One of the things I love about this time of year is looking forward and making travel plans for the year ahead.When I look back at 2016, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that I didn’t travel more. I had all sorts of ideas for where I wanted to go, but the year just ran away from me. Before I knew it, it was the start of December and the only travelling we’d done was our annual holiday in Burgau!
So one of my big goals for next year is to travel more often. I’m very consicous that Ollie and Lyle are growing up quickly. Before too long, they’ll both be leaving home and I’d like to travel more with them before they go.
So with that in mind, here are my travel plans for 2017:
I have wanted to visit Berlin ever since I was a child, back in the days when Germany was divided into East and West. My brother did the research for his PhD in Berlin and was there on the night that the Berlin Wall came down. He even stood on top of the wall!
Ollie is now in his first year of studying German GCSE. So I’ve decided that a trip to Berlin would be a good opportunity for him to practise speaking the language. Ollie, Lyle and I will be heading out there in April for a few days. And I’m already looking at things to do, see and eat while we are there.
The Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the Berlin Wall are obviously high on the list. We also know that we want to go up the Fernsehturm for a bird’s eye view of the city, and I want to visit the DDR Museum. And of course we’re bound to have Currywurst at least once!
This trip has been on Mark’s travel wishlist for years, and I’m hoping that we’ll finally go there in 2017. Alhambra is a fortified palace located in Granada, Spain, and the architecture is stunning. But the main reason that we’re planning to visit is because of the beautiful gardens. Mark is a keen gardener, and has wanted to visit them for a long time. Only 6000 tickets are sold for each day, and they go on sale around 3 months in advance. So I’ll need to plan this trip carefully to get a good deal on our flights and hotel.
We’ll be travelling without the boys on this occasion. Malaga is the closest airport so we’ll spend a weekend there, giving us a 90 minute drive to Alhambra. I’m not sure exactly when we’ll go, but May/June is looking most likely. I’d prefer to avoid July/August because I do struggle with the daytime heat of Andalusia in summer. Last time we were in Seville in August, the temperature was still 42C at 6pm!
It’s probably not a surprise to hear that we’ll be in Portugal again this August. We’ve been visiting Burgau since 2010, and it now feels like a home from home. Although I love exploring new places, the main aim of our summer holiday is to be able to unwind completely. And that’s what going back to Burgau allows us to do, right from the moment we arrive in the village.
I do like to try and do something a little different each year, just to keep our holidays feeling fresh. Last summer I spotted a surf school in the village, so we might give that a go next year. There were also kayakers in the sea, and Lyle is a keen kayaker so he’d love to try that.
But mainly the trip will be about stress-free, relaxing family time. Sunshine, the beach, a few cocktails, and plenty of good food!
I spent one night in Brussels in 1991, when my brother and I did a whistle-stop tour of Europe in his Austin Maxi. We’re planning to go over there for a weekend as a family later this year. It’s still in the early stages of planning, but the October half term looks most likely. Ollie’s 16th birthday is in October, so I reckon that’s a good reason for a family trip.
Because we’ve never travelled through the Channel Tunnel before, I’m thinking this might be a good opportunity to try it out. Once we’re over there, I’m sure we’ll go to see the Grand Place, but I’ll be scouting out other things to see and do. And no doubt there’ll be plenty of chocolate, waffles, moules and the odd beer as well.
This trip is a more of a wish than a plan for 2017. I’m from an Irish family, and taking the boys over to Dublin in 2015 was something I’d long wanted to do. They love the city, but I really want them to see more of the country than just its capital.
I’ve been to Galway a couple of times, but not since the 1990s. So I think that this will be our destination, the next time I take the boys over to Ireland. I’m not sure if we’ll get the chance to go during 2017, because it’s already looking like a busy year. But it’s in the back of my mind, just in case…
I’ve also got a couple of other UK trips in mind as well, but they are very much in the early stages of planning.
One thing is for sure, I’m really looking forward to my travel plans for 2017!