I have always lived in the United States and have only briefly left the country and few times to travel to Vancouver, B.C. in my lifetime. Well that is about to change with an upcoming trip to the UK and Germany. I am so excited. I have always had a crush on the British people, their history, their music and their shows. So now I will get two glorious weeks of full exposure to the Brits and a weekend in Germany to visit a couple of old friends I haven’t seen in 20 years.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Photo courtesy Tourism Vancouver / John Sinal
I have been trying decide about all the places to go and things to do but I have come to the realization that it can’t all be done in two weeks so this is my first of what will certainly be many more travels to the region. I am also not big on planning every minute with something to do. It may just be me, but I find that you get more out of a trip if you explore where you visit rather than get caught up in tourist traps and planned tours. Now don’t get me wrong, for those who are not comfortable exploring on their own tours can be a great benefit, but not for me. I have moved all over the states and the one thing I have learned is to go out and explore. Immersion is the best way to familiarize yourself with where you are and to see things that a tour guide will not take you to. I prefer to mix with the locals instead of the tourists.
Adorable home in Cotswolds
We have planned to stay in London for a bulk of our holiday, only because you can’t do London in a day. For the remainder of our stay we have decided to hire a car and drive outside of London to tour the other villages and large cities. One place I came across in all my research is Bourton on the Water in Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. It appears to be very touristy, but it’s quaint and a place worth visiting from everything I have read about it. From there we plan to travel north then back down to London in a loop so that we travel through Manchester (could never skip visiting the home of Manchester United Football Club!), Leeds, Nottingham, Kibworth, Leicester. I recently had the opportunity to view a great documentary called the History of England by Micheal Woods where he stayed in Kibworth over the period of a year and learned their history and relayed that to the history of England. It instantly added Kibworth to our travels. Basically, we will spend a few days just wandering and seeing what is not London because everyone I talk to has said, if you go to the U.K. and you only visit London, you have not been to the U.K.
Our brief exit of the U.K. will be taking us to Dusseldorf, Germany. Not bad for a first time trip to Europe! I will be visiting a couple of friends that were here in the states for a high school foreign language exchange program. Funny how even back in the late 80’s I was more comfortable with friends from far away places than people in my own hometown. I guess I have always had a love for different places and people. I am really excited to see them again after all these years. We managed to stay in touch for the first few years after high school but lost contact until Facebook came along where we managed to reconnect. It was amazing that even after all the lost years it was like we had just seen each other again. Though now much older, we are still fundamentally the same. I think will also be the first of many trips to Germany and Europe as there are so many other countries I want to visit to include the Scandinavian countries.
Photo courtesy Dirk Hartung
So many places and things to do. All in a very short amount of time. But never the less, I am so excited and the anticipation is building. This is a trip I have waited a lifetime for and I can’t wait to get started. I will just be sad when it ends.