Monday, January 27, 2014

Europe Here we come!!

europeOver the past three and a half years we have been talking about a trip to Europe putting away money and buying Euros to make it all affordable.  The goal is to have it totally paid for prior to the first trip down the runway.   Scheduled for May 2013 but then postponed,  I was not sure it would happen at all but as August approached I realized this trip of a life time would actually be coming true. Hotels are researched and deposits are paid as transportation to get us from place to place is booked and an itinerary begins to form.  Thanks to Ricardo who is our most seasoned Europe traveler,  he spent several hours preparing all of the major plans for us.  For me this is a treat as I am normally the planner in the group and I have to keep reminding myself to let go and let Ricardo.  The date is set for August 2013 with everyone arriving on the 29th.  I will be traveling by myself from the United States and meeting up with the rest of my traveling companions.  Since I have friend s in Wales, I decide to look for a flight a few days earlier to visit them and check out the Welch countryside.   June soon arrives and with the final hotels reserved it is time to find my ticket across the pond.  I hold off seeing if there are any deals but they seem far and few in between.
Travel_with_Patti_logoIt is July and I finally decide I must just go ahead and use sky miles to get my ticket finalized.  August twenty second is my date of departure with an October 2 return date.  38 days – who does that? Although I keep thinking this is too much time away, I continue to learn from my Brazilian friends how to relax a little and be ok with taking the time to enjoy.  I move forward with plans and the final purchase of Euro’s is made as the details fall into place.   The 22nd seems to come quickly and the only obstacle now is packing.  We are all attempting to travel with just a backpack and one carry on.  Wow – how much can I fit into a carry on for a month away and what do I need to bring?  What will the weather be like?  At least there will be Laundromats and some of our stays will be in apartments surely allowing us to wash some clothes on our way. 

1234780_10201673890587226_151910214_n1175609_10201673801625002_1776582575_nI reach out to my friends in Wales and they seem excited to host me.  My first stop is Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for 6 days.  The 22nd of August arrive,  I catch a ride to the airport and settle in as my flight to Boston and then across the pond to London are both first class.  I will try and enjoy this as I figure out the rules to my new traveling surroundings.  The flight to Boston is quick and first class is not terribly different then coach.  Once I arrive I have a few hours to kill on my layover so I seek out the sky lounge and enjoy a snack and some free internet.   Since it was a several hour lay over, the sky lounge was a nice perk of first class.  The hours with the help of internet pass quickly and soon my flight to London begins boarding.  I find my seat "4B" at the front of the plane and store my things in the overhead compartment.  A Tumi travel kit awaits me on the seat along with a lovely pillow, a blanket that will probably be too warm for me and plenty of leg room in front.  I settle in and soon the stewardess hands me a glass of champagne and a menu for my dinner selection. I could get used to this service but really don’t want to get spoiled.  The doors are closed and all passengers are on board.  The plane takes off for our five hour flight.  The time difference between London and Boston is five hours so soon it is early morning London time and I hope to get some sleep.  I want to make the time adjustment as soon as possible as there is a lot of sightseeing to do.   … more to come..