I knew 2012 was off to a good start, and now that we are mid-April, I know I was right to think so. With an amazing press trip in Catalonia and a few days in London in February, I was already a happy camper. The last couple of weeks have been tainted with dreadful weather, unexpected events, a blog launch, hard work, but mostly, planning. I have so many things coming up I need to add a month to my calendar!
So, what have I been busy planning? From May to November, I will be on the road most of the time, whether it’s only for a weekend getaway or weeks at the time. I admit to being a bit nervous about everything – I have never traveled that much before, I’m a bit worried for my finances and well, I’m scared I’ll get lonely on the solo stretches. It’ll be a learning experience in so many ways!
As you might already know, France is one of the luckiest countries in the world in term of bank holidays. And the next few weeks are quite amazing – my husband gets three 4-day weekends in a row! We decided to take advantage of every minute and plan small getaways to the Bordeaux region, Paris and Toulouse. Wines, French countryside, palaces and bistros await!
That month will be almost entirely dedicated to the Irish and British Isles. If you know me at all, you know how disappointed am I about these particular plans (NOT). I will be exploring Ireland with Shamrocker Tours, visiting Dover, Canterbury and Leeds Castle with Grayline, channeling my inner Happy Potter fan at the WB Studios, downing a few cider pints with friends at the pub, and spending a few days in Edinburgh and its surroundings.
Back in France for the last week to celebrate the Quebec National Day with my fellow Quebeckers expats, I will also be taking part in a press trip with Atout France in Auvergne’s Cantal department, well known for its beautiful natural setting and cheese culture.
Not much going in Europe for me in July – I’ll be going back home to Montreal for three weeks, working on articles for my new blog, A Montrealer Abroad, and… spending a long weekend in New York City with my best friend, courtesy of New York Habitat! I want it to be a photographic journey, as well as an exploratory one – I want to visit lesser known neighborhoods, like Williamsburg, and see what the real New York City is like outside of Midtown. I’ll even make enough time to see my favorite bands at Montreal’s Osheaga Music festival.
Again with the French holidays… pretty much the whole country if off during August, meaning that cities will slowly empty to the profit of coastal villages. And I’m no exception! I planned a 10 day roadtrip through Normandy, exploring the D-Day beaches, Etretat cliffs, the many foodie villages and spending a whole day at Mont Saint-Michel. I might even make a daytrip to one of the Channel Islands, probably Jersey. We’ll see!
While the French Riviera is a little too hot and crowded for me in the summer months… it seems like the perfect place to be in September! My parents will be joining me in a roadtrip that will take us from Montpellier to Monaco, with stops in Toulon, Marseille, Calanques, Grasse and more. It’s my dad’s second time in Europe and I’m really excited to discover a new region with him, completely different from the last one – autumn in the Alps. Expect lots of wine tasting, turquoise sea shots and overall epicurean goodness.
That’s where I’ll be the most busy! I’ll be embarking on a 5 week train journey with Eurail.com through Scandinavia and Benelux, starting in Bergen and finishing in Bruges. On the itinerary: Norway fjords, Bergen and Stavanger, Oslo’s colorful buildings, Swedish fika overload, hipster spotting in Söldermalm, Stockholm archipelago, Malmö design, Copenhagen’s architecture, Funen Island… and then off to Benelux for some Dutch countryside cycling, windmill sightseeing, Gouda cheese tasting, beach walking in Den Haag, canal hopping in Amsterdam and architecture touring in Rotterdam.
The “best” part? I’ll be by myself for all of this. If you plan on being on either one of these places in October, let me know and we can meet up and talk all things travel!
Before returning home in Clermont-Ferrand, I will be stopping in London for a few days for World Travel Market, that I only missed by a few days last year. I will not be making the same mistake this year! And let’s be honest – adding a few days in London isn’t exactly torture to me. Going to London is like coming home.
What are your thoughts? Any destination you are especially eager to read about/see? Do you have tips and suggestions for these places?