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Friday, January 13, 2017

Let the Planning Begin

I know more than a couple of my friends were disappointed that I didn't do a Europe trip last year, but there was just too much going on (and turned out to be far more than I expected when I made the decision not to travel).
Originally it was because Wayne and I were selling the property we owned in the Hill Country, and the ASDP conference was to be in Vancouver, BC. It turned out that 2016 would also be the year we ended a 19 year marriage and I would move to my own place for the first time in 22 years.

I had planned all along to visit Europe this year, even before all the major changes.
This may be my last big trip for awhile, though. I'm getting up there in years and should really save something for retirement...

So here are my plans for this trip:

Depart AUS (Austin, TX) April 6th
Arrive LHR (London, UK) April 7th (boy do I love direct flights!)

Night train to Edinburgh April 7th (This way I cover a night's stay and transport in one go)
I'll stay here for 6 nights:  Period Georgian Flat In Central Edinburgh

From Edinburgh, I'll fly to Paris. I'll work from the Homelidays office for the week.
I'll be staying on one of the two islands in the middle of the Seine in this apartment:
Crazy View on Ile de la Cite

Next, I'll take the EuroStar (the one that goes through the Chunnel) back to London.
I'll work a couple of days and spend a couple of days looking at historical costumes with the lovely Rachel Kurland and hang out with her and her charming husband, David McWilliams.
I'll stay in this apartment in London:
Great Location - Marylebone Apartment

I'll head back to Austin on the 28th just in time to attend Phantom of the Opera on the 29th.

For people who don't know me, or know about my fondness for staying in vacation rentals:

I've been renting apartments since 2003 when my ex and I stayed in the center of Florence, and in 2004 in the Marais in Paris. That sold me on vacation rentals. Little did I know that I would end up in Austin, working at the best Vacation Rental company in the world, HomeAway.

Why do I like them better than hotels?
The list is pretty long, but here's a few reasons:

  1. Breakfast: It is so expensive to eat breakfast out when traveling, and I don't want to have to get dressed before I have my first cup of coffee. I tend to eat a pretty light breakfast, and am pretty particular about what I eat. Yogurt(even organic),  fruit and granola bar shouldn't cost $15, but in a restaurant, it usually does. Same goes for a snack and glass of wine. We're not taking a few euros/pounds--the difference can buy a whole 'nother bottle of wine. ;)
  2. Live like a local: I like to get a sense of what it's like to live in the places I visit, and that's hard to do in a hotel. I also find it is easier to maintain my own routine if I'm in a place more like a home. 
  3. Laundry. $50 bucks!!! that's what most airlines now charge for a second bag (heck, I'm paying $25 to check my one bag from Scotland to Paris). A washing machine in each apartment means I can bring fewer clothes and carry a smaller bag. This is really important when you like to travel by train (I LOVE train travel). What do I do with what I buy on the trip? I usually ship back dirty clothes and carry my treasures back with me on the plane. It costs about the same as an additional bag, but you don't have to schlep it to the airport. It arrives to your home after you get back. Like Christmas, except your own dirty clothes. Exciting, right!?
More soon as I work out details about what I'll do while I'm there...

Happy 2017,