run-down on what I have planned for this 24 day adventure.
As it was in 1998, I found the cheapest USA to Europe option through Icelandair. Flying with Iceland’s National carrier added a bonus, one that most people don’t know about- any flight from the USA to Europe can include a stopover of up to seven days at no extra cost.
I did this stopover back in 1998, but it was only a two-day stopover, and due to crippling nerves, jetleg, and a memorable meal on the first night, I wasn’t able to make the most of that stopover, but Iceland certainly caught my imagination then, and has been on my mind ever since.
I’m planning on seeing both Reykjavik, The Blue Lagoon, and The Golden Circle, which I saw last time around. I did The Golden Circle on a day trip from Reykjavik, like so most people do- this time, I’m going to rent a car and hopefully that will allow me more time to see the sights, and avoid the crowds. The rental car will hopefully give me some freedom on the third day of my four-day stopover to get even more adventurous.
Ohhh, Amsterdam. My relationship with this city is far too complicated for one blog post (for any blog post really), but I’m excited to be going back. I’m going to be making the most of my two days in the city. I’m not going to go into too much detail here but I will be revisiting the Aalsmeer Flower Market, one of the most fascinating excursions I have even done… anywhere. I’m also pumped for my time in Amsterdam, because, if the plans go as planned, I’ll be spending the time there with one of my favorite virtual friends and a gifted blogger. More on that once they book their flight
I’m not giving up much here (mostly because I’m still working on some pretty awesome stuff), but I have 2 1/2 days in the beer capital of the world. There are plenty of hints there, but that’s all you’re getting now.
This is where the itinerary gets a little complicated. As of now, and there is still a lot of room for movement for during these days, I plan on doing a Rhine Cruise (which I did in 1986 & 1997), and hopefully visiting some more of my blogger friends (although this is still up in the air and not something I’m announcing until plans are more sure)…
… and an afternoon in Munich as well. That should be enough for a visit to the Hofbrauhaus, one of my best memories (twice) from 1998.
I did a lot with this itinerary to include Venice, and I’m still not positive I’ll be able to pull it off. There a few places, on a continent of singular places, that are as singular as Venice. I intend to get every minute out of this day long visit.
I’ve only been to Florence of these three. I wasn’t going back to Europe without visiting the Cinque Terre, and much like my day in Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand last year, I have some days built-in to make sure I’m able to maximize the weather conditions. That’s no guarantee, but I hope for the best.
My three days in Switzerland will be dominated by two amazing train trips- The Wilhelm Tell Express & The Golden Pass. Schedule permitting (and weather and about 1000 other factors) I’ll come back with some pretty amazing pictures.
I end in Paris, since that is where my flight home leaves from. I have 4 1/2 days in France, and some of the time will be spent in Paris, but I also hope to visit two places that have long been on my bucket list- Mont Saint Michel and the D-Day Beaches of Normandy. Hopefully I have enough money left by the end of the trip to pull it off.
When I got back from New Zealand last June, I had my whole sights focused on finding a way to return to New Zealand. Somewhere over the year, I began consider a return to Europe, especially since it had been so long. As excited as I am about this trip, it’s hard for me to imagine any trip being as awesome as last year’s to New Zealand was.
As you can see from the pictures in this post, almost all of my Europe picture were shot with my old point and shoot film camera. They are decent for the time, but they do not scan well. In New Zealand, I had the opportunity to photograph many amazing landscapes. Europe provides a different photographic challenge, and that, I think, was the factor that made the decision for me.
I’ll have more pre-trip posts coming up in the next few weeks.