I’m a planner. That’s a well established fact. I make lists. I check things off. I plot. I scheme. I plan. I plan everything, from parts of my work day, to traveling adventures, to the order in which I intend to prepare for my day. Order puts me at ease, lowers my anxiety and helps trick me into a false sense of control. Planning is my jam.
Very soon I’m going to be heading across the Atlantic Ocean and embarking on what I’m choosing to call the Eating, Drinking, Wandering and Shenaniganizing Euro Trip of 2012. This trip, this magnificent trip planned to coincide with both my spring break and my 28th birthday, has been in the works for well over a year. It was supposed to happen last August, but it didn’t. It got pushed back and I got still more time to scheme and plot and plan for it.
This trip is a whirlwind. Andrew and I have good friends in Sweden who we’ve been anxious to visit because 1.) we love them, and 2.) they are the proud parents of the cutest baby girl in all the lands, and 3.) THEY LIVE IN FUCKING SWEDEN. So we knew that if we planned a trip to Europe, we had to visit Sweden, and given that flights to Europe are all expensive-like, we reasoned that we should pack as much action and adventure into our trip as humanly possible. So we’re visiting Paris & London too, plus Sweden, with a few days spent at each location.
In other words: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My favorite part of vacation planning is the hunt. I love stalking airfare prices. I love digging through hotel booking sites, searching for the best and most fabulous hotel for the smallest and most reasonable expense. I love breaking out my credit card, entering the numbers, and knowing that I’ve found the best deal available on the internets.
But, my planning has limits. I don’t like to over plan visits to cities. I always buy a guide book – ALWAYS – but it’s a rough guide. It’s like a friend who’s been there and visited and knows the local customs and can help me search out deals and destinations I’d otherwise never uncover, but it doesn’t rule me. I do my own thing, honey badger style, as usual.
The plan for this trip, given it’s exceptionally whirlwindish character, is to make a list. A short list of the things we MUST SEE and MUST EAT and MUST DO in each city we intend to visit, made up of no more than 5 items. There may be a subsequent or secondary list comprised of things we’d like to see, but that we won’t cry over too much if we get caught up in some other amazing sight and miss it.
EATING, DRINKING, WANDERING & SHENANIGANIZING: LONDON
1. SEE: Buckingham Palace. To me, this is the most quintessential British thing I could probably see in London.
2. SEE: Big Ben & The House of Parliament. In terms of iconic London imagery, I’d say one of the first sights that comes to my mind when I think of London is Big Ben.
3. SEE: The British Museum. I want to see the Rosetta Stone. Part of the fun of traveling to Europe, for me anyway, is marveling at things that are really, really old.
4. EAT & DRINK: Pub Fare. While I’m not the hugest fan of things like Fish & Chips, the husband is and what I can’t enjoy food wise, I sure as hell can enjoy beer wise. The past six months have included a bit of a beer awakening for me and I’m slowly coming out of a phase of almost exclusive red wine drinking. Something has happened to my taste buds and I’ve suddenly become very aware of all the deliciousness of all the beers.
5. SEE: British Airways London Eye. This looks like the most terrifying contraption ever designed, but Andrew keeps mentioning it, all excited like, while I furrow my brows in consternation. He says we don’t have to ride the damn thing, but I’m afraid that just looking at will make me tremble in fear.
EATING, DRINKING, WANDERING & SHENANIGANIZING: PARIS
1. SEE: Eiffel Tower. It’s the first that comes to mind when thinking about Paris and I’ve always, always, always wanted to see it. It seems so romantic, so far away, so beautiful.
2. SEE: Arc de Triomphe. It’s another iconically Parisian thing that we’ve just got to see.
3. SEE: Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise. Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Auguste Comte are all buried here. They’ve become pilgrimage sites, in away, along with a handful of other grave sites found here. It’s weird, maybe, but I like cemeteries, not for any morbid reason, but because they’re historical sites, whether the grave holder was famous or not.
4. EAT: All of the things. I mean really. There are crepes and croissants and macaroons and French wine and ALL THE DELICIOUS PASTRIES. I want to eat all of it.
5. SEE: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Because I’m for sweeping city views and architectural loveliness.
There’s no list for Sweden because we know people in Sweden and we’re trusting them to guide us while we visit, plus the three of them top our list of must-sees. There are a handful of exciting adventures in store, including a night in Stockholm and the possibility of an open house tour, during which I will understand absolutely nothing, but will absolutely feel like (and pretend that) I’m on an episode of House Hunters International.
Have you been to these places? If yes, what did you love? If not, what would see if you were going?