Wednesday, October 30, 2013

England in April and the Grand Canyon in August but no Italy

Two thousand fourteen was going to be our 20th anniversary trip back to Italy. In June of 1994 we took our first trip abroad together and spent four weeks cruising the backroads of that incredible peninsula, spending a couple of nights outside of Merano before heading south for  a week in a house in Umbertide in Umbria, followed by two weeks in a house in Vagliagli just north of Siena ending up at the Hotel Florence in Bellagio (how prescient the name of that hotel!). It was a defining time for the both of us to be sure.

So, we planned to return to Italy in celebration of that very special time in our lives. But just as that first trip represented an entirely new experience for us and taught us the joys of independent, self-catering holidays, setting the standards for nearly all of our subsequent travels together, next year we plan to try two new things instead of returning to Italy.

First up, we head to the United Kingdom in late April when we'll spend a week traveling the countryside with friends Richard and Pauline. Aside from a couple of short jaunts we usually pass through London on our way to somewhere else. Even the month I spent there in 2005 hardly counts: I was either in class at International House or out in the suburbs (where I lived with a family) doing homework, although you couldn't prove that by my final grade.

Hadrian's Wall

So, we've got our tickets (burning up the British Airways air miles thank you very much) and the plan now is to recoup from jet lag while Richard and Pauline show us around St. Albans, where they call home.  The four of us then climb into their car with packed bags and head north to Northumberland where we plan to explore the Hadrian's Wall National Trail while enjoying the rural English countryside.

The four of us are booked in Fairshaw Rigg Bed & Breakfast in Hexham, not far from the National Trail.

After returning to St. Albans, and depending on weather, we hope to visit Kew Gardens, Highgate Cemetery, and/or the Imperial War Museum, depending on time and weather.

So, right now we're set to spend a week in April in the United Kingdom (the English part).

Our second new adventure is still in the rough planning stage so if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations by all means pass them along. Later in the summer we hope to spend a week circumnavigating the Grand Canyon: South Rim, North Rim, mule trip; the one thing we'll probably skip will be rafting down the river. I'll have more details as we work out the specifics.

Life is short -- and if you can't go to Paris, go somewhere new, somewhere anywhere to let your mind drift, soaking up new experiences and new faces.

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