Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas to everyone! I realize I’m about two months behind schedule, but better late than never. Aside from wishing you all a happy holiday season, I also missed celebrating a major milestone for this wee blog: surpassing 20,000 reads. Thanks guys!!I’ve been slacking a bit with my writing because, really, this is a travel blog dedicated to chronicling my journeys and I haven’t gone anywhere since last September. Since then I’ve been busy with work and life, and in all honestly I haven’t really been that motivated to post anything because I didn’t foresee any trips in my near future (trying to be an adult and save money/pay off school debt…yadda yadda). However, that has now changed and I have not one, but two trips coming up in the next six weeks.
First up will be my birthday celebration in Canada’s great capital, Ottawa. I will be travelling with my boyfriend to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play against the Ottawa Senators (both hockey teams for those who are unfamiliar with the sport that we Canadians live and breathe). It’ll be a quick trip, however I’ve never spent a sufficient amount of time in Ottawa before (I know, shame on me), so I will be researching things to do and see for our day and a half there. I’m very excited as this will be my first NHL game (I know, again, shame on me), and I’m going to see if I can pull some strings for us to stay in the beautiful, fortress-like Fairmont Château Laurier. Fingers crossed!
The next day my guy and I will drive home to Toronto, and that night the mister will see me off at the airport as I make my way to meet up with my best friend, Lauren. She’s the only reason why I’m taking any international trips at all this year.
See, we have this tradition that we started about five years ago… Back in 2009, Lauren moved to Australia to study medicine. She’s lived there ever since, but every couple of years she comes home for a few weeks to visit. During these visits we normally go away for some quality time. The first trip took us to Cuba (it was in January, Toronto sucks in January and we wanted beach, turquoise waters and heat). The second trip took us back to Cuba, mainly because we organized a group trip so Lauren could spend time with her Toronto friends (I also love Cuba). This time around, however, we’re going much, much farther from home.
We tossed around a number of ideas of where we could go: the south of Spain, Morocco, Hawaii, the Netherlands, Ireland…but then my finger started tracing more eastern parts of the map. Not as far east as say, China or India, but still the farthest east I have ever been. A co-worker suggested Prague and something in my brain clicked. “Yes”, I thought, “Prague needs to be visited”. Then I thought of Vienna, only a few hours away by train. Then my brain just went crazy as I looked at all the countries in the area that were all literally just hours away from each other by train.
The one downside of this beautiful nation that I live in is that it’s HUGE. We share a border with one country and it takes a week to travel across it by car or train. Me being in Europe is the equivalent to a kid being in a candy store — I WANT IT ALL. It’s all within reach and I want to see it all!
So I brazenly came up with a really crazy itinerary and showed it to Lauren, not really expecting her to accept it (it really is crazy). Within a minute her response was “Let’s do it!” and the planning for our whirlwind tour of Europe was officially underway.
Lauren and I will be visiting six countries in twelve days. Neither of us know when we’ll get the chance to do a trip of this caliber again, so we’re cramming in as much as possible! Our itinerary isn’t set in stone yet, but we’ll be visiting Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic. Then on my way home I have a 19 hour layover in London, which will allow me a quick day trip to the city! I haven’t been to England since I was about two years old. Needless to say, I don’t remember a damned thing and I don’t even count it towards the list of countries I’ve visited. But now I will! 😉
So really for me it’ll be seven new countries to add to my list once this journey is over. An hour ago it didn’t feel that real, but after writing this I’m ecstatic. I have a few ideas of attractions I’d like to see once we’re there, so I’ll share these with you all in the coming weeks. I do only have five weeks to go before this chaos begins though, so I better get my ass in gear and start booking hostels and making plans!
It’ll be so epic we probably won’t be able to top a trip of this proportion again unless I went to Australia and we toured the whole continent, but that idea will have to wait for another year.
Europe, we’re coming for ya!