I didn’t venture out during April break–I don’t know why–I kept looking for a vacation until 5 days before the break. I found some fabulous deals weeks beforehand, but I didn’t pull the trigger because we had snow forecasted–blizzards actually (which busted up to some heavy winds and rain). Then I waited for my tax return so I could pay off my SE Asia trip in June/July off first. Then I found an alternative itinerary of paths less ventured and I still didn’t book the darn thing because–I don’t know why. At work, I’m known to travel frequently and often in the halls or mailroom I’m asked where I plan to visit on the next trip. I cracked under the pressure. Also, my options are more limited because of my own rules. I’m trying to see new places and not go back to the same countries. I’ve visited England 7-8 times and I still long to visit certain regions of the country that I’ve missed. There are several cities in both Italy and Spain that I want to spend some time in, but I want to check off some new places first.
So I’m sitting here looking at airfares since I read a report that due to United and Delta making some poor PR moves, airfares are plummeting. Well, I found some fantastic deals. I searched, planned, and booked (no hesitations) not just one trip but TWO trips!
This summer I’ll be spending time in both Berlin and Munich. I’ll be gone about 2 weeks and that includes a Berlin-Munich flight so as to not cut into my sightseeing time if I traveled by train. I’m very excited. I’ve been intending (good intentions and all) to visit Germany several times since 2010 when I walked into a travel agency and booked my first solo (non English speaking country) trip. I asked for Germany, but the Vienna and Prague trip was so much more competitively priced that money spoke (shouted actually).
I’m finally going to Germany–it has such a diversified yet unified history. The different regions of Germany are so distinct and well developed. When Bismarck unified Germany, he was smart–he focused on the main aspects of the German principalities that unified the people (religion, language, and geography and he provided the nationalism) yet he allowed them to retain their regional identities.
In Berlin, I’ll be interested in the WWII/Cold War Era history as well the unification in the 1860-1870s. Visits to Brandenburg Gate, the Wall, the Checkpoint Charlie, and the Reichstag are all on the agenda. I love me a pretty church despite not being particularly religious and I’ll be on the lookout for the beautiful architecture all around the city. Aside from that, I need to do more research to see what else I may want to include in my itinerary.
In Munich, I’ll be beer tasting and enjoying Bavarian culture. I do plan on taking a detour for a somber field trip to Dachau concentration camp. I taught world history for 15 years and I can’t be this close to an actual concentration camp and not go. Wherever I’ve been in Europe, there’s been a Holocaust memorial and I always go. I waited on line for hours to see the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam when I couldn’t obtain online tickets for my time in the city. To say I enjoyed the museum would sound weird, but I’m glad I saw it. I read The Diary of Anne Frank several times in college for different classes and to actually be there was humbling. To see the heights of Anne and her sister marked on the wall and Anne’s celebrity pictures still pasted to the wall was sad. I think the concentration camp will be more impactful about the horrors of the Holocaust, “WOW–people executed this horror upon millions of people and here’s the evidence.” Outside of meandering through Munich and taking in the city, I have to do more research about other sights to see.
In early fall, I will be going to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. “Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.” I had 4 days and it had to be a small city that I could be satisfied with 4 days of sightseeing. And the price had to be right. I narrowed it down to three choices: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; Bologna, Italy; and Tallin, Estonia. Two locations had free breakfast and better flight times for my schedule. One was much cheaper on the surface until you take into consideration the hotel tax you pay at the hotel (it added about $30 to the total plus no free breakfast here). So after juggling the pros and cons a few times– Luxembourg City won. I don’t know much about Luxembourg and how it maintained its sovereignty surrounded by Belgium, Germany, & France. I think I’ll learn a lot more about 19th C European politics than before. I do know that despite the short stay–I will be sacrificing a day for a detour to Trier, Germany. It’s possibly the oldest city in Germany and known to be quite lovely. Lots of medieval architecture to admire. It’s only an hour away by train and it’s no where in the vicinity to Munich or Berlin when I visit Germany in August.
And I know the next trip after Luxembourg City will be Tokyo & Kyoto, Japan in February. I started the research for that trip already. It won’t be a solo trip and it’s not solely a sightseeing trip either. My friend hopes to run the Tokyo Marathon. I’m joining her for some of the international marathons as she hopes to earn the World Marathon Medal. There are specifics to this trip that are unusual to my usual jaunts so I figured I should see if we can book sooner rather than later. We are still discussing the particulars as the best time to book the trip (now) doesn’t align with when my friend finds out if she has a spot in the race.
That’s my planned adventures until next spring. Who knows where I might find myself next April break…..