As the days to my flight grow leaner, my heart grows bigger (kinda like the Grinch before his heart busts the frame?) and the champagne giggles in my tummy increase. I'm not a wealthy woman by any stretch of the imagination, yet here I am, contemplating my 3rd trip to Europe- my 2nd Rick Steves tour. It's amazing how those change jars, garage sales and miscellaneous windfalls; such as birthday money or the kids paying back that $40 they borrowed can quickly add up to a trip! I am beyond blessed.
My first Rick Steves tour was a solo adventure in the spring of 2015 and I went straight for the gold with the 21BOE. The experience was incredible, not only because of the amazing trip itself and the friends I made, but also because of the wonderful people I met on this message board who gave advice and suggestions as I planned, who gave encouragement by following my blogs while I was traveling and who also read and critiqued my scrapbook entry months later (Pam! And others). I am still friendly with a good number of people from that trip and this board through social media. As a matter of fact... this time around I will be traveling with one of my tour-mates from that 21BOE as well as a friend I made here on the message boards! I'm no longer solo!
This time around I'm doing the 14 Day Europe My Way tour. I'm so excited to get to see some of my favorite places from last time as well as some new places. My friends and I will be flying to Germany a week early, visiting Berlin, Wittenburg-Lutherstadt and Munich and partaking of Oktoberfest before taking the train to Paris for the start of the tour. Another perk is that my friend in Switzerland will be able to meet up with us and be our personal guide for a day when we get to Lauterbrunnen. I was also a bit sneaky and looked up our guide online. I was able to send him a message, introducing myself and saying "Hello" and probably making him wonder just what the heck he's getting himself into, ha ha! (He was very friendly and gracious)
I've had so much fun researching different independent tours and excursions for the various places we will be. The fact that I'm traveling with others this time means (of course) that we had to try to please three different personalities and traveling styles. In the end it meant a few compromises, but the exciting part about that is stepping outside of our usual habits and doing some new things. Something I never would have booked on my own, is a bicycling cultural food tour in Berlin. It's supposedly easy biking as we travel to 3-4 different food places over 3 hours, stopping, sightseeing and learning history along the way, especially about how the city has become so diverse and how that has influenced their food culture. Again, never would have chosen that myself, but I'm actually pretty excited about it! Now I just need to get through the tediousness of determining what to pack...
What's your favorite part of planning and preparing for your adventures?