The last time I ventured through Europe was back in 2009.
We were attending a wedding in Avignon, France, and I had left all the planning to Derek. After about 24 hours of traveling, we arrived literally minutes before the wedding began, ditching our luggage in some corner of the Catholic church where the ceremony was taking place. We had changed from comfy travel clothes into wedding attire at the train station. And it was a near miracle we found the place; Derek had forgotten the name of the church.
Fast forward four years.
We’re going to Europe again for a wedding, this time in London. And though Derek is planning most of the trip, I’m confident he’s learned from the last one. He booked the flights well ahead of time — we’re getting there most than a week before the actual wedding — and he’s confirmed all the train rides and hotels already.
So far, so good.
It’s weird to leave the planning to others. Not that I’m a control freak — hardly! — but I’m so used to traveling by myself or being the one in the group to arrange everything.
When I was younger, I would be the one making airplane and hotel reservations, booking activities and printing out the itinerary for the entire trip, complete with confirmation codes, hotel information and emergency contacts. Anal, maybe. But being organized is very handy.
Now, though, I don’t seem to plan as much or as intently. For example, the only thing I’m sure about on this two-week trip to Europe — I’m also spending another week in Japan, but more on that later — is a side trip to Amsterdam to visit my far-flung friend, Allison Kim, and her two dogs, Moki and Darwin.
But even then, I haven’t planned a thing, save for a visit to a local cheese farm. And even that I haven’t booked yet.
Scary when you think that I’m leaving for Europe tomorrow morning.
We’ll be spending time in London and Paris, too, two cities I’ve already been to. I’ve seen the British Museum, Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, the Crown Jewels, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Jardin des Tuileries, Napoleon’s grave, and the Arc de Triomphe. We saw a professional soccer game, ate crepes on the Champs-Élysées, walked along the Seine River, and sampled the fish and chips in a London pub.
This time around, I just want to hang out and eat, maybe read a book or bike along a river.
It’s hard to plan a trip of doing nothing!
So if you have suggestions of places to visit and things to do I haven’t already done, post ’em here. It would be nice to have some direction!
Follow my #CatTravels adventures in Europe and Japan on Twitter @thedailydish and on Instagram @catherinetoth.