Big news! Big, big news. Two years after I last made a journey across the pond, I’m returning to the UK!
With a tour group in April, I’ll be visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, York, Bath, Leeds, Stonehenge and London, my favorite city in the world, as well as a host of other cities in Ireland, Scotland and Wales: Glasgow; Edinburgh; Belfast; Dublin; Kilkenny; Waterford; and Cardiff.
It’s going to be action-packed, crazy and exhausting. I’m going to fill up a hundred memory cards and come home with more photos than I can possibly edit or post. I’ll be making memories left and right as I travel through several countries with my family, and I’ll miss Spencer the whole time I’m gone.
But it will be incredible.
The last time I visited Europe with my family, I had just graduated from college and was just getting ready to start my first full-time job — the one I have now. This spring, I’ll be gone from work for almost two weeks — the most consecutive time I’ve had off in four years. By far. Because of a long weekend and holiday when I visited my friend Stacy in London last time, I only missed two days of work!
So . . . you know. It might get a little chaotic around here. But whatever I have to do in anticipation of leaving, I’m going to do it. I want my head clear when I get on that plane, and I will enjoy the heck out of my scheduled, orchestrated and very stringent time off.
Some people cringe when I mention we’re going to travel around Great Britain and Ireland with a tour company, but honestly? For us, it’s the way to go. You don’t have to worry about transportation or most meals; the highlights you’d want to experience in each city are planned. Because we’re with a group, we don’t wait for most attractions. We show up with our one (overflowing) suitcase, sit back and prepare to have fun.
And that’s just what I’ll be doing.
The downside? Well, it’s the same as the upside: everything is planned for you. With few exceptions, your days are packed — and there isn’t much room for a detour. That being said, if I have to go AWOL from the group to make sure I get to see the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, that’s what I’ll do. Ain’t no way I’m missing that; I’ll hitchhike back to London if I have to. I can’t be in Bath — so, so close to the Austen exhibit — and miss it.
Ever been to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England? What did you see — and what did you do? If I rebel against the Powers That Be and visit something else en route, what shouldn’t I miss? And should I try to clear some room for you in my suitcase? (Spencer might fight you for the spot.)