Tomorrow we are heading out to Los Angeles, and the day after that we are boarding a Virgin Atlantic red-eye flight for Jolly Olde England. We are very excited. I have never been to Europe before – the extent of my international travel is Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Lis has been abroad a couple times (she is so continental), but not since she was in her twenties – so, fifteen years ago or so (you’re welcome, sweetie).

Here is our itinerary:

  • England – we are going to be staying in Reading, England, about 40 minutes outside of London.  When Lis was in college, she did a Study Abroad program thing and lived with a host family in Reading for a month.  We will be visiting them the first part of our trip.  Nothing fancy in terms of lodging – just the local Holiday Inn.  Note from Lis:  It actually sounds quite fancy – large pool, sauna, steam room, spa….
  • Amsterdam –  when we first started planning our trip to England and Germany, I begged Lis to include a stop in Amsterdam, as I’ve long wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum.  We will be staying in a Bed & Breakfast right on a canal and just around the corner from the Anne Frank Museum and the Homomonument.  The B&B gets excellent reviews (Lis checks Trip Advisor for new reviews almost daily) and we can’t wait!
  • Germany – the original impetus for this trip was an art exhibition by David Hockney – we desperately wanted to see it when it was in London but couldn’t; then we learned it was going to Cologne and were ALL OVER IT!  The exhibit will be at the Ludwig Museum, and we’ve already purchased our tickets.  We’ve also been reading about Cologne, particularly the cathedrals and the Christmas markets that will just have opened when we get there – we think it sounds fun.  We will be staying at another B&B in Cologne – Bed & Breakfast Cologne – and the breakfasts are supposed to be out of this world.
  • England – then back to England, this time for some relaxation in the countryside.  We will finish up our trip in Jane Austen country, in the lap of luxury at the Four Seasons Hampshire – I shall pretend that I am at Downton Abbey. (Regular readers of our blog will know that we LOVE us some luxury travel, and will stay at the Four Seasons whenever we can afford it, and sometimes when we cannot).

At first we were a little bummed to be traveling in November, but I figure the weather will be similar to Portland in November and so at least familiar, plus I prefer off season traveling with its reduced crowds anyway, and now I’m pretty excited about the German Christmas markets.  Can’t wait to get started!

Second note from Lis:  I’m a little concerned about this “having to beg Lis to go to Amsterdam” business and how it might make me appear.  First, I would like to say that I believe there’s a little bit of hyperbole there.  Second, I will admit that I am the planner for all of our vacations, but this one is kind of my 50th birthday trip, even though I won’t be turning 50 for another 21 years.  Thus, Mary did have to work a little to get Amsterdam in there.