(Ack! Third time's a charm ... I posted this whole thing and then went back to make a couple grammar/clarity edits, and it disappeared! I figured I accidentally hit the delete button, and so typed it up a second time, only to go back to make additional edits and have it AGAIN disappear. Got it! Edits are the problem! No more editing! I'll use that in service of my ongoing recovery from perfectionism lol.)
Greetings, friends! I already feel among friends, because even though this is my first post, I've spent so many countless hours over the past month or so reading through so many of your posts. I've come to recognize names and know stories, and what a lovely community this is!
My husband and I (mid-40s) are beginning to plan for a 3 week trip in September, 2024, to Bruges, London, and Ediburgh. It'll be my partner's first time to Europe, and my first time back since a couple of trips in ungrad. We have loooong been dreaming of European travel together, joyfully making do with domestic travel in the meantime, and are gratefully in a space where we now have both the time flexibility as well as the financial resources to make Europe happen.
We are super low-key travelers. We like happy wandering; we like going where our interests happen to take us; we like truly being in a place and getting to know it. We don't like being rushed, busy, or overscheduled; we don't especially care for museums (with rare exceptions); we have zero interest in guided tours.
So here's what we're thinking:
Days 1+2: Bruges
Days 3-5: day trips from Bruges to Ghent, Antwerp, and Paris*
Day 6: low-key final day in Bruges (perhaps a bike ride out past Damme?)
Days 7-12: six nights in London**
Days 13-16: four nights in Edinburgh, with a day trip to St. Andrews
Days 17-20: four nights back in London***
*Paris Day Trip: I know people will have thoughts about a single day trip to Paris! Here's the deal: my husband has virtually no interest in going to Paris at all. I've been previously and would love to return. And so a day trip it is lol. We'll really just spent the time wandering around, hitting a few casual points of interest. We definitely won't be doing Paris the way it's usually done! It'll be a long day, but I'm hoping it'll feel doable given the more casual pace of the surrounding days.
** London Day Trips: We are planning on two day trips to Windsor and Bath, and a half day in Greenwich. I keep thinking we "should" do Oxford, but that doesn't feel a compelling enough reason, especially considering we'll easily fill our time in London.
***We are splitting our time in London because preliminary flight research is showing that flying back from London will be easier (only one layover) and cheaper than out of Edinburgh.
This is all in very early beginning stages and I welcome any and all thoughts, advice, tips, or recommendations.
I am especially curious if anyone has any strong ideas of what order to do the Bruges day trips in, or how they'd go about incorporating the London day trips into that itinerary.
In my original post, I had asked inquired whether it'd be possible to just book the train for the days trips on the spot, to allow for the most flexibility. Badger had kindly responded before I was able to wipe that post (lol) and had said as long as we book the main legs (Bruges to London; London to Edinburgh and back; and the Paris day trip), that we would be fine booking the rest of the trains when we're there.
Just for fun and to share, other trips we're dreaming up: a week in Budapest; a couple of weeks in Norway; a Copenhagen/Stockholm combo; and several days in Tallinn followed by a road trip through Estonia and to Riga. Outside of Europe, my husband dreams of going to Korea.
Before I wrap up, I also just want to share how grateful I am to all of you who invest your time and energy in this community. It has already been such a source of help, support, and inspiration!