Our first big trip together as a family (2014-15, ten months, twelve countries) was formally christened Le Grand Voyage. It was nifty, and afforded us dozens of once in a lifetime experiences.
Planning for our next expedition began on day 1 of our return (the longing began 1010 days ago). But as so many things travel related do, there have been many iterations of the plan. The current plan, for various reasons, now sees us breaking up our next (current) travel year in half. (Long story short, I got myself a fabulous teaching gig in HS Math, I want to keep it, and am willing to work a semester I don’t have to, in order to keep it.)
So we now have Parti Deux, the second chapter of our travel story. I call this Le Petit Voyage, and it begins in nine days.
This is what trip planning for Le Petit Voyage looks like; a lot of coffee, notes, and hand drawn maps of the Rhine River as it flows through Hesse in Germany.
And here’s where we sit. At present. Subject to change, no doubt.
1. Amsterdam, July 10-13
We’re into Amsterdam on the 10th, and spending few days puttering around and doing the tourist thing. I’ve been before, but it will be the girls’ first time, so a lot of walking around the Grachten (canals), museums, Anne Frank House, and one place I missed on my first tour of duty, the Heineken Experience. We’re at a not inexpensive Air BnB for four nights, 969 CAD, on an island about 15 minutes by bus from Dam Square. (You know, they put the “Damn” into Amsterdam.)
2. Den Haag, July 14-22
Our fabulous friends, whom we met in Thailand and later on at Le Bourget, near Paris, are hosting us for ten days. They have some (what they call) canoe trips lined up, some beach time, and day trips out to Rotterdam, Leiden, and around. This is one fabulous family, and I hope to share their story, if they allow it. In has to do with the Vietnamese diaspora, wonderfully world wise kids (who speak five languages), and much more.
3. Wiesbaden, Germany July 23-30
Wiesbaden is my Mom’s (and my Opi’s) home town. I figure that for my first trip into Germany, I ought to pay it homage. We’re staying with the family of an exchange student at my High School. I described a bit of how this happened on Facebook:
So many opportunities here, including a cruise (on their own boat) down the Rhine, castles, hiking, etc etc. It’s another chance to experience the country from the point of view of people who actually live here. It’s our preferance, actually (although I don’t mind at all being a traditional tourist, either).
Departure time from Wiesbaden is… indeterminate, but leads to
4. Prague, Czech Republic, July 31 – August 5
La Fille ™ an I have always wanted to get to Prague. I came close (Slovakia, back in 2005), but this is our year. We’ll spend about a week here doing as tourists do. My colleague Krista had some time on her hands and wrote us up a bit of an itinerary. It revolved heavily around chocolate and beer.
5. Munchen, Germany August 6 – 10
Geography dictates that we visit Prague first, then back into Germany. Tourists once again, exploring castles (hello Neuschwanstein!), Bayerischer Wald, the beer gardens, the English Garden, Dachau, and the Hofbrauhaus. Nothing wrong be being a tourist.
6. Salsomaggiore Terme, August 11 – ??? (between the 17 and the 20th)
We’ve spent a lot of time in Italia, and this will be our third visit there. We’ve driven south through Calabria, the middle around Perugia, a LOT of Toscana, but this will be our first experience in the north, between Parma and Milano. Why Salsomaggiore Terme? Why that’s an interesting question, now that you ask. What, it’s not on your top ten Italy list?
Well, last August, we met some folks. They were Italian. From northern Italy. (See where this is going?) Well, we invited them home to Calgary, where we taught them the finer skills of marshmallow roasting. They were so impressed, they invited us over. And so there you go.
7. Gylfada, August 20 – 27
Almost home. Our second home, I’d like to think, in Glyfada just outside of Athens. Meeting up with the parental units there and doing some day tripping around. It will have been four long years since we were last there, and we miss it terribly. The food, the vibe… the french fries in gyros. The bread and feta!
8. Home August 28
We arrive back in YYC on Tuesday at 7:40 pm or so. 49 days, five countries and seven cities. It never gets old, and we never take this for granted.
I begin the new semester work the next day.
Good thing I did a lot of photocopying before I left.