January 18, 2012

0 Travels and Trips to Europe

I'm starting to feel more and more desperate as our time here winds down.
There are so many places to see,
histories to discover,
and festivals to celebrate

and I'm not done yet.

We have giant maps of England and Wales, Scotland, and Europe
and have been marking off places we've been.
We're not checklist people;
we agree that seeing one place in depth is more pleasing 
than seeing five places "wham, bam, thank-you-ma'am" style (my words- sorry, Mom!).

There is so much of Europe.

And then there's the rest of the world.

We're trying, doing our best,
and I'm reminding myself daily (multiple times a day)
to be grateful for the opportunities we've had already.

But there's so much more!

Right now I'm trying to plan a trip to Amsterdam at the end of April, to see the tulip festival.
Paul can get a whole week off, so we're going to see if we can do Amsterdam and maybe another city, too. 
Brugge?  Brussels? The Hague?
And should we fly and train between cities, 
or ferry and drive?
So many decisions.

We've got a trip to Bulgaria in February, 
and we're both jump-out-of-our-skin excited for it.
We're meeting some friends of ours who live in Germany
for a week of skiing at Bansko. 
(truth time: I'm not skiing; I decided back in Idaho that cold, falling, and broken tailbones are not for me.)
Paul and I are flying into Sofia, 
and have a couple of days planned for sightseeing there.
This trip will be more about fun and hanging out with friends,
but, of course, we'll fit some sites and museums into our time!

I've found that I absolutely love Eastern Europe.
Western Europe has so much to offer, and I definitely want to see as much of 
Germany, Italy, Spain, France, etc. as I can;
but Eastern Europe has such a refreshing mix of old and new- 
baby-new- most of the new is younger than me.
Eastern European cities and countries are so eager to show off their homelands,
whereas Western Europe is so aware of its greatness that at times it is aloof and distant.
Western Europe's greatness is well-earned and deserved,
 but the feeling of rubbing off decades of communist oppression to display
beautiful architecture and accessible sites unencumbered by hundreds of thousands of tourists
has endeared Eastern Europe in my heart.

There are so many countries left.

We haven't made it to Scandinavia yet.
This is a problem for me.
I want to see the fjords; I want to see the reindeer.
I want to visit the tundra and go numb from the beauty- although it'd probably be the cold.
I want to hike the cliffs (okay, maybe just one!) and I want to float down a glacial river.
They are expensive countries to visit, though.
So they might have to wait.
Wait until we've got a little more saved, 
and we can take a few weeks to immerse ourselves in Scandinavia.

One trip at a time-
and I'm going to love each one.

*note: I'm using the British version of "Europe" here, meaning the Continent.  We're both quite entertained by the firm belief here that England, Scotland, and Wales are not part of "Europe."  I'm not sure how the Northern Irish feel about it; and I didn't ask in Ireland- they're EU, but are they part of "Europe"?  Who knows...
Anyway, there'll be a post like this on Great Britain soon- we've still got a lot of this island left to see!

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